Does your belly still look pregnant even after months of delivery? If so, you may have a common postpartum body condition called diastasis recti. This causes a gap between your abdominal muscles, resulting in a protruding belly pooch or bulge. Diastasis recti is more visible when the ab muscles are engaged or contracted.

Diastasis Recti After Pregnancy: How Can I Treat or Improve it?

What causes diastasis recti? 

During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles and connective tissues stretch to accommodate your growing uterus. Several weeks after delivery, your abdominal muscles will return to normal or shrink back down, causing your belly to flatten. 

There are cases, however, where the tissues lose their elasticity due to excessive stretching. This negatively affects their ability to go back to their original position. Ab separation is normal after pregnancy, but it is considered diastasis recti when the gap between the muscles is significant. 

Apart from pregnancy, other factors also contribute to the development of diastasis recti. This is especially true when there is an extra pressure on the abdominal muscles. It is likely to happen due to:

  • Sudden weight gain or being obese
  • Doing excessive abdominal exercises
  • Lifting heavy weights incorrectly
  • Genetics

Who is more likely to have diastasis recti?

Several factors can increase your likelihood of having this condition. These include: 

  • Having a larger baby
  • Carrying multiple babies at a time
  • Having a baby at a later age
  • Being petite
  • Developing diastasis recti in your previous pregnancy
  • Potential genetic factor or if your mother had this condition before

How do I know if I have diastasis recti? 

You can perform a self-check in just a few easy steps:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place one hand on your belly with your fingers pointing down to your pelvis.
  3. Place the other hand under your neck for support.
  4. Slowly lift your head (while keeping your shoulders on the ground) and press your fingertips down gently. 
  5. If you have diastasis recti, you will feel a gap or space between abdominal muscles, usually about 2 finger-widths or greater.

A rounded, protruding belly pooch is a common sign that you have diastasis recti. Other symptoms include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Weak abdominal muscles
  • Poor posture
  • Difficulty lifting objects
  • Constipation
  • Bloating

How can I treat diastasis recti? 

Diastasis recti can resolve on its own over a period of 6 weeks to 3 months. However, there are cases where it lingers months after your delivery. If you have maintained your ideal weight for about a year, but still have protruding belly pooch, exercise and physical therapy can help. Just make sure to work with someone who has experience in postpartum recovery. 

Diastasis recti surgery (similar to a tummy tuck) with skin removal can also improve the said condition, but this should be your last resort. Not everyone with this condition, furthermore, will require surgery, especially those with mild cases. Many healthcare providers recommend diet and physical therapy (to strengthen abdominal muscles).

Do take note, however, that you can’t expect exercise and physical therapy to repair your diastasis recti completely. What they can do is retrain and strengthen your muscles to improve the gap. There are also tools, devices, and online programs you can try, but be sure to ask your doctor about them.

Is there any aesthetic treatment that can improve diastasis recti?

Yes. At Cutis Medical Laser Clinics, we have the ZField Dual, which is a non-invasive body shaping procedure. It is a high-energy inductive treatment that uses electromagnetic energy for targeted muscle building. ZField Dual induces muscle contraction in the abdominal areas and other body parts. 

ZField Dual has two applicators that deliver electromagnetic pulses. Both can be used simultaneously for stimulating two opposing sections of the muscles (like the buttocks). The use of just a single applicator for areas like the abdomen is also possible. 

What ZField Dual does is generate a strong inductive field, enabling around 27,000 muscle contractions in a single session. This causes the muscles to adapt to extreme temperatures, which then strengthens the muscle fibers. It leads to improved muscle conditioning, helping you achieve a toned and sculpted body. 

The high-energy inductive treatment helps reduce diastasis recti, as well as assist in fat cell death and muscle toning. Here are the other benefits of ZField Dual

  • Non-invasive and virtually painless
  • Shape and tone different areas of the body
  • Help you achieve a six-pack without intense workouts
  • Lift and firm your buttocks non-invasively

Schedule a consultation and body assessment 

If you’re worried that you have diastasis recti and considering a non-invasive treatment, get in touch with us today. Contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore and book a consultation and body assessment with our Harvard-trained aesthetic doctor, Dr. Sylvia Ramirez.