Diastasis recti also called abdominal/ab separation is a complete or partial separation of the rectus abdominis. It specifically refers to the widening or separation of the ab muscles. Diastasis recti is a prevalent condition that can occur during or following pregnancy and is caused by the constant stretching of the muscle in the abdomen. A study revealed that 60% of pregnant women can experience this condition.
However, this condition isn’t confined to pregnancy, although it happens more frequently during this state. It can affect anyone, including men and newborn babies. Some cases of diastasis recti are caused by yo-yo dieting, doing sit-ups incorrectly, lifting weights improperly or performing excessive abdominal exercises.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom of this condition is a bulge or pooch in the abdomen area. Typically, it appears whenever an individual strains or contracts the abdominal muscles. Some additional symptoms include:
- poor posture
- lower back pain
What are the causes?
While inner-abdominal pressure is largely responsible for causing diastasis recti, pregnancy hormones like relaxin and estrogen also contribute. These can be exacerbated by the pressure of childbirth. Such hormonal pressures can lead to a separation of abdominal muscles during and after pregnancy.
In the past, many believed that gaining weight during pregnancy could cause belly bulges, but a study revealed that there is no connection between these factors. Sometimes, newborn babies are born with this condition because their abdominal muscles are not fully developed. However, the muscles usually correct itself with time.
Are there any complications?
Diastasis recti or abdominal separation can lead to the following complications:
- damage to your posture
- back pain
- pelvic pain
- pelvic floor dysfunction
- compromised trunk stability and mobility
- hernia – in extreme cases
How can diastasis recti be treated?
Most pregnant women experience diastasis recti. It can weaken the core that can lead to back or pelvic pain. It is advisable to wear a binder or Tubigrip for support throughout the day. Also, keep the following in mind:
- Practice good posture
- Avoid further straining of the abdominal muscles
- Support lower back when sitting with a pillow or a towel
- Bend knees and give support with arms while standing up or getting in or out of bed
After delivery, for some women, the condition corrects itself as the core muscle or ab muscles regain strength. If symptoms persist after eight weeks post-delivery, a session of the deep stomach and pelvic floor can be performed at home or with help from a therapist with expertise in diastasis recti. Check with a doctor and get their approval before you start exercising. Additionally, surgeries like abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck can also correct this condition.
Did you know that Diastasis Recti can be treated by TruSculpt® flex and EMSCULPT at Kaya?
At Kaya, we offer non-surgical solutions to help treat Diastasis Recti condition. USFDA approved muscle strengthening technologies like Emsculpt and truSculpt flex help strengthen and sculpt the abdominal muscles and reducing diastasis. Our experienced doctors can successfully treat this condition using a non-invasive muscle stimulating devices called truSculpt® flex and EMSCULPT. This body contouring technique can help you sculpt your abdominal muscles in one 45-minute session to get that fit and toned body you always wanted.
truSculpt® flex is a revolutionary, powerful machine that uses unique Multi-Directional Stimulation (MDS) technology to replicate intensified crunches and twisting actions that you perform in a gym workout. The difference is, by using this machine, your body does an intense workout whilst you relax. That’s right—you can tone, sculpt, strengthen, and increase your muscle mass by 30% without performing one sit-up or plank.
An FDA cleared non-invasive procedure, EMSculpt leverages High-Intensity Focused Electro-Magnetic (HIFEM®) technology to induce muscle contractions, which trigger hyperplasia and hypertrophy, leading to toned muscles in your abdomen and buttocks. A completely painless procedure, which involves no needles, anaesthesia or downtime, EMSculpt simultaneously addresses both muscle and fat in what feels like an intensive workout.
What are the things to avoid postpartum?
Avoid exercises like sit-ups, crunches, and planks until your abdomen is healed as these exercises can make the condition worse. You should also avoid:
- lifting or carrying heavy loads
- any heavy exercises where ab muscles are bulging out
- coughing without supporting ab muscles
- holding the baby on one hip
How to prevent diastasis recti?
You can also use EMSculpt or truSculpt flex to strengthen your core before pregnancy. Also Pre-pregnancy, practice strengthening your core. It is imperative to always have a good posture while performing abdominal exercises. Avoid any exercise where the tummy bulges out or that causes the back to strain. Ask a certified personal trainer or a physical therapist to recommend exercises for diastasis recti symptoms. Consult your doctor and discuss a treatment plan that will work best for you.