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Congenital Diastasis Rectus Abdominis

Congenital Diastasis Rectus Abdominis

Congenital Diastasis Rectus Abdominis

This course includes
3:00:00 of Course Material (View)
Lifetime access after purchase
Certificate of completion
This course was recorded in November 2021


Congenital Diastasis of Rectus Abdominis: What is it? Does it cause problems? Do we treat? When do we treat? What are the treatment possibilities?

Diastasis rectus is caused by a relative weakness of the fascia between the two rectus abdominus muscles. It is not a herniation nor pathologic. Very little information about the diastases and possible related functional problems in newborns and young children is available. This could be because it has never been considered to be anything but benign. However, parents do worry when their newborn presents with a diastasis. They are reassured by pediatricians and in many cases rightly so, that the diastasis does slowly disappear with time. 

The anatomy and physiology of the stomach wall will be presented and the similarities and differences to the adult-acquired diastasis will be discussed. Research on treatment options for congenital diastasis recti abdominis (cDRA) are nowhere to be found.

Treatment suggestions resulting from adult research of acquired diastasis, cannot simply be applied to children with congenital diastasis.  

The question is if the cDRA can be the cause of motor problems.


A few other critical questions to ask ourselves

  • Does it have a detrimental role in breathing, postural control, force transmission, balance, pressure management & body growth?
  • Does this differ per age and condition of the child?
  • When do we need to check for diastasis?
  • What is current practice?
  • What are treatment options?
  • When do we decide we need to start addressing and at which age?  

We are seeing more and more young children with motor problems and a diastasis of their abdominal wall. These children present with a big ‘low tone’ tummy, balance problems, incontinence, general gross motor clumsiness, or multiple falls.

Diastasis has been observed in children presenting with early-onset scoliosis, with generalized low tone, and children born prematurely. Children are unable to recruit their rectus abdominus muscles effectively during everyday activities and we often see that they have become very good at hiding this with ‘motor tricks’. A child born with CP, Down Syndrome, developmental delay, or an omphalocele will all need a different treatment plan.

We need to ask ourselves if we think this diastasis is causing difficulties in every single case. If tape and the taping protocol are to be used, we will depend on the results of our assessment and the treatment goals.

Children with a cDRA present with a clear body function problem but treatment will differ greatly and should always be custom-made. 

Join Esther de Ru, pediatric physiotherapist, for this on-demand  90-minute presentation to address the challenging questions posed above and treatment options for congenital diastasis recti abdominis.


Learning Objectives

After attending this online course participants will:

  • Have an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the stomach wall
  • Know the possible consequences of having a diastasis of the Linea Alba
  • Be able to judge if the diastasis is causing problems and know how to assess and understand the various symptoms.
  • Understand the need for custom-made solutions to the resulting functional problems that will differ per child.  


What's included

  • Complimentary access to the recorded webinar, which will be posted on Embodia Academy 1-3 business days following the live webinar
  • Downloadable PDF of the slides
  • A certificate of completion



This online course is for physiotherapists and rehabilitation professionals working with children. This includes but is not limited to, physiotherapists (physical therapists), occupational therapists, kinesiologists, and physiotherapy and occupational therapy assistants (PTA/OTA).

The instructors
Esther de Ru

Esther de Ru is a physiotherapist from the Netherlands whose passion and energy for all things related to pediatrics is stunning. Maybe best known for her work in elastic therapeutic taping, she is keenly interested in skin, our outer brain, using skin stretch and massage to enhance movement and address dysfunction. Her other passion is scoliosis management. She is certified in NDT Bobath, NDT/Mueller, pre-logopedia, Vojta, Sports, Orthopedic Manual Therapy, P.N.F., Bugnet, Sensory Motor Therapy & Motor Remedial Teaching. She developed the Skin Approach to Taping method and she has published on this topic.

As past chair of the Committee Practice of the IOPTP (International Organisation of Physical Therapists in Paediatrics) and international instructor and author, Esther emphasizes the need to work very hands-on in our profession.

Semi-retired, Esther travelled the world teaching and sharing her knowledge as a true clinician who values not only the evidence base, but the patient's experience and the intuitive wisdom that comes with real work in the real world. She has gained her experience working in four European countries. She is a respected international speaker, and provides mentoring to therapists world wide through the Clinical Excellence Online CEO WiredOn program.

Course Material included in this course
  • Welcome and Resources
  • Welcome
  • Slides
  • CEU Information for South Africa Physiotherapists
  • Sequencing motor activation trunk muscles
  • DRA tape instruction sheet
  • References
  • Secrets of Quadratus Lumborum Muscle Revealed: Learn Integral Anatomy with Gil Hedley
  • Example linea alba and diastasis ultrasound imaging
  • Introduction
  • Anterior Abdominal Wall Muscles and the Abdominal Aponeurosis
  • Axial Muscles: Part 3 Thoracic and Abdominal
  • Congenital Diastesis Rectus Abdominis
  • Linea Alba and Childhood Development
  • Defining Diastasis
  • Testing
  • Interesting Research
  • Esther's Exercise Program
  • Case Studies
  • Conclusion and Questions
  • Congenital Diastasis Rectus Abdominis Quiz
  • What's Next?
  • Feedback
  • Bonus Content
  • Children with Down Syndrome Presenting with Congenital Diastesis Rectus Abdominis
  • Responding to Your Feedback

Once you have completed the course, a certificate of completion (including learning hours and course information) will be generated. You can download this certificate at any time. To learn more about course certificates on Embodia please visit this guide.

This course has been approved for 4 CPD units by the South Africa Society of Physiotherapists (SASP). If you are a physiotherapist in South Africa and would like the number of approved CPDs to appear on your certificate of completion, please follow the steps outlined in this help article. 

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