Diastasis Recti: Bulging Tummy Woes

Picture credit: Photo by Ignacio Campo on Unsplash

A common condition affecting one in two women is the separation of the abdominal muscles, known as diastasis recti. This condition is often referred to as the “pooch”, where your belly sticks out, even after your baby’s delivery.

During pregnancy, your abdomen muscles expand, and the left and right (“six-pack”) muscles separate to accommodate your growing uterus. Usually, these muscles will close back some months after delivery. However, for some women, these muscles do not close back after giving birth or C-section.

A small gap is normal, but when the gap is wider, it could mean that the connective tissues linking the muscles do not knit back together, and you lose some strength in your core, which could cause other problems.

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American former pro beach volleyballer and model Morgan Miller recently shared her tummy woes – stretch marks and diastasis recti after delivering twins in 2019.

Morgan Miller shared her bulging belly when expecting twins and how she tried many things to get her body back. Picture Credit: @morganebeck

What happens when you have diastasis recti

This condition causes a bulging belly which, first and foremost, can be depressing. Interestingly, this condition doesn’t just affect women. Men can get this too, from over-exertion during exercise, and even newborn babies could have this, but it usually goes away on its own.

Diastasis recti could cause other issues like lower back pain, constipation, and urinary incontinence for women. It could also make breathing difficult and moving, which requires your core muscles painful, like twisting or lifting objects. This is due to the weakened connective tissues holding your abdominal muscles in place.

How to tell if you have diastasis recti

Lie down on your back with your feet planted on the floor and knees bent. Place your hand on your midline, above your belly button, and gently press this area, where your “six-pack” would be.

Raise your head a few inches off the ground towards your knees, keeping your shoulders on the floor. Now, feel your abdominal muscles and see how far apart the muscles are. If the muscles are about two fingers or more apart, you likely have diastasis recti. Note this is not a definitive diagnosis, and you can confirm with your doctor with an ultrasound or a CT scan.

Preventing diastasis recti

The most common recommendation is exercise. Strengthening your core muscles help your muscles to regenerate after the delivery of your baby. The important thing is you should do these exercises before pregnancy.

Treatment for diastasis recti

There are surgical procedures such as a “tummy tuck”, but there is no need for any surgery since there is no actual tearing of any muscles. You can treat this over time with safe abdominal exercise, focus on your obliques and building your core. You must start with gentle exercises so you don’t overexert yourself and cause more muscle tearing. Be sure to check with your doctor which activity is safe and what to avoid.

Functional magnetic stimulation for diastasis recti

Another safe and proven treatment is what’s known as functional magnetic stimulation, which is done through an innovative machine called the TESLA Former, designed by Iskra Medical. This company manufactures medical devices for physiotherapy, rehabilitation and aesthetic medicine.

Former functional magnetic stimulation therapy can help to regenerate the muscles faster to treat diastasis recti.  It works by targetting the abdominal muscles through electromagnetic induction and vibrates your muscles, giving it an “internal workout”.

This innovative technology uses a machine, TESLA Former, which triggers motoric nerves and excites muscle contraction. This therapy also helps to sculpt and tone muscles. We tried out this machine at Bio Aesthetic Medispa and Laser Clinic, and here’s how it feels.

You sit in a specially made chair and have a paddle strapped to your tummy. When the treatment starts, you feel a series of jolts of electric pulses (somewhat like tiny ants crawling on your skin) and tapping motion alternating on your butt, lower back and tummy.

The specially made chair and paddles next to the TESLA Former machine at Bio Aesthetic Medispa and Laser Clinic

It also creates a sensation like tummy crunches when the electrical fields trigger your tummy’s motoric nerves, causing your muscles to contract. This vibratory sensation goes on for a few minutes, with a few seconds break every time the machine pulse between the different motions and repeats in a cycle.  The cycle goes on until the end of the treatment, which lasts about 30 minutes.

Preparing for your TESLA Former session

Sandra Koh, Director from Bio Aesthetic Medispa and Laser Clinic recommends that customers not eat two hours before their session and to drink plenty of water after the session. While you can wear anything for your treatment, we suggest wearing loose, comfortable clothing and avoid any metal embellishment which may interfere with the electromagnetic fields.

After your session, you may feel some muscle ache, similar to a post-workout sensation. Otherwise, there are no other known side effects from the treatment. You can immediately go back to your normal daily activities after your session.

Dress in comfortable clothes for your session. Picture credit: Iskra Medical

How soon before experiencing results

Minimally you will need about eight sessions (each session is priced at $300 but, scroll down for exclusive Mummyfique prices) before you can see some results.

Sandra recommends doing the treatment at least two times weekly, but you can do this every alternate day to give your muscles some time to rest between each session.

Sandra also suggests mothers start the treatment one month after normal vaginal delivery and six months after c-section delivery. As the magnetic stimulation works deep in your muscles, you will need your abdominal muscles to heal from pregnancy before starting on the TESLA Former therapy.

Pictures of customers from before and after their therapy sessions. Picture credit: Bio Aesthetic Medispa and Laser Clinic

What we love about TESLA Former treatment at Bio Aesthetic Medispa and Laser Clinic

No pain, but loads to gain! It feels like a curious massage chair experience. In fact, you turn up and get the treatment done in whatever you are wearing; no needles, no surgery and no downtime.

During the treatment, you can even get to catch up on the Netflix series in the clinic’s treatment room. The session is speedy and convenient without having to sweat it out in a workout.

The clinic is located at #03-01, Palais Renaissance, where it’s quiet and in an air-conditioned room, no less – the session feels entirely like a precious “me-time” treat.

What you need to know about this therapy

This therapy has been clinically tested to help a couple of conditions such as scatia syndrome (back and spine pain) and urinary incontinence. If you’re looking to shape up but hate the gym, you should give this therapy a go.

TESLA Former can be used for body toning and muscle sculpting as well. Picture credit: Iskra Medical

That said, this therapy works best for those with a BMI of <25. For those who have a higher BMI, Sandra recommends trying other treatments that breakdown fats before moving on to TESLA Former therapy.  

Conventional fat removal treatment such as liposuction or laser fat removal has its risks, complications and downtime. With TESLA Former, you can eliminate fat and build muscle without going under the knife, skipping the gym yet getting the arms, buttocks, thighs exercise on their own using electromagnetic fields.

Using the Functional Magnetic Stimulation (FMS), TESLA Former, makes your muscles work up to 50,000 contractions to tone up the abs, building the muscles by burning fats. It is a non-invasive body toning, muscle building treatment for every part of the body.

Exclusive for Mummyfique readers

Bio Aesthetic is offering special packages for Mummyfique readers. To get the attractive pricing, be sure to inform the staff that you’re a Mummyfique reader.

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