I’m Pregnant and Huge – A Diastasis Recti Story

I said I would NEVER do this.

But, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if there are other mamas out there dealing with what I have dealt with for several years and several pregnancies.  Maybe this will help…even if all it does is help you know you are not alone.

OK, so what would I never do?  Post a belly shot early in pregnancy.  But, here it is:

This is me at 9 weeks.  Scary, huh?

Why do I look so huge so early?  Same reason I look pregnant most all the time…I have what is called a diastasis recti.  The basic definition of this condition is a split in the stomach muscles, but you can find a more in depth definition here.

For some women, some simple exercises will completely heal a diastasis.  For this, I highly recommend Julie Tupler’s Lose Your Mummy Tummy
book (you can visit Julie’s actual site at www.maternalfitness.com where she has several other books and products I know nothing about, but might be of interest).  However, even she says that a diastasis of my severity won’t be fixed with her methods (although I do see some closure when I use her exercises).  Someday I will need surgery to pull the muscles back together.

You might be wondering how to check for a diastasis.  It’s actually very easy.
1.  Lie on your back on the floor.
2.  Put your fingertips near the center of your belly (horizontally above your belly button).
3.  Curl up as if doing a crunch.
4.  Feel with your fingertips the center of your belly.  Is there a gap?  If so, how many fingerwidths is it?  Diastasis is measured in fingerwidths placed side by side.  Mine is usually somewhere between 6-8.

Julie Tupler says even a diastasis as bad as a 5 can be repaired.  Beyond that, you can only work to strengthen those muscles and consider surgery at some point.  {UPDATE:  Last time I spoke with Julie, she said an even larger DR can be repaired using the technique.}

OK, so what is the bulge you see that most people would assume is a 6 month pregnant belly?  What I am about to tell you is not for the weak-stomached…

It’s my internal organs bulging out.  There are no stomach muscles to hold them in place, so they sort of just flop out there.  Gross, I know.

Is it dangerous?  No.

Is it uncomfortable?  Sometimes.

Is it embarrassing?  Yes.

I always say I look better pregnant because at least the bulging belly doesn’t look out of place.  When I’m not pregnant I wear a brace.  Not the one Julie Tupler sells (she calls it a splint), because it isn’t wide enough (my diastasis is complete, from top to bottom).  I wear something similar to this:

diastasis recti brace from PainReliever.com
NOTE: I now own this exact brace and it is THE BEST diastasis brace I have ever found!  Read more about it HERE.

{UPDATE:  Julie sells a different splint from what she was selling when I first wrote this post.  She also now sells a different splint from the one I talk about in my Tummy Chronicles posts.  I liked the splint she sold when I was doing the Tummy Chronicles, but it did give out before the 18 weeks was up.  Her new design was meant to correct that but I have not tried it myeself.

In addition, I have also stopped wearing the PainReliever brace and now only wear a high-waisted girdle-type compression garment.  I realized I was not holding in my stomach muscles while wearing a brace or splint and that wasn’t helping me much.}

I have to choose my clothing carefully.  Jeans don’t fit well and shirts have to be long enough and loose enough to cover properly.  I don’t wear dresses because they are not tailored enough.  I try to wear shirts that have something interesting going on near my face to keep the focus off my belly.  Other than that, I just put up with the comments.

It is what it is.

OK, so how does this translate into later pregnancy?  Well, I get huge.  No, not the kind of huge the rest of you get.  I mean HUGE.  With no stomach muscles to hold in my growing uterus, it too just flops out there and I end up looking like this:

Photobucket
Note:  I was still 2 months from delivery!

In addition to just looking huge and miserable, I also now have to deal with babies who do not stay in place.  My last two babies have been transverse breech.  Their birth stories can be found HERE and HERE.

Because there are no stomach muscles to help the uterus stay in place, the baby can swim and flip freely even when said baby is over 10 pounds!

Recently, I found a pregnancy support garment that is comfy and pulls my muscles together.  It is from ContourMD:

It’s their strong support maternity belt and it supports the underneath side of your belly as well as helping to pull those loosey-goosey stomach muscles into a better position.  I’ve noticed my belly is considerably “rounder” when I am wearing the garment.  Plus, it is an easy-on, easy-off thing, unlike so many other strong support garments designed for pregnancy.

So, how did my diastasis get so severe and what can you do to avoid what has happened to me?

First off, I’ve never had strong stomach muscles.  This was probably inevitable.

Also, diastasis happens to some degree to all women during pregnancy and a severe diastasis can happen to you no matter how many children you’ve had or what their birth weight was.

You can follow the exercises in Lose Your Mummy Tummy, you can wear some sort of support through pregnancy, and you can be careful how you move (that is explained more in Tupler’s book as well), and once you’ve had your baby, you can get to work closing the gap.

