Diastasis Recti in Pregnancy Revisited

Visit the Diastasis From a Mom’s Perspective page!

Me at 33 weeks!

I really wanted to name this post Pregnancy Support Garments, but something about that just made cringe.  Why?  Probably because until now the only pregnancy support garments I’ve ever worn have been THE most uncomfortable things on the planet!  I really wanted nothing to do those three words!

However, my original post on my diastasis recti receives daily hits from women just like me.  I kind of feel like the national spokeswoman for diastasis recti!  Because of that, I wanted to address a few of the comments in the original post that are specifically pregnancy related and also tell you of a new development!

First off, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about continuing to have babies after a substantial split.  My split happened with my 4th child.  I have had 2 children since then and am pregnant with the 3rd.  For me, it has not been an issue to continue to have babies.  My OB did mention she had one patient who’s uterus almost completely flipped over due to a lack of stomach muscles!  And of course, you want to be sure there is no herniation.  However, for most women, a diastasis recti is completely harmless and does not hinder carrying a baby to term.

As I said in my original post, for me, the major side effect (besides the big ole belly!) is my babies have plenty of room to move and tend to go breech rather than head down.  This has created a need to turn my babies at the last minute to help me labor properly.

Another thing I have noticed is that it is much easier for me to wrench my muscles while pregnant.  Turning over in bed, bending over the wrong way, etc can cause more pulling and ripping in my already sorry excuse for stomach muscles.  That’s where my exciting news comes in!

 

Pregnancy Support Garments from ContourMD

You might have noticed the original post gives nothing in the way of support DURING pregnancy.  The reason was as I stated earlier…I had yet to find anything I felt I could endorse because they were all sooooo uncomfortable.  And honestly, what pregnant lady wants to be even more uncomfortable than she already is?

Enter ContourMD!

I can’t even tell you how I ended up on their site, but I know it was after searching and searching and searching for something that looked comfortable and was also something I hadn’t already tried. 

My OB suggested I look for something that helped to pull my stomach muscles together, rather than simply support the underneath side of my belly as so many pregnancy support garments are designed to do.  So, as I searched ContourMD’s site, that is what I had in mind.

The three I chose are the ones in the pictures above.  You can find them in more detail here:

Contour Over Belly Panty
Contour Support Belt (which is really more like a panty-less version of the first one)
Strong Support Maternity Belt (there is also a medium support belt)

The first 2 do not offer the level of support I truly need; however, they are the most comfortable support garments I have EVER worn! In fact, I would recommend these be worn to bed (yes, they ARE that comfortable!)  Because of needing to turn over in bed and tax your already weak stomach muscles, wearing something like this that is comfy, yet provides a level of support too is perfect for bedtime!

Now, the Strong Support Belt does offer the level of support my severe diastasis needs.  It isn’t uncomfortable like most support belts I’ve worn.  There is a wide band that goes across your back and then a velcro portion that goes under the belly.  This offers support both to your back and stomach muscles as well as holding your belly in place.  I’ve found my favorite way to wear the belt is to combine it with one of the other two support garments for maximum comfort and support.

So, if you are dealing with diastasis recti, please do your exercises, be careful not to tax your stomach muscles too much, and check out ContourMD’s support garments!

Disclosure: I contacted ContourMD & asked to test the 3 garments in the hopes of finding something I could recommend to readers.  I am so thankful they have worked out so well!

Looking for more information on diastasis recti?  Check out my Diastasis Recti page:

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26 thoughts on “Diastasis Recti in Pregnancy Revisited

  1. You mentioned how for most women this problem poses no problem and I thought I’d share that I’ve been listening to the Baby Conference messages from Vision Forum and during a lecture Michelle Duggar was told during her most recent c section that she had no abdominal muscles left. (But that her uterus was in fantastic shape- Take that all “Her uterus is going to fall out” people. I’ve actually heard that IRL!) She said that it was a specific muscle but couldn’t remember the name. I wonder if it’s this same problem you’re dealing with. If so, that really affirms that your statement.

    Thanks for this post, I’m beginning to suspect someone I know is dealing with this issue and I’ll have to share your recommendation should she require it. :D

  2. Would you recommend these as just regular pregnancy support garments? I don’t have diastasis recti, but as you know this is my fourth baby and my belly is feeling really…heavy. I’m only 26 weeks, so I have a long ways to go to feel so uncomfortable!

    The support belt I’ve used in other pregnancies just makes me cringe. So I’d love to know from your personal experience if you think this would help me.

    Thanks!!

    -Lauren

    • You probably wouldn’t need the strong support, but they have a medium support as well that might be more what you’d like. Take a look around the site. I definitely think anyone could benefit from them (and do your exercises so you DON’T end up w/ a diastasis!)

