When I became pregnant with Eli, I was over the moon, as is expected of any mom discovering she is pregnant with her firstborn. Honestly, I  had no idea what to expect; I read books, spoke with my mom, siblings, friends, and so on, but each experience is unique, so basically, it is just something you must go through. Diastasis Recti was the furthest thing from my mind.

Eli’s Birth

As with the others, my pregnancy with Eli was “normal.” I had lots of pelvic pain that required me to wear a pelvic belt, but thankfully, there was no morning sickness. My last day of work with Eli was the day before he was born. His delivery went well. I had the joys of experiencing contractions, and that is a whole different ball game. I remember wanting to try delivery sans epidural, but when the fiery pain started to run through my body, I had to change my mind.

My thought process was my mom did this five times; I could certainly do it. Yea that did not happen. Every pang of pain was felt by both myself and my hubby lol, poor guy was so sick, he was throwing up. Anyway, my mom told me I did not have to be a hero, just take the juice and I did. The doctor that administered the epidural was amazing, and after a few minutes, I was completely numb. Within a few hours, Master Eli Archer was with us.

Pregnant with Eli
Master Eli

My PostPartum Body

I never really researched the whole story about pregnancy and the aftereffects that I could expect on my body. I knew that yes, I might gain some weight, may have pelvic pain, varicose veins, back pain, but what about this muffin top that just lingered. Some women have the unique ability to snap back; it is like you see them extremely pregnant one day, and the next day, they are back to what they were before having the baby. I was very naïve where that was concerned. I thought I was 120lbs before I got pregnant, I was in great shape, and even though I went up to about 180lbs when I was pregnant with Eli, I thought I would have that “snap back.” 

Anyway, that was not the case, months were passing by, and there was no change; in fact, I looked pregnant still. I started exercising, and though I was losing weight, I was not losing my yummy tummy. Most people said I would never go back to what I used to be, and I could not accept that.

When I Found Out I Had Diastasis Recti

 Shortly after, I was pregnant with Anayah, and after having her, I started exercising and got the same results, the weight was gone, but my belly did not budge. After having the twins, I made a conscious effort to deal with my tummy. I joined a gym, and one day after classes, one of the members came up to me and mentioned that I might have diastasis recti. I had never heard of it before; she told me she had it and advised me what she did to address it. After speaking with her, I felt a little hope since her tummy was amazingly flat. Apparently, when I was exercising, I was hurting myself by doing crunches, sit-ups, and planks; those exercises only made the situation worse.

Diastasis Recti: A PostPartum Symptom No One Speaks About!
Photo Cred: momjunction.com

What is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis Recti (DR) is the separation of the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis), it is common during pregnancy; it occurs because as the uterus grows to accommodate your baby, the stomach muscles start to stretch. That stretching can lead to complete or partial separation of the abdominal muscles. I was the lucky recipient of complete separation and as a result I suffer severe bloating which translates to me looking about four months with child. 

Self-test for Diastasis Recti

You can determine if you have DR by performing a self-test.

  1. Lie on your back
  2. Bend your knees
  3. Raise your shoulders up slightly off the floor, look down at your belly
  4. Move your hand up and down your midline ab muscles, see if your fingers can fit in the gaps between your muscles
  5. The number of fingers that can fit in that gap determines the severity of your DR
Diastasis Recti: A PostPartum Symptom No One Speaks About!
Photo cred: mamamadestrong.com

Image showing how self test can be done

Diastasis Recti: A PostPartum Symptom No One Speaks About!
Photo cred: radyrahban.com

Image showing what the tummy looks like when you have DR

Diastasis Recti Can Affect Women, Men, and Children

When I lie on my back, my entire stomach collapses into my back. So, it’s safe to say I have it badly. I guess it started with Eli, and since having him and not knowing I even had DR, my condition got progressively worse during each pregnancy. DR isn’t just limited to pregnant women; it can result in babies, luckily it corrects itself. It can also result in men. DR can weaken your core, and as a result, you may need to wear a band for your tummy. I wear a waist trainer for support and to be able to wear clothing without the bulge. I managed to find a slew of information and exercises online, and I have recently started implementing them into my exercise routine. I plan to visit a pelvic floor specialist to get some professional help on strengthening my core and recovering from this situation.

Diastasis Recti: A PostPartum Symptom No One Speaks About!
Photo cred: https://www.pinterest.ca/agligorevi/

In Conclusion

I could have done things differently; had I been equipped with the knowledge I have now, but that ship has sailed and all I can do now is look ahead and repair what I can. It is embarrassing to be constantly asked if I am expecting or why do I still have a tummy, but I guess it goes with the territory. I do not get angry anymore, I just take the time to educate people on what I am experiencing, and I just remind myself of what it is that brought me here – 4 beautiful little beings.

Diastasis Recti: A PostPartum Symptom No One Speaks About!
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26 Replies to “Diastasis Recti: A PostPartum Side Effect No One Talks About!”

  1. That must be such a frustrating experience. It’s good of you to educate others so they can be better prepared and understand the situation. Also, I think it’s best never to ask women if they’re pregnant just because their belly looks bigger. Often it’s for a different reason.

    1. Lol, asking a woman if she is pregnant is beyond rude lolol. People have to get better at minding their own business.

    1. Thank you for reading and you are right. It is a different experience for everyone.

  2. I’d never even heard of diastasis recti so thanks for sharing this to make more people aware. It’s so lucky that the lady came up to you as you may have never realised you had it x

    1. Indeed I am happy she brought it to my attention. I was harming myself with some of the exercises that I was doing.

    1. Thank you. I never had morning sickness, but I had nausea for about four months straight when pregnant with the twins. I would have preferred to puke rather than feel like I wanted to, and nothing was coming.

  3. I didn’t learn about diastasis recti until one of my friends told me about it a year or two ago. Since then I’ve done so much research because I’m sure I have it.

    1. I am happy that you are aware. Most women have it postpartum, sounds are small and go unnoticed and then you have cases like mine where you look pregnant all the time.

  4. Thank you so much for bringing awareness and educating others about this topic. It must not have been the easiest journey for you, but I’m glad to hear that your working hard and moving forward.

  5. I am glad she was able to reach out to you and help you, it can be hard wanting to offer suggestions/advice to strangers. I didn’t know this was a thing either, so I learned something new reading this.

    1. Thank you for reading. It can be gamble approaching strangers with advice lol but I am generally receptive and I am happy she did.

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