Things not to do:
pilates,
sit-ups and crunches,
carrying a car seat (the book explains this better than I can, but at all costs avoid carrying that pain-in-the-stomach car seat with baby in it!)

I’m anxious to some day have the surgery to bring my muscles back together, but until then, these are the battle wounds I bear.  I am a mother many times over…the bulging belly is worth it all!

{UPDATE:  After hearing what all the surgery entails, I really don’t think I’m up to it!  I do believe I can get “good enough” results from the Tupler Technique and my understanding is that the surgery isn’t a cure-all and the muscles can split again.}

Visit my Diastasis Recti Page!


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85 thoughts on “I’m Pregnant and Huge – A Diastasis Recti Story

  1. Hi Amy, your bump looks beautiful, and I have to give you a hug…..thank you for making me feel so much better…my muscles split a few children ago (and many years sadly to say), and I never have been able to get back a stomache….at least I now understand why..I never new about wearing a brace. Definatly going to look into this a little more..Thank you.

    Shelley p
    from over the pond

  2. This is eye-opening. I was wondering about that funny gap in my tummy after full-term birth number four. I thought it had something to do with a C section, which I hadn’t had before. Thanks for the info.

    I am looking forward to someday having surgery to fix some “battle scars” too–a huge network of varicose veins, which cause a lot of discomfort. Thankfully, insurance covers a stripping if there is recurrent pain involved.

    I wanted to apologize for my long, off-topic comment yesterday. I don’t really know what came over me. That probably wasn’t the discussion you were trying to foster, on that day. I’ll have more restraint next time, and stick to your questions. I hope you weren’t too irritated with me. Sorry!

  3. Dear Amy,
    I am sure you know that you are doing a more importatnt job raising those little arrows at the moment, and your newest little arrow is blessed to have you for a Mummy.
    Having said that I know after 12 babies(one in heaven) that it can be difficult and I would love to be a smaller size. I am planning on exercising. I am! I just need to find the time. But I know that time raising my little and big kids is far more importatant.
    I don’t know if this is helpful or not but just wanted to encourage you in your vocation as Wife and Mummy.
    Blessings

  4. I did have this with my first baby I remember my doctor telling me about htis.i didn’t know there were exercises to fix this. Thanks for the info. I will check them out.

  5. Oh boy… I think I have the same problem but just assumed it was baby belly fat and would disappear after I lose those extra pounds. Yikes. But you looks cute!! Yaa for the baby belly =)

  6. That is interesting. We seem to be on track to have babies every 2 years or so, so I wonder if I should be doing preventative exercises between. Thanks for the overview.

  7. Hi Amy~
    Thats what happens to me….that is why in the video I made(and since deleated)about, what I would wear to the Christmas party I was still wearing maternity pants. They are compfy and don’t bind.
    I have since bought some gurtle type underclothes that go clear up to my boops. I only wear it when we are doing out ….some place nice as they are quit unconfortable!

    Yes, regular jeans are very uncompfy! Except the ones I found at Walmart with a high waist and elastic waist band….Yes I feel like an old lady!LOL
    I still nurse so dresses are out.

    My last 3 kiddos were very big all over 10#.

    I will start trying some of those exercises you mentioned! We are hoping to be in the pregnant catigory soon~ I have to wait another week to test again! (Its been NEG the past 7 months! So well see?)

    Blessings,
    Georgiann

  8. This was very interesting. I have a tummy (that looks like I am pregnant when I am not), but I think it is from having 5 c-sections. Hmmm…I am going to look into those exercises.

  9. Amy,

    Thank you so much for this post – I had no idea that diastasis could have that effect, nor that there were ways to help control it (and that sit-ups were a no-no!). It was very eye-opening, I really appreciate you sharing!

  10. Sandi,
    No, the C-section are the not the cause. At least not w/ the low horizontal incisions they use now.

    A 3 isn’t bad at all…you should be able to repair it on your own.

  11. I think I might just have this. It’s not huge but there definately feels like a gap is in there..maybe 3 fingers wide. I’ve had two c-section, two natural births and two late miscarriages. The sections don’t cause it do they?
    Now I am really interested in reading the book you mentioned.

  12. Kranberry,
    I did just tell my husband last night, after baby is here, I want to lose what I can so that at least that added weight is gone. The diastasis is easier to conceal w/o the extra weight. And YOU look awesome..I can’t even tell you have one!!! Love ya!

