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Diastasis Recti- Otherwise Known As The Big Hole In My Belly

Even a year after giving birth, I still have some battle wounds that are slow to heal.  One of them happens to be the hole in my belly.  While it was once so big I could put my WHOLE hand in there, it’s still around.

Basically Diastasis recti refers to a visible separation or gap between your left and right recti muscles. It is partly due to the hormones that surface during pregnancy, mainly relaxin.  It is also from carrying a large baby or (like in my case) multiple babies at once.

How It Happens

It is a normal occurrence that happens during pregnancy where the abdominal walls get stretched and pushed apart as your baby grows. Relaxin causes the abdominal muscles to expand sideways leading to diastasis recti. The two halves of the rectus abdominus separate, a normal tendency during pregnancy. Multiple births and repeated pregnancies aggravate the condition. If this is your first pregnancy the separation is not obvious at all. With subsequent pregnancies the separation gains prominence. Exercises can strengthen these muscles but the bulge or gap will not totally disappear.

My Belly

As you all know I was stretched to the max during pregnancy with my big twins, so I was not surprised that after giving birth I noticed a huge hole in my belly. Since I am usually looking in the mirror standing up I was getting so excited to see that my pouch was shrinking.  Then, the other night in bed I reached down to grab a blanket and my stomach caved in like a sinkhole.  Being the crazy person that I am, I had to immediately take a picture to share since I am sure other moms have had this happen too.

I haven’t done any stomach work since my kids were born so that may be why it’s still around, to be honest I really don’t care.  The only one who sees it is my husband and I laugh and try to gross him out with it (yup that’s fun when you are married with three kids LOL).

If you have had this too please feel free to share your experience in the comments section.

In the meantime I am going to try to figure out clever uses for my little cave.  Maybe I could invent a new type of jewellery, postpartum belly bling, or maybe I could just use it to store my spare key 😉

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About Shannon

I am a university educated full-time working mother of four children. Proudly Canadian, I freeze my butt off along with my loving partner, two dogs and a cat. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them, but if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.


33 thoughts on “Diastasis Recti- Otherwise Known As The Big Hole In My Belly

  1. Spare key or jelly beans.

    Posted by mumziemadness | February 5, 2014, 8:58 am
  2. I think it is like a battle scar, and that is awesome and powerful. YOu should get it a cape…it can be a super hero! If I had that (or if I ever get that) I am totally going to use it to gross my husband out too!

    Posted by Surprise Mama | February 5, 2014, 12:36 pm
  3. Boo for diastasis recti! I definitely have it after carrying my twins. I also had a small umbilical hernia–have you made sure you don’t have one of those, too? The surgeon who repaired my hernia said my diastasis wasn’t severe enough to warrant a surgical repair…insurance companies see fixing DR as a cosmetic repair, but *some* surgeons will fix it while they are fixing your hernia because a hernia repair is covered by the insurance and they can just “throw in” the extra repairs! I have used the Tupler splint and all kinds of the Tupler exercises to help my DR without huge results…it’s not a fun after-effect from pregnancy! If you come up with a creative way to make it useful, I’d love to hear it! 🙂

    Posted by livinginthedeepend | February 5, 2014, 3:15 pm
  4. Mine is less than a finger tip wide and consistently (at least in my imagination) getting smaller with running (which strengthens the core). My best friend delivered her twins at 36+ weeks. They are 2 now and she still has a significant DR. She has an umbilical hernia as well. Originally her doctor suggested not doing anything until she was done having kids but since it’s been 2 years and she’s not planning any for 2-3 more years, he wants her to have it surgically fixed.

    Posted by Heather C | February 5, 2014, 6:30 pm
    • I never even thought of surgery since I think I have an umbilical hernia too until one of the other moms mentioned it. It’s not causing me anyththing other than cosmetic problems right now so I am in no rush. I just thought it’d be gone by now!

      Posted by Shannon | February 5, 2014, 6:38 pm
      • She didn’t think it was either. She already seeing a chiropractor regularly and recently had to start seeing a specialist of some sort because of high bilirubin levels. He mentioned that it can throw off your whole systems flow and likely could be contributing to her overall subtle issues. Everything from constipation to hormonal imbalances are symptoms. He advised the only reason for waiting is if you are planning on having more kids right away. Something to research for sure 🙂

        Posted by Heather C | February 6, 2014, 7:46 am
      • Yeah. I haven’t seen a doctor since the girls were born so I guess maybe I should get it checked out sometime. Thanks for letting me know.

        Posted by Shannon | February 6, 2014, 3:50 pm
  5. I also have Diastasis Recti (going on two years after my twins’ birth), but I’ve known about it since I gave birth. The nurses first said I had a hernia but it wasn’t until my doctor was pushing my belly around and basically stuck his fist in the hole that I knew exactly what was going on. I have a five inch separation between my muscles, but it does make for a good party trick if the occasion should ever present itself. If you stand up and lean back (like you’re doing a Neo from The Matrix) your stomach will actually bulge out in a peak. Yup…fun stuff… I was told that no mater what I did to exercise the muscles, the only thing to resolve the situation and to gain back a bellybutton is to have plastic surgery.

