This is a series on my experience with surgery to repair diastasis recti while breastfeeding.
I’m not sure where to begin. You see, I started this blog to share tips, recipes, tricks, and things to help make life easier. But sometimes it dawns on me that I have this personal space on the internet, and I can make it totally my own. I guess that’s where I am today. This is part of my real life. I’m going to be blogging a series on diastasis recti and my surgery to repair it along with two hernias, all while having a six-month-old breastfeeding daughter. I promised to be real with you from the start, and this is real life for me.
What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis recti is a separation between the left and right side of the rectus abdominis muscle, which covers the front surface of the belly area…
In pregnant women, increased tension on the abdominal wall may lead to diastasis recti. Multiple births or repeated pregnancies increase the risk.
A diastasis recti looks like a ridge, which runs down the middle of the belly area. It stretches from the bottom of the breastbone to the belly button, and increases with muscle straining.
Diastasis recti is commonly seen in women who have multiple pregnancies, because the muscles have been stretched many times. Extra skin and soft tissue in the front of the abdominal wall may be the only signs of this condition in early pregnancy. In the later part of pregnancy, the top of the pregnant uterus is often seen bulging out of the abdominal wall. An outline of parts of the unborn baby may be seen in some severe cases.
The short answer: pregnancy made my stomach muscles split, resulting in extra saggy skin, stretch marks, and eventually, two hernias in my belly button.
Diastasis recti affects many people, mostly mothers from my rough knowledge. In less than seven years, I’ve carried and birthed three amazing boys and a precious, amazing girl in this here tummy. Suffice it to say, my stomach, which wasn’t very strong to begin with, has really had a time with it.
Your stomach muscles are used in pretty much any activity you can think of! I find it puzzling that the mainstream thinking regarding this separation of stomach muscles would be to leave it untreated. This separation of muscles contributed to intense back and neck pain, in my personal experience, as well as stomach muscle weakness. I had the distinct inability to display proper posture…think about it, you need your stomach muscles to hold yourself up! Thus begins a sort of downward spiral of overcompensating with the wrong muscles, like I said, leading to sometimes intense pain and later, hernias.
If someone dealing with diastasis recti wants to get it treated, they have a few options, thankfully. A tummy tuck is one option, diastasis recti surgery to repair the separation is another (and the one I ultimately chose), and there is also something called the Tupler Technique. (You can read more about the Tupler Technique here.)
The Tupler Technique, being a natural and much less invasive process, would have been my first choice. I even ordered the video and equipment. However, since my diastasis recti included two(!) umbilical hernias, while it might have with time repaired the separation, the hernias would have been found wanting. They were starting to get painful too. So, while I ultimately chose surgery, I would highly recommend this avenue for people who don’t have accompanying hernias.
I’ll also be honest: I didn’t think much of my ability to keep up with the exercises faithfully for months on end!
Why Share My Experience?
For several reasons. One, because I find writing therapeutic and I know that logging the events and my feelings will help me emotionally in the recovery. But also for you.
When we decided to go ahead with the diastasis recti surgery, I had more than a few unanswered questions. Unsurprisingly, I looked to the internet to answer those questions, but was met with little. A lot of people who repair their DR end up getting a tummy tuck or mommy makeover. While I would have loved to have the aesthetic benefits of a cosmetic surgery, that’s not what I was encountering. I decided, due to the lack of information I found, I would go ahead and share a log of events surrounding the surgery.
I know I’m not alone out there. Many mothers silently deal with this separation of the rectus abdominus, and are left wondering what to do and how to deal. I’ve always found comfort in hearing from others who are dealing with the same issues I’m dealing with. I hope someone can find comfort here. Please check back for updates to the series (my first), and please leave a comment and let me know your situation or story.
Here’s to repaired tummies! And life as we know it.
Read on for Pre-Operation.
33 thoughts on “Diastasis Recti Surgery Series – Introduction”
Thanks for writing this. I have diastasis recti after 2 pregnancies. I'm trying to heal it naturally doing the exercises and splinting, but it is slow going. I was wondering if I would eventually need surgery. How was your recovery?