  13. I had this after my emergency hysterectomy. During the recovery, I ripped muscles away from the anterior abdominal wall lifting and doing too much I wasn’t supposed to. My doctor told me that surgery would repair it, but I’m a high-risk surgery patient (problems with sedation, allergic to ALL pain meds, etc). So I’ve been working my buns off and getting back in shape. I can still tell that on the left side, there isn’t as much definition as on the right because there just aren’t muscles there. But I do believe it’s slowly getting better. You look awesome!

  14. With my first c-section the baby was transverse and very large and stuck. I had an emergency section that was a T-incision…so he cut up and across…so maybe that contributed. My last section with Eli they told me my incision scar was paper thin. Surprised that it didn’t burst. Anyway the classical incision doesn’t help any :o)

  15. I had the same problem after my 3rd baby (9lb13) but thankfully it partially healed itself and is no worse after 2 more (smaller) babies. I’m still contemplating surgery one day, as I still look pregnant.

  16. FloridaMom,
    I didn’t actually buy the splint I currently have. It was something my dad had for back pain. I need a new one and will probably end up investing in the one I showed in this post…or something very similar.

  17. I have this too, and it does bother me. It got really bad after my 5th baby (he was over 10 lbs). I can only wear long, bulky t-shirts and I hate it because it makes me feel frumpy. I dread the “when are you due?” questions when I am not pregnant- can you say awkward?!! I am thin everywhere else, so it definitely looks like I am pregnant. I am curious about what splint you use, where did you buy it? I have tried girdles but they are very uncomforable and I end up with stomach pains and have to take them off after an hour or so. I did the Loose your Mummy Tummy for a few weeks, but found it hard to be consistent with it (my baby has been a fussy guy since he was born over a year ago so free time for exercise is non-existent). I would love to get the surgery but not sure if I’ll be able to or when. Not sure if we’ll have baby #8 so we’re just in wait and see mode for now. I would love to be able to wear nicer clothes though! Thanks for sharing your story.

  18. Interesting! I have a groinal hernia and the doctor’s telling me not to get pregnant with it. my midwife told me not to even worry about it if it doesn’t both me – she has a menonite client who’s had 3 kids with one. Your post gives me hope that not ALL “defects” need to be fixed prior to pregnancy…

  19. This is so interesting. I am so glad you posted it! I always feel huge, but my midwife tells me I’m not. The first time I heard of this was after LucyLillie, our 8th child. My midwife had me lay back and measured me there above my belly. She was actually amazed. She said the space was so small, and she had never seen it like that, and not after such a subsequent child!
    She asked me if I rocked my children sitting – meaning in a non-rocking chair, like, rock yourself from your waist – which, I said yes to, because I have just always done this, even when we have a rocker.
    She said I must have strong stomach muscles – which, I will admit I do NOT. I could never do sit-ups to save my life. I still can’t! (guess that is a good thing tho!)
    I never understood what it meant, but then thought about it each time I rocked. It was interesting to hear your story and what it is all about!
    Thanks.
    :)

  20. Dear Amy,
    I am so niave. Do you place your fingers vertically or horizontally?
    I am checking and I think it is vertically
    Blessings

  21. Oh, forgot to mention that my last pregnancy I used a maternity belt. It was a “Mother-To-Be” brand, nice and wide. My midwife in the States recommended it for my back pain and also to help the baby get into (and stay in) a good birthing position. I’m sure it helped my abs as well, by bearing some of the weight of my 10 lb. baby and all her cushy nest. ;o)

  22. I am glad you posted this. It was not until my seventh pregnancy that I began to take diastasis recti seriously. I had not been making the effort to recover muscle tone and strength between pregnancies, and my gap was widening each time.

    I did learn in my research that sit-ups and crunches are counterproductive. So I’ve just been concentrating on sucking in my stomach while I walk and/or go about daily tasks, and that seems to be helping.

    Thanks again for this post. It will likely help someone avoid surgery in the future!

    ..And how wonderful that the Lord has blessed you with a new little one. Congratulations! :oD

  23. Hi –
    I am the hubby of a lovely lady who has DI. Probably about 3 finger widths. It is now 2 1/2 years later. She’s tried the exercises and such (have that book and more); but is ready to throw in the towel. Things have gotten more taut, but the separation remain. It would mean so much if anyone could confirm they actually fixed it and had DI as bad as her. It is now 2 years after the fact..and we are trying to set realistic expectations.

    Also; is there anything we can try to do to increase the odds that a Dr. would go up to bat for us in trying to get the tummy tuck covered under insurance.

    Absolutely any help or comments are appreciated.
    thanks for reading.
    signed,
    useless_hubby

    p.s. Thanks a lot for

    • I haven’t gone in for a consult as yet, but from my understanding a tummy tuck is what is needed and then they will sew the muscles shut at the same time. My OB thought I could convince a Dr. to label it in a way that insurance would cover it. There is always the possibility that you are dealing with a hernia of sorts as well which would make it medically necessary. I do not know anyone personally who has had theirs fixed, but after I have this baby, I will be going in for a consult to see if it is feasible to have the procedure done before my child-bearing years are over. Sorry I can’t be of more help. I would just suggest going in for a consult and see what the Dr. says.