    Posted by nebrtwin | February 6, 2014, 4:51 am
  6. I love that you share pics of your belly! It took me so much time to accept my wrinkly belly. Four years later and I’m finally OK with it. I have a little bit of a gap around my belly button. :0)

    Posted by Olivia FitzGerald | February 6, 2014, 5:41 am
    • Sometimes I get pretty mean comments but who cares. This is life. 🙂 always be true to yourself. Cheers.

      Posted by Shannon | February 6, 2014, 3:49 pm
      • Mean comments! That is ridiculous! Sharing pics of your tummy is great – other mums can see it’s OK to have a little wrinkly tummy after carrying big babies. I certainly appreciate it.It brought me great comfort to see that a wrinkly tummy is normal and nothing to get hung up about. Have you see A beautiful body project by the photographer Jade Beall? The images are fabulous!

        Posted by Olivia FitzGerald | February 7, 2014, 5:01 am
  7. I have one of those too. Actually I’m not sure I know a twin mom who doesn’t at least at first. Mine was 3 fingers wide and between running and some ab exercises its currently down to one finger but definitely still present. I’m not sure if it’ll ever fully fix itself….

    Posted by Theresa | February 6, 2014, 1:14 pm
    • Yeah, that’s what I am realizing. While it was huge, it’s still pretty big. The joys of being a twin mom 🙂

      Posted by Shannon | February 6, 2014, 3:54 pm
    • I had twins and didn’t have one (or if I did it was so small I never noticed), but my sister who had two single big babies had a pretty substantial one. Hers got smaller, but it never went away and she had it fixed (she also had an umbilical hernia too).

      Posted by domesticmission | February 6, 2014, 3:57 pm
      • Thanks! Everyone keeps saying you have to get it fixed in the end. My son was 9.5lbs and I didn’t get it (and I am a very small person) but the twins were 14lbs combined, plus the placentas and stuff so it put me over. Since I am small my belly went straight out (you can see it in my pics). I don’t mind, but I never thought it could be a problem so I am going to look into it. Thanks for reading.

        Posted by Shannon | February 6, 2014, 4:00 pm
  8. I still have slight separation 17months on. I can fit two fingers side by side in the gap. It hasn’t really changed over the last year. I’m so wondering if it ever will. :/

    Posted by journey2dfuture | February 6, 2014, 2:27 pm
  9. Yep, I’ve got it too! Started around 3 fingers and now it’s around two, I think. I started sort of doing the MuTu system to strengthen my core, back in November, and I think it’s helped. (Though I haven’t done the program fully for a long time; I’m sort of treading water.) And for the record, one finger is considered ‘closed’.

    Posted by Julie | February 11, 2014, 3:17 am
  10. Just stumbled on your blog and his post, I have a DR too after two big boys. There is a fantastic system for healing it called MuTu, google it, it’s a 12 week programme with great support and great results. Few DR cases truly warrant surgery and lots of the girls on MuTu close big gaps quite quickly. I’m down to 2 finger width gap after only 3 weeks – started at 4 fingers. My posture/alignment is improved already and my core is much stronger. I sound like an infomercial but I don’t work for MuTu, I’m just evangelical about the programme x

    Posted by Masquerading as a Goddess | April 8, 2014, 7:20 pm
    • Thanks! To be honest I don’t really care lol! Maybe that was the right approach because it seems to be going away on its own. I am still going to check it out though 😉 thanks for reading.

      Posted by Shannon | April 8, 2014, 8:02 pm
  11. It seems most if not all that have commented are female. As a male, I have to give my perspective. The female body is beautiful at any time. As we progress through life, it can change. Child birth can it seems can bring about dramatic changes. The tummy may be left looking different than it did before the pregnancy. That does NOT mean it is any less beautiful or that the lady is any less beautiful. It has taken on a different shape is all.
    Now I know this is easier say than to do as we all seem to have an image in our minds of how a tummy “should” look and that is just wrong on so many levels.
    Ladies I say carry those tummies with pride. Try to look at that tummy as a badge of honour saying “yes my tummy looks different than it did before. I did something miraculous to get this tummy, I gave birth.” There can be nothing more special than that

    Posted by Bill Howdle | August 25, 2014, 12:37 pm
    • Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. I think everything you said is true and ironically I think as women we judge each other and ourselves much harsher than men do. Your comment really made me smile so thanks for that. Have a great day.

      Posted by Shannon | August 26, 2014, 7:36 am
  12. I have a pretty large DR. Don’t know how to measure it. I’ve had 4 children between 8-9 pounds, with the youngest being 27! I got the diagnosis just last year. I have pretty severe back problems and Fibromyalgia. I’m wondering if there’s any way to correct mine without surgery. If my core were strengthened, it sure would help my back.

    Posted by Claire McGaughey | January 26, 2015, 5:57 pm
    • I work out three times a week and i still have it. After 14lbs of babies (plus two placentas etc.) Its a given i guess. Really it doesn’t bother me at all, its just more of a sideshow attraction lol. I hope you feel better soon and congratulations on four children. That’s so great.

      Posted by Shannon | January 26, 2015, 6:48 pm

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