There are many issues that no one talks about when it comes to pregnancy. One of those issues is diastasis recti.
When you become pregnant, and your belly gets really huge, your muscles move apart in the center to make way for the growing baby. Without getting technical, your abdominal muscles separate into right and left halves. These muscles are normally joined in the middle, but after pregnancy, they do not always move back together like they are supposed to. This is not only cosmetically unattractive, it can be a medical issue.
A few months after I had Logan, I noticed that when I did a sit up, my skin (organs, guts, fat?) would move upward in the middle. There was a one or two inch gap between my muscles that wasn’t supposed to be there. I thought this was a normal part of the postpartum process, so I didn’t worry too much about it. It seemed to get a little better over time, but I didn’t focus on it, mostly because I planned to have another baby.
When I was very pregnant with Mallory, I mentioned this separation to my OB/GYN. She had never talked about it or checked for it before I brought it up, and my previous doctor had not either. Once she checked, she looked slightly concerned, telling me that I had quite a large separation (four inches), and that it would be an issue to deal with after I delivered. They had information at the doctor’s office for a business called Healthy Core, where they do physical therapy for many women’s issues, including diastasis recti.
I have been in physical therapy now for a couple months, and it is covered by insurance. I am not making fast progress, but I am definitely improving from when I started. Therapy is different for everyone – some women can heal within a few months, while it can take a very long time for others. I am doing many core and pelvic exercises to work on my post delivery issues.
The point of this blog post is to let other women know that if you have this problem, you can receive treatment for it. If you have a very wide gap in between muscles, you can develop a hernia and/or have a lot of pain and may need to have surgery to bring those muscles back together.
There are still so many women’s issues that are not commonly talked about, but if you are experiencing anything that you don’t believe is normal, talk to your doctor about it and do your own research. Your doctor cannot read your mind, so know your body and have questions ready when you go to see them. If I had not researched and mentioned it to my doctor, I would probably not be receiving treatment for it right now. I would think that it was just another lovely side effect of having a baby!