  24. Dear Amy-
    It is such a relief to finally find something on Diastasis Recti. My Dr’s don’t seem to know what to tell me.
    My DR is about 5 finger widths apart and my uterus is bulging out of my abdomen. My husband and I have been wanting to have another baby and i’ve been worried that it may not be safe for me or the baby if I get pregnant again Reading your story reassures me that everything will work out fine but I still have some concerns.
    I read in your story that the baby can move around freely. Have you ever had the umbilical cord get wrapped around the baby? Will this make concieving more difficult? Were there any complications during your pregnancies? Are there any special precautions i sould take?
    I have an infinate number of concerns and I could go on all day. Anything you can tell me about the safety of getting pregnant and if the baby is going to be safe, would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you so much for posting your story. It definately makes me feel much better about trying for another angel.

    Monica

    • Monica,
      Hello! I am obviously not a doctor, so please take what I say as a jumping off point and not as the be all end all of the diastasis recti issue.

      If you are not pregnant, then the bulge you are seeing is not your uterus, but rather other internal organs. It is considered a “safe” problem and only requires immediate medical attention when there has been a herniation. That would be one thing to check for.

      As for baby’s safety, yes, baby can move freely, and I suppose that could pose a risk to umbilical issues; however, the only thing I have encountered has been 2 breech babies, neither with umbilical problems. I also carry huge and straight out in front. There are no muscles to “hold baby in” so my uterus falls forward with the heaviness of the baby. I do not measure larger than average, but I do look larger than average.

      It does not pose problems to getting pregnant, nor staying pregnant. It is simply a split in the abdominal wall that causes a lack of “support” for your growing uterus.

      I would encourage you to look into the exercises you can do to strengthen the stomach muscles, talk to your doctor about your concerns, and possibly get a consult with either a general surgeon or a plastic surgeon. I will eventually have to have surgery to repair the muscles, but from all my research, I see no real health risks at this time.
      Blessings,
      Amy

  25. Amy,
    Thank you so much for your reply! I know your not a Doctor so don’t worry, I wouldn’t blame you if something went wrong during my pregnancy. I’m just happy to talk with someone who has been through it and understands things better than I do.
    Unfortunately, I have a narrow pelvis so I need to have C-Sections. In this situation it might be a good thing if the baby has a risk of beeing breech.
    I’ve seen two Dr’s and one was an OBGYN/Surgeon. The surgeon said I would need surgery to repair my abdomen after my husband and I are finished having children. The Dr. I saw before her did ultrasounds to make sure it wasn’t a hernia. It didn’t make sense to me that it would be my uterus bulging out because it should be down inside my pelvis while i’m not pregnant. I kind of think that it’s my intestines bulging out, but I was just telling you what the Dr said.
    Thank you again for talking with me. It really eases my mind because I’ve been so afraid to get pregnant again, and my Dr’s seem to know so little about severe diastasis recti.
    If you don’t mind, would it be ok if I talk with you about any issues that may come up when I do get pregnant? I know I’ll have questions because I think this pregnancy is going to be a lot different that my previous one!
    Congratulations on your beautiful family!
    God Bless,
    Monica

  26. I found out through my doc that I have DR. My son was almost nine lbs, but I think I got it due to my mother-in-law from hell, who happens to be a nurse, telling me the wrong way to push during labor. She actually argued with my doctor telling him he was instructing me wrong. I got to the hospital with contractions 2 minutes apart, but delivered some 15 hours later! Anyway, I got a personal trainer from the Tupler website and have been working with her for about 4 months. I closed my DR from a 6 to a 1! Now, I am pregnant again and super nervous about my baby not being held in tightly if my muscles separate again. Anyway, I just wanted to share that you can close this thing with intensive exercise. Hope this helps!

      • Thanks Amy, is there anything I should look out for with this DR pregnancy? I saw on the TV show The Doctors yesterday…a woman who had a DR repaired with a corset stitch live on TV! I noticed the doc gave her a bikini cut so the scar didn’t show. My doc told me I would have to get cut vertically down the middle of my belly and it would leave a gross scar! I wish I could afford to go to the doc on TV. I just don’t understand why I cant get a c-section and have my muscles sewn at the same time. It is so dumb for Insurance to consider it a tummy tuck when your organs are hanging out!

