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A diastasis recti looks like a ridge, which runs down the middle of the belly area. It stretches from the bottom of the breastbone to the belly button, and increases with muscle straining.
In infants, the condition is most easily seen when the baby tries to sit up. It may not be seen when the child lies on the back and is relaxed. When the infant is relaxed, you can often feel the edges of the rectus muscles.
Diastasis recti is commonly seen in women who have multiple pregnancies, because the muscles have been stretched many times. Extra skin and soft tissue in the front of the abdominal wall may be the only signs of this condition in early pregnancy. In the later part of pregnancy, the top of the pregnant uterus is often seen bulging out of the abdominal wall. An outline of parts of the unborn baby may be seen in some severe cases.
The doctor can diagnose this condition by performing a physical exam.
Marx, J. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2009.
Anderson, DM. Mosby's Medical Dictionary. 8th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2009.
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