Stretch marks and loose skin aren’t the only changes your body experiences after pregnancy. For some women, ab separation or diastasis recti is also a common concern. This simply refers to the gap between abdominal muscles, with a protruding belly that can make you look like you’re still four to five months pregnant.
Continue reading as we give a rundown of what ab separation is and why it happens after pregnancy. We also discuss the factors that can make you more prone to having diastasis recti and offer aesthetic treatment suggestions that can strengthen muscle fibers and help improve ab muscles separation.
Why does it happen?
During pregnancy, your uterus stretches your abdominal muscles to make room for your growing baby. Overstretching can cause the two parallel bands of muscles in the middle to become separated – a condition that is also referred to as diastasis recti. About one in two women experiences ab separation after giving birth.
Ab separation usually develops during the third trimester. As the baby is quickly growing during this period, there is added pressure on the muscles or abdominal wall. The bulge or separation is only detectable in the later stages of pregnancy. Most women, however, will only notice some signs after giving birth.
Do you have ab separation?
A gap or abnormal distance between your left and right abs muscles is the most common symptom. This can also cause a visible pooch or bulge that protrudes above or below the belly button. It can also make you look like you’re still pregnant despite already giving birth.
As previously mentioned, most don’t notice signs until they have given birth. Some also don’t experience any pain or symptoms, while some notice the following:
- Difficulty lifting things or performing other daily tasks
- Softness feeling around the belly button
- Low back, hip, or pelvic pain
- Poor posture
- Urine leaking when coughing or sneezing
- Weakness in the abdominals
Who is more likely to have diastasis recti?
About half of all pregnant women have abdominal separation. There are, however, several factors that could increase your chances of developing it. These include:
- Old maternal age
- Multiple pregnancies
- Having multiples like twins or triplets
- Being 35 or older
- Having a big or heavy baby
- Being extremely petite
- Vaginal delivery, as pushing can increase abdominal pressure
Does ab separation improve on its own?
The distance or gap between the abdominal muscles will improve over time, about three to six weeks, or sometimes longer. If yours doesn’t close or improve, a physical therapist that specializes in post-partum can help. There are certain exercises you can try to help improve your abdominal strength. A therapist can help determine which exercises suit you best.
Diastasis recti surgery should be your last resort; it is better to try non-surgical procedures first and see if they can improve the gap or help you regain some of your abdominal strength. It is good to know that there are some non-surgical procedures that can strengthen, tone, and build your ab muscles.
How can Cutis help?
At Cutis, we have a muscle strengthening treatment that can help improve diastasis recti. ZField Dual is a non-invasive body shaping procedure that uses electromagnetic energy that aids in core strengthening. It induces targeted and involuntary muscle contractions that can turn flabby areas of the body into tone muscles.
ZField has two applicators that emit electromagnetic pulses and induce contractions. A single application can be used on areas like the abdomen, but can also be used at the same time for stimulating two opposing sections like the buttocks. It can enforce about 27,000 muscle contractions (equivalent to thousands of sit-ups) in a single treatment.
What exposure to involuntary contractions does is cause the muscle to adapt to extreme conditions. This helps in strengthening the muscle fibers, resulting in improved muscle conditioning and a more toned appearance of the treated area. You can turn to ZField Dual for shaping and contouring stubborn areas without intense exercises.
This high-energy inductive procedure can help in fat burning and muscle toning, as well as reduce diastasis recti. Other benefits of ZField Dual include:
- Helps you achieve more muscle definition (visible abs or six-pack)
- Shape and tone different areas of the body
- Lift and firm your buttocks non-invasively
Are you dealing with ab separation or diastasis recti? Talk to your doctor to confirm and determine ways to improve its signs and symptoms. You can also talk to a therapist to know which routines will work best for your situation.
For non-invasive treatments that can strengthen abdominal muscles, we can help. We have ZField Dual that assists in fat cell death and muscle toning. We also have other non-invasive treatments that can treat and work out different trouble areas. Contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics today and schedule a consultation and body assessment with our aesthetic doctor to learn more.