        • Ugh! I totally agree about insurance not seeing this as necessary! The big things in pregnancy are breech babies, pulling the muscles even further apart, and the possibility of your uterus flipping almost entirely around (something my new doctor told me she has seen). I am going to be trying out some new support garments (hopefully soon!) and really hope those offer a good level of support and comfort. I’ll let everyone know what I find after I’ve tried them.
          Blessings to you!
          Amy

  27. Is it just me experiencing bad back pain together wt DI? I can’t even bathe my kids or do anything requiring back muscles. The pain is almst crippling. Anyone else ‘in my shoes’?

    • Back pain definitely can accompany a diastasis because you don’t have the stomach muscles to support your back. Wearing a brace and working to strengthen those muscles should help considerably!

  28. I am positive I have diastasis recti after having given birth (by scheduled c-section) to my 10 lb 4 oz daughter in December, 2007. I’m now 32 weeks pregnant with my second child, and while I’m a very slender person everywhere else, my belly is huge (has been for a long time now) and I’m often mistaken for being full-term by strangers. I saw my primary care physician a year ago about it and he insisted I didn’t have it (apparently didn’t even know how to test for it with fingers above the belly button) and told me to do some sit-ups. My OB doesn’t seem all that familiar with it either. However, the last 2 visits I’ve had, she’s remarked on how seemingly thin my uterus is – you can see every movement of my baby and it’s very easy to discern body parts. She seems a bit concerned and is sending me for an ultrasound with a high-risk OB. I’m not sure she’s considering the possibility that my abdominal muscles are simply not holding my uterus in, which might explain why it’s just so easy to feel this baby.

    What do you think? When you were pregnant with diastasis recti, were you able to see distinct bulges of the baby’s feet, hands, etc.?

    • My OB is very familiar with diastasis recti and yes, she can tell every single body part and exactly where baby is. However, I would still go ahead and see the specialist, but not without mentioning the possibility of a diastasis. One easy way to determine if you have it in pregnancy is to lay on your back and then curl up (I know, not the easiest thing)–if there is an odd looking bulge toward the top of your uterus/stomach area, that would show that your stomach muscles have split. I hope it is just a diastasis and not something more serious! I’ll be praying in that direction!

  29. Wow thanks so much for the information! I think I have diastasis recti. I have been trying to lose my tummy for awhile and it just kinda sags :( My question is are their digestive problems associated with this? Thanks.

  30. Wow!! Yes, this does help me feel better!
    Lose Your Mummy Tummy is the only thing that I’ve seen results with, though I’m hopeful for TTapp also. Anyway, mine would require surgery for total repair, but God has helped my attitude about that (http://gratefulforgrace.com/2010/09/beautiful-generosity/). I’m sooo excited to see that Painreliever wrap. The Tuppler wrap just doesn’t work for me either. It’s too narrow. I’m going to check into that item.
    Did you see that she says babywearing in the front makes it worse also? That you have to wear the wrap when doing that? Sigh. I didn’t find her info until after baby #5. By then, my diastasis was huge. I had been doing everything wrong, especially the crunches. Oh well.
    Great post. Thank you for your willingness to be open.

    • Grace,
      I so wish I had known all these things prior to the diastasis, but like you, I’ve had to really work on my attitude and be okay with it. I do wear my brace nearly all the time. There is no way I can avoid all the things she says to avoid (lifting the car seat, baby wearing, etc). I hope you are able to find some solutions that work for you.

  31. Wow! I’m not the only one! I’ve had 2 BIG boys in the past 3 years…adding up to a total of about 21 pounds combined. I work in a public place and people make comments like “Oh, I see you haven’t had your baby yet” When in fact my baby is 6 months old. I hate that this is my burden to bare, but I also know too many people who have lost babies or can’t have children, so at least I have my healthy boys and I myself am healthy except for having this huge bulging gut. My husband is wonderful and tells me I’m the most beautiful woman in the world. I have every reason to be happy, but it still hurts SO BAD when someone makes a “pregnant” comment. Thanks for posting this. I know I’m not alone!

  32. I have it as a result of an MRI. I have pain with it above the abdomen. I hate how my stomach looks.. I seriously look pregnant.. have had 3 babies.. all c-sections and I’m 4’11. Been working out for 2 1/2 years now rigorously and it’s just gotten worse! Glad to hear your story!!!

    Kathleen

  33. Hi Amy,
    I posted some time ago about my lovely wife. I am wondering how your consult went, if you did indeed have it? I have recently spoke to my doctor; and I will confirm more later, but he mentioned that he was bothered that the doctor who did the c-section didn’t put a stitch in *at that time* to ensure this didn’t worsen. I did not know that this was an option. I mention this in case it helps some women out there.

    I really want to hear from any ladies who got this fixed…if possible. Surgical, or exercise-wise..

