I am currently pregnant and noticed that when I coughed one evening, only the upper left portion of my abdominals contracted. Intrigued (and a bit freaked out), I asked my husband if he observed the same thing, or if my vantage point of my swollen belly from a supine position was the culprit. Unfortunately, he observed the same thing. A week or so later, my OB-Gyn confirmed my suspicion.
If you've never heard of diastasis recti, it occurs (often during pregnancy) when the vertical line dividing the left and right halves of the rectus abdominus muscle (AKA linea alba) splits and the two sides of the muscle separate. Fortunately, this can be treated with an abdominal binder and physical therapy. In more severe cases, the diastasis can herniate, causing the pregnant woman's uterus to push through the opening. In these cases, postpartum surgery may be indicated to repair the tear.
After baby comes, we'll have to see if I need surgery, or if I can just go to PT. After performing extensive research, I decided that I want to use the Tupler Technique to help repair my diastasis. I have the program on my Christmas wish list so that I can be ready to go right after baby comes in January! I briefly considered becoming licensed, but realized that flying back and forth between California and New York is not feasible for me, especially in my present condition.
As my journey progresses, I will update my condition and how I have dealt with this. I want to be able to help other women with diastasis recti make the best decisions they can regarding their wellness.
** Update 9/13/12 **
I just received an email from Helene Byrne with BeFit-Mom. She sent me this link to a fantastic resource: Diastasis Recti or Abdominal Separation. Other than providing an overview of Diastasis Recti, this site includes a list of movements that should be avoided and videos of exercises that pregnant women can perform to lessen the severity of the condition. I've been performing pilates-type transversus abdominus bracing exercises and pelvic tilts in supine, which are similar to the first 2 videos which show exercises in standing. I will start the exercises in standing tonight!