  3. I just had to comment to let you know that I think you are BEAUTIFUL at 33 weeks! I have the opposite problem it seems. I am 20 weeks pregnant (Woohoo, I passed my “critical period” for miscarriage since I miscarried last time at 17 weeks) but nobody believes that I’m actually pregnant. I’ve actually had doctors and nurses tell me that I am not pregnant because I look so tiny. I’m kind of struggling from that aspect! You look wonderful! (Just had to add that in there again…) One thing I do have a problem with though is severe back pain. Do you think any of the support garments you have tried would work for that, although I don’t “look” pregnant? I’m struggling to find something that works. Thanks so much!

    • Lindsay,
      Congratulations! and thank you :)
      The strong support garment is actually labeled as being for mothers who have back problems (even those who have had back surgery), so I definitely think this would work for you!
      Blessings to you!

  4. Oh my gosh!My stomach looks just like yours when I am pregnant! I am 10 weeks with my third baby right now and I look like I am (no joke) 6 months!! I realized I had a diastasis after my second and I too always look a little pregnant (even when I am not) With my second baby, people were asking me DAILY(sometimes two or three times a day,at grocery stores,libraries,parks…)if i was sure there was only one in there.
    I actually wasn’t sure about carrying another baby ,but, here baby comes! I was actually looking up support garments when i found your blog.I will try the contour md belt. Also I am going to try to get a “belly bra” Have you tried that product as well? I am hoping that between those two things i can feel a little better this pregnancy and avoid further injuring my muscles( i only had my last baby 17 months ago)Thanks for writing about this! Melissa

    • Melissa,
      The belly bra isn’t quite enough support for mine, although it does make me feel a little bit better. I hope you find something that works for you. I just recently found a product I am loving for use outside of pregnancy! Hope to have a post on it up soon!

  5. I was so excited to come across your blog. I am a Pre and Post natal fitness specialist that has just finished my patent pending maternity support that can be worn during and after pregnancy. It is designed to help “splint the abdominals” and also by doing certain exercises during pregnancy can actually help minimize the diastasis while pregnant! None of the products out there currently splint the abdominals…it is also comfortable and doesn’t slide around. I would love to send you one for free to try. Email me at cels21@hotmail.com or leave a comment on my blog…www.exerciseandpregnancy.blogspot.com

  6. Okay, so I just realized you would have given birth by now. It will work post pregnancy as well. I am getting ready to launch my CORE 4 program that with the splint wrap, helps women recondition their core (rectus and trans abs, pelvic floor muscles, back and posture muscles)

  7. Hi, Amy,

    I recently came across your blog and have enjoyed reading your story. I have the same stomach muscle split issue and have wondered if it can be surgically repaired after one is done bearing children. Can you tell me anything you know about that such as whether insurance companies view it as a cosmetic or a medical procedure? Is there any danger of another split after surgery? Where could I get some info on what’s involved in the repair? Thanks!

    • From what I’ve been told, you want to wait until you are done having children to have it surgically repaired. Most insurance companies will not pick it up because they do view it as cosmetic. If you have a hernia, you are more likely to have them pick up the cost, though. All depends in the coding of the surgery by the doctor. Yes, it can rupture again, but really only if you have another baby and the weight of the baby ruptures it. I went to see a plastic surgeon for a consult and he sent me to a general surgeon (have not been to that consult yet), so I don’t know if it just seemed more than he thought he can handle or what? Hope that helps.

  8. A woman’s diet does factor into the process of getting pregnant. There are many foods that are essential for their diets. Folic acid, for example, is one of the necessary components for women in this category. It is important to consume at least 0.4 mg of folic acid daily. When you consider the process of getting pregnant a balanced diet is essential. This includes foods rich in starch and fiber. Women should also increase their intake of vitamin C and vitamin A. Some women use supplements for this intake. Good dietary choices, however, are better options for consuming these nutritional components.

  9. I am so glad I found this website! I have been blessed with having every pregnancy symptom there is out there. Most would say “there”s no way!” until I list them all. I started having some pain in my upper abdomen and of course I was told it was just gas. Yeah, I don’t think so! We may get paranoid and emotional when we’re pregnant but we KNOW our bodies. Anywho, I have a huge buldge and to be honest I thought it was the baby. (This is my first pregnancy that I’ve been able to carry this long. I’m in my 27th week. I cried all day the day I found out thinking I was going to die. Of course I read the worst case scenarios on the internet and freaked myself out even more! My question to you and anyone else you is willing to answer, was/is it painful for you. I find it like a burning sensation between my ribs. I’m high risk and scared of everything. I know I should just calm down and tough it out but some days are worse than others. Thank you again for all of your info on diastasis recti.

    Coley

    • Coley,
      {hugs} While I personally do not have any pain with mine except the feeling of pulled muscles on either side when I am pregnant, I know people who do. The other thing you may be experiencing is some sort of hernia which is very common with a weakening of the DR muscles. I wouldn’t just shrug it off; however, doctors are not very familiar with DR, so you will probably need to be persistent! Hope you find some answers soon and may you have a blessed pregnancy!