    Great Blog and thanks for putting yourself out there.
    Cheers.

    • Hi! My consult is this coming Monday. I did talk to a lady who deals with exercise and D.R. and she thinks one as large as mine CAN be repaired with just exercise. I’m really going to give the exercises a good go and see what happens, but I do want to find out if I have a true hernia and what a surgeon thinks about it. I’ll post on the blog when I know more.

  34. Thanks for writing about this! It was my first pregnancy that did the same to my stomach muscles, and I never have found anything to help hold everything in. I’m going to try your suggestions for braces!

  35. Hello Amy,

    I’m glad I found your website! I am too have Diastasis Recti and its hard to find useful information about it. I am in the 2nd pregancy and my Diastasis Recti has not healed properly yet. I don’t want to worsen my condition so I’m trying to find ways to prevent it from tearing even more. Can’t wait to hear back how your work with Tupler went…

  36. I came across your blog this morning and found this info which is very helpful! I am pregnant with my 7th and always carry huge and straight out front (just like your picture). This time I seem even bigger and a friend told me last night someone was asking her if I looked “too big” even though I have three more months to go. I do not look pregnant from the back at all but figured this is how I carry. I get strange looks all the time when I turn around and people see my big belly sticking out. :)-

    I had twins in ’02 and after that the doctor had said that my tummy would only be “fixed” with surgery but I didn’t really think more about it except that I always had a pooch that got bigger after each pregnancy. I am going to look more into this as I am curious if that is what I have. No wonder crunches never seemed to help anything.

    I’m looking forward to visiting your blog more often!

    Thanks for the info!
    Amy

  37. Hi there gals;
    I’m wondering if any of you that posted in these replies from 2010 actually had the repair done surgically. I am 30 weeks preg, with baby #4 (but this is my 3rd pregnancy as we have twins!) I have been diagnosed with DI along with a herniation. I have a consult with a general surgeon at the end of July but I’ve been so curious to know if anyone had this repaired during their c-section. We already know (due to complications with the twins’ delivery) that we will have a c-section and I only want to have one surgery and I’m hoping they will fix everything at the same time. Has anyone had this experience?

  38. I am a mom of ten, all c-sections. I can sympathize with you.After I had baby number7 the doctors told me I had diastasis recti. Ihad2 more babies after that and then had surgery. A year later I was expecting again!The big mesh they put in my tummy caused some problems,but in the end all was well.Now my surgery never was completly a success. It created another seperation in my upper belly. I could get it fixed but I am tired of surgery!Unless it creates a real problem,I will live with it.

  39. I just recently had a surgery to repair my diastasis recti which was from below my breasts to below the navel. I also had a half dollar sized umblilical hernia. Im still wwaiting on the results cause its only been a little over a week, but anything has to be better than what it was. I only had one pregnancy, but like you, I got huger than most. After all my pregnancy was gone, I still looked 5 months preggo, sometimes 7 months. It was so embarassing and uncomfortable. It was stressing out my back and tummy, So, I sounf a surgeon and he did both all at once. And, my insurance covered it cause it was definetly medical emeergency (in my opinion)…..I’ll keep ya posted on how it turns out.

  40. thanks so much for being brave and sharing this! I had no idea there was a technique for exercises that could help this! And I’m going to look for one of those braces, too!

  41. I had never heard of diastasis recti, but I definitely have it! With my third baby, everyone knew I was pregnant at six weeks. He was almost 11 pounds at birth. Now I’m 12 weeks with number 4, and I feel huge! But I’m curious, why no pilates? I did a fair amount of pilates between number 2 and 3, did I just make it worse??

    • My understanding is you are not to do certain moves in pilates that jackknife your body. Anything that resembles a situp shouldn’t be done. I don’t know much about pilates, but I think you could probably do any moves that aren’t like that while avoiding the ones that are.

  42. Thanks for posting this! I’m expecting #8 and i used belly binding and the Tupler Method last time and it really helped a lot, but i know it will be a lot of work after baby comes in six weeks! That binder looks perfect, too! And, … You’re not alone! I did find that losing weight makes it a lot easier for everything to “fit”, and i am hoping my personal coach (husband) will help me again this time :)..

  43. HI THERE. I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM AS YOU. I WAS 12 WEEKS PREGNANT AND I LOOKED 6 MOTHS! I HAVE A LARGE DIASTIS 6-8 ASWELL. I WAS A VERY PETITE WOMAN AND BARELY 5 FOOT. MY DAUGHTER WAS ALMOST 11 POUNDS. MY EMMA ROSE IS ALMOST 2 YEARS OLD NOW AND I STILL GET PEOPLE ASKING ME HOW FAR ALONG! I AM FED UP WITH IT AND AM DOING THE TUPLER TECHNIQUE AS WELL. JUST STARTED THOUGH. I WAS TOLD THAT MY STOMACH MUSCLES WERE NOT HOLDING MY INTESTINES IN PROPERLY. IT IS NICE TO KNOW I AM NOT ALONE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR STORY. :)

  44. thank you. it is a very isolating experience to have this issue. i appreciate you using your blog to spread support and awareness!

  45. If it’s any consolation I get HUGE when pregnant (comparably huge, looking at your photos) and I don’t have DR. I just get huge, I carry big. People think I’m due any day now, sometimes when I’m only halfway through. It’s not DR and it has no correlation to how much weight I put on (on the whole) I just end up HUGE.

  46. Thank you sooo much for this post!! I am in my 4th pregnancy in 5 years and have an extremely severe diastasis (starting with pregnancy #2). I always look pregnant when I am not and have a HUGE floppy pendulous abdomen when pregnant. I can’t help but compare myself to other pregnant bellies and shapes constantly. It is a very isolating feeling. I am so grateful to have been able to have my last baby at home, despite a fairly difficult labor and malpositioning (direct OP baby)! It was such a blessing to know that even with this huge split in my stomach and previous c-section, that my body wasn’t broken! Thank you so much for the exercise and splint tips as well, I have not been able to find a pregnancy brace that fits me comfortably, but will have to check out the one above. It actually looks big enough to support my stomach. (I always get comments how low my belly is, or how there is no way there is only one, looks like I’m smuggling a dinosaur egg, etc.) I am a fairly petite person to begin with, so the bulge just looks even more pronounced, particularly in my non-pregnant state. Can’t wait to try out the exercise techniques post-baby! Thank you again, I am so glad I found your site! :)
    Elizabeth

  47. Thankyou so much for posting this information, just to know there is someone else in the world out there with a “significant” separation, helps make me feel more normal! My separation is 15cms and I am so sick of reading/hearing advice about how everybody has it postpartum and how just doing the exercises will make it better!! Finally, someone who lives with what I live with!!

  48. Thank you so much for posting this – I may look into the ContourMD splint! I’m 3 months into my third pregnancy, and I’m a small person who has large babies… I usually look pregnant when I’m not without careful camouflaging, and I’m already looking like I did in my third trimester with my first baby. I’m sorry you have it, but it is so nice to know that I’m not the only one!

  49. I’m SO grateful to find sites like yours. As per your other comments, it is such an isolating feeling and I get so embarrased. My diastasis was/is severe, I was told 10 fingers when measured by a Tupler trained physio in London. I’ve only had the one baby so far and I couldn’t hide it even up to the 12 week mark…it started showing very early and I guess this was why. Later on in my pregnancy I had a stomach very much the low, hanging shape of yours. I was a very fit and healthy 31 year old when I got pregnant and never once thought something like this could happen to me I really don’t think people talk about this effect enough and having the diastasis really contributed towards quite a bit of depression after birth as I had no idea what was wrong with me and it interfered a lot with my breast feeding as well. Anyway, the Tuoler technique is helping slowly, it’s a lot lot better than it used to be, fitting in the excercises is difficult at times but worth it. My gorgeous boy is 17 months now and we’re hoping to try for another soon. Thankyou for the support recommndation, I’ll definitely be investing in that for my next pregnancy.
    Good luck to everyone trying to close their diastasis x

  50. I had my first child almost 16 months ago and I only discovered that I have diastasis recti a few weeks ago. I only have a 1 finger width gap, but it has given me severe chronic low back pain since two months postpartum. I have also discovered belly wrapping, which helps my back pain tremendously. However the absolute best looking wrap which is so much more extensive than all modern wraps is the Malaysian bengkung.
    http://www.little-tots-store.com/item_165/Postpartum-Belly-Wrap–Bengkung-Roda.htm
    I have ordered one, but it looks so secure. Also if you research traditional belly wrapping, it is never just the belly that is wrapped postpartum, it’s from below the widest point of the hips to right under the bust. Many cultures have used belly wrapping for a long time for numerous reasons.
    http://www.pregnantpossibilities.com/2011/ancient-art-belly-wrapping/

  51. I found that the LIndsay Brinn video “Boot Camp 2″ postnatal workout focuses on DR as well as her CFS (Core Firing Sequence) which focuses only on diastasis. I was so discouraged for so long that all exercise I did was actually counterproductive. At least with these dvds I feel like I am not doing any more harm.

  52. Hi Amy,
    I just would like to know why you write that one should not do Pilates…. made me curious…
    My diastasis was huge (X-small woman with a huge 8 pds baby) and actually healed a lot by doing Pilates 3 times a week, I just have to skip certain exercises, avoid crunches and roll ups and instead of doing exercises with a flat back or belly, my trainer said I should bring my lower back in a little bit.

    Since there is so few information on the problem, I simply felt that Pilates was a good way to do anything besides surgery and my husband notes the difference since my 4th month of Pilates.

    Would love an answer, maybe I’m wrong and you know better :-)
    Big hug and thanks for sharing your story. Katharina

    • I was advised not to do Pilates because there are so many exercises in it that must be avoided. This was at Julie Tuppler’s suggestion. I suppose it would just be a matter of someone knowing which exercises to avoid. :)

  53. Thank you so much for sharing your story, it is a real encouragement! My husband and I are hoping to get pregnant sometime this fall with our third child. I have a large diastisis and I ordered the Tupler system. My doctor, who is wonderful, said this should help bring my muscles much closer together, but won’t completely fix it. I have had a previous c-section, so we are going to plan a c-section with the third baby and my doctor is going to stitch the muscles together while he’s in there. He said it is an easy fix when he’s already in there, just a few stitches.

    I am nervous about how I will look when we get pregnant again. I have always been off the charts HUGE during pregnancy because I am short with a very short torso, my kiddos stick straight out it seems. I am super appreciative of your 9wks picture because it helps me to be realistic about another pregnancy and it also helps me to not feel so alone!

    Thank you for sharing!

  54. Thank you for all of this information and links to more information!! I gave birth to my first baby (9lb 8 oz) almost 10 months ago and had a 3-4 finger separation. Still do. I am trying to be motivated to do the exersizes, but failing miserably, and I am very encouraged to read your blog. Thank you!

  55. I have one on both sides kinda scarey. I am currently 3months pregnant with my 4th and look like im 6mths pregnant. I had lost alot of weight before this baby and one day wearing tight jeans leaned over and something popped out of both sides it felt like a tumor. I got scared ran to the doctor she said its a hernia. Well my husband had had the surgery and he was in alot of pain afterwards and I was like no way Im not getting that. well after last nite I leaned over my 3 yr olds bed to grab a toy and I felt rip it scared the heck out of me. now Im concerned if I have it on both sides what will happen with the pregnancy. Mine are not around the belly bottom its close to my rib cage on both sides left side is 3 fingers and the right side is like 5 fingers. Im gonna wear the maturnity belt for protection and try to eat smaller meals. it seems to hurt when I sit to have a big meal. I think with mine Im gonna need to have surgery and this is our last baby so Ill be able to do it in the future

  56. I am so glad to know that someone else is going through the same thing as me.
    I was extremely small when i first fell pregnany and from before 3 months my belly button stuck out, which is when i realised my stomach muscles had split. The reason was that my baby was 10pound 7.5, and I used to be a size 6, so my body obviously wasnt made for that big a baby.
    I have just had my 2nd baby, who was much smaller, but i was still very big during pregnancy.
    I get way more compliments when i am pregnant than when i am not, as my stomach looks normal then.
    I only ever put weight on my stomach when i am pregnant, and therefore it shows more. before and after. :(
    I will look into getting surgery once i have finished having babies but for now i will get on with exercises!
    Thanks again,
    Maura

  57. what do you plan to do /wear for your stomach muscles after this baby? my distasis recti is bad! im on baby # 3 right now

    • I’ve just been told about belly binding right after pregnancy – Google that(there are a lot of products) and then I wear just a simply support garment from WalMart.

  58. Thank you for posting this Amy! I was just wondering what my uterus would do as I enter the third trimester, and wondered if there was a way to keep it from sagging down again (with my twin pregnancy, my belly reminded me of an octopus head). I appreciate the link to the support band and will try it out.
    As for recovery, I had a difficult, long process recovering after my twins were born. 7 months later, my diastasis fluctuated anywhere from 5-9 fingers on any given week. The times it was 9, I was worn out and had little steam to do anything around the house. I didn’t fully understand the what or the why, but little things felt funny, and tried not to do them (like opening the windows, using my feet to push drawers shut, opening the salsa jar, lifting a carseat with a baby in it, etc. etc.). I went to a physical therapist for several sessions, which kind of helped, as long as I went to her.
    I eventually began to feel my normal self again as the twins began to eat more solids, and eventually weaned, and also as I began to go swimming. Swimming toned and strengthened a variety of muscles that somehow helped me regain core strength again. It was so effective, and I didn’t have to worry about doing the wrong exercises, as swimming was all gentle and lengthening.
    Its funny because with diastasis recti, the pooch fluctuates back and forth all the time depending on whether I am regular with good ol’ exercise or not. It will always be there, and will never go away. Although I will never look the same as I did before babies, there are definite ways to get back the same physical capabilities and energy!