Diastasis and Diaphragm Function

Diastasis is a bit of a hot topic these days, regardless of whether you call it di ASS tasis or diaSTAYsis…

I recently taught my new Perinatal Pelvic Rehab course in Northern Ireland, and I had the opportunity to hear my friend and learned colleague, Grainne Donnelly talk about her thoughts on Diastasis…I thought it would be a great idea to have Grainne sit down for a chat and she kindly agreed!

Recent conversations I’ve had include – does eccentric or concentric work during or after pregnancy have an effect on narrowing inter recti distance? Do we need to focus on the pelvic floor first? Does diastasis even really matter, seeing as recent research by Bo et al suggests that there isn’t a link between diastasis and incontinence or prolapse (these are all questions that Grainne and I pondered in our chat!)

One of the things I’m currently obsessed with (yes, apart from constipation!) is breathing – and of course if we think of the anatomical attachments of the diaphragm to not only Rectus Abd but to Transversus Abd, Psoas and Quadratus lumborum….as well as how the ribcage, to which the diaphragm is also attached, moves up and out towards the end of pregnancy…

I’ve been enjoying thinking about and watching how a focus on breathing can be a gateway to good pelvic health, whether that’s from the perspective of coordinating breathing with contracting the pelvic floor, using the breath as a mindfulness tool to help downtrain an overactive pelvic floor, using the breath as a moderator of intra-abdominal (and intra-thoracic) pressure, especially when there’s a pelvic organ prolapse…and of course, reading about the importance of thoracic mobility and the coordination of the diaphragm, abdominals and pelvic floor muscles when it comes to constipation (just to prove it’s really me writing this, I had to get another mention of constipation in here! 😉)

It has been my pleasure and privilege to call Jenny Burrell, of Burrell Education, a collaborator and friend over many years, and we recently co-created a new online course, ‘Breathe Better’, to take a deeper dive into the role of breathing in pelvic health, back pain and overall wellbeing. We go deep with anatomy and physiology but incorporate manual therapy, movement prescription and mindfulness to optimise diaphragmatic function and to shine a light on the importance of breathing well (and often!!) Grainne is a graduate of our course and mentions it in our chat, which I hope you enjoy.

Grainne’s approach to optimising Diastasis recovery can be summed up by thinking of:


Which stands for: Person   Posture   Patterns   Respiration   Ribcage   Load    Defect

Another useful acronym to help remember this is:

Preventing Pregnancy Pressure Restores Rectus Lessening Diastasis



Without further ado….here’s the interview I did with Grainne!

Until next time!

Onwards & Upwards