Hi Angela – that’s great that you are healing naturally! Bravo to you. You can read more about my recovery in the later posts in the series. In March it will be a year since the surgery and I’ll write up a post detailing life after my surgery. Check back! And thanks for stopping by. 🙂
I am not Christian but I love your blog and journey. Thank you for posting.
Amy, thank you for your wonderful comment; it made my day. So happy to have you here, and hope my journey can help you in some way. <3 <3 <3
Hi – I had diastasis recti after my 2nd pregnancy – my gynecologist repaired with stitched during my c-section – no saggy skin – strong stomach muscles – however he did mention I may not fall pregnant again as it will rupture again…so maybe you need to consider the OP if you feel its necessary….good luck!!
I am a yoga teacher and was diagnosed with navel hernia following the birth of my second daughter some 2 years ago, although I was never referred to physio and was told it would just go away in time. I did lots of exercises (albeit in hindsight, probably not a good idea to do ab crunches!), to try and resolve my recti diastasis, but to no avail. I was wondering how your surgery went as I am contemplating doing this now, although the very thought of doing it fills me with dread and would make me question why I opted for natural birth, when an elective c-section could have fixed the problem!
Hi Natalie! Glad to hear from you! I am so sorry to hear about your diastasis. You can read more of my story by clicking the links at the bottom of the Diastasis Recti Surgery Series, each post should link to the next. Also, I have updated recently now that it’s been a year. You can read that update here: https://lovelovething.com/diastasis-recti-surgery-update-one-year-later/
I also wrote a little ebook going into more detail and you can see if that interests you here: https://lovelovething.com/belly-lovin/
I hope you can get your separation resolved. I understand your dread – I had the same dread too… but I am glad that my tummy is not separated anymore. Hugs!! Let me know if you decide to go through with it! xoxo, Danielle
Hello Dandy, thanks for sharing. I also suffer from a DR and I was very sad for my doctors have not mention it at all.Surprized about even after losing all the prego fat still have a prego tummy after meals etc.. To get worst the exercises I did to get my body back were all wrong .I got to know more about my condition last year and I got all the Tuppler materials and started to do it ,however I cannot use the splint 24 7 because I feel pain ,with this I wasn't successful. Now I'm thinking in fix it with surgery but I'm not sure my health plan would cover anything.
Hi Daniela, I know exactly how you feel. Hang in there! What I had to do was make a preliminary appointment with my doctor, and then she helped me to know whether my insurance would cover it. Is that something you would be able to do? I hope you are feeling well; I know how DR feels and how badly I wanted mine fixed. Hope you can get something done about it soon. <3 xoxo
Omg I am so glad I found your blog on DR! I have 3 kids all C sections with a huge age gap between all of them 16, 11 and 2. I knew I had DR after my first 2 as they were both 11 pounders and when I had my last child It really stood out!
I lost 75 pounds and I wanted a tummy tuck to get rid of the left over hanging skin and to resolve the DR , so I just had my Surgery July 9, 2014.
My plastic surgeon said it was the worst DR that he has ever seen 5cm and my abdominal tissue was so thin that he had to put triple the amount of stiches that he normally uses as the tissues would barely hold together.
I find the pain not so bad I just feel really heavy and tight in my tummy area and I have taken the binder off for 5 mins or so and walked to the bathroom to wash up and that was the worst feeling ever, is this normal?
Question; is the recovery for a DT the same as a tummy tuck 6 weeks or do we have to be extra careful?
Thank you so much for posting about your experience with DT
Hi Brandi! I’m so glad you stopped by! Eleven pounders, seriously? Go YOU!!! 🙂
I felt pretty awful after the surgery. I felt bad for months. I think it is normal. My doctor said 6 weeks recovery, but it wasn’t that quick for me. Be sure to give yourself time to rest and heal. 🙂 It will be worth it.
I hope you feel better soon!!!
Brandi, can you explain further why you did not do a tummy tuck? Even if you did not have excess skin, is it the incision for a tummy tuck similar, but in a more easily hidden location? Also, my understanding is that s TT can also fix disastasis recti, snd a hernia could also be repaired at the same time. I realize that a TT is not covered by insurance. Was you DR surgery covered (conducted by s general surgeon)? Thank you
I also suffer from this after 2 pregnancies-I’ve lost and gained weight but always look pregnant and I hate it!!! I cannot get insurance to