    • I had acute pain like burning sensation in some ways in my ribs during my 2nd pregnancy, I could not lie down at all, I slept briefly in sitting position for the last 2 months. I had acute sharp pain at right si or sr joint, as a result, could not walk forward or stand with upper body bending forward a bit for 1 minute — brushing teeth was a challenge (ended up had a root canal down). I was high risk too.
      I diagnosed with diastasis recti 7 month after c-section, but I was sure I had it while I was pregnant.
      Hope it helps. Take care

  10. I have a diastasis recti about 3 fingers width right now, my 2nd also last baby is 19 month now. Mine only split above navel all the way up to my chest. I could see in recent half year that my skin is thinning out, and i feel the slightly pinchy pain on my stomach skin all the time, especially when I am exerting power. My whole body is twisted in many direction as a result of it (I believe). I was told that my farcia is separated, which means there won’t be any chance for the split muscle to bid again.
    I wonder if you feel the pain on your skin. I’d appreciate to see a front view picture of your stomach without garment — pravite of course. I could sent you one too.
    2ndly, what support garment you’d recommend to me? I could only wear support garment outside of my cloth as my skin is very sensitive, anything is too tight cause trouble. I am only 56″ in height and 128 lbs.
    Thanks for your sharing.

    Helen
    from Canada

    • Helen,
      I do not have any pain from it. You are able to wear support garment on the outside, just make sure you align your muscles where they should be as you are putting it on. You might want to get a consult with a PT to see what they think about your separation as I am not a medical specialist and really cannot make that kind of determination.
      blessings,
      Amy

  11. Hi Amy!! I was SOOOO glad to come across your sight and more information about this condition! I also found Julie several months ago but can’t really find any information apart from hers “out there.” I am in my second trimester, second baby, but had a large first baby and my stomach is ruined with about an inch and half diastasis. I am really worried about being pregnant before I “fixed” it. :( I’m going to order the supports you mentioned…also wondering, how long does it take you to do your exercises? I find just doing 30 to be very hard for me and it takes me quite a while….doing her recommended amounts just is overwhelming to me! How many do you do and how long does it take you? Thank you!!

    • Sarah,
      Hi! The initial exercises don’t take very long, but as your progress, it is more time consuming. However, you might see some awesome results very quickly with just the beginning exercises. :)

  12. Thank you for this post, I stumbled over it unexpectedly. I have a diastisis it occured during my second pregnancy – lifting my 15mth old (in what i thought was) the “right way” only of find out it was the wrong way if you are 6mths pregnant, too late now. I have since had 3 other pregnancies, similar situation to you no major threat just an inconvenience and something to keep an eye on. My 4th baby was HUGE (for me) he was 9p and my others were 7ish. I knew after the 4th pregnancy I couldn’t ignore it anymore, it was affecting my day to day life CONSTANTLY. I was given advice by my (lovely) midwife but it seemed contraindicated so saw the physio for a second opinion and thank God I did! I was given exercises and strongly suggested I start CLINICAL (physiotherapist supervised) Pilates (not “lifestyle pilates”) it has been very worthwhile, informative and empowering. Being a mother to 5 under 7 and home schooling 2 and a half boys and a baby makes “spare time” scarce and getting into town for that “spare time” very hard……. it meant reconsidering necessities and pinning down hubby for some “daddy duty”. I feel better, understand the issue better and LOVE my “hour of (abdominal) power” each week coupled with my home exercises. Its not a gym, its not like a gym, and you don’t have to be “sporty” to benifit. Just thought I’d mention what worked for me (along with belts/support garments) incase it might help you or others you know.

    Regards,

    Annelisa

  13. I was wondering if you had any updates for this post after your last pregnancy? I’m pregnant with my third (25 weeks) and found I had a diastasis after my second. I was doing the Tupler technique, but got pregnant right as I was making progress. :) I’ve had two c sections-one emergency, the second planned at the strong recommendation of my midwife. I would love to have a VBAC this time, but I know that weak muscles keep baby out of alignment.

    • Stacy,
      I’ve just now started back in. The gap is just as big as it was when I started last time. However, baby was never breech this time. :)

  14. Hi Amy! Quick question: Since the Strong Support Belt that you recommend goes under your tummy, do you feel like it can actually support diastasis during pregnancy, since the split is down the entire abdomen? Most of my diastatis pain and discomfort is just above and below my navel.

    • I do know people who wear more a Tupler-like splint during pregnancy. For me, the big issue in pregnancy ends up being that my belly muscles are useless and baby drops practically to my knees and flops outward! Using the support that goes under my belly lifts and keeps baby in a better laboring position. You could try more of a splint, and I may do that next time as well – just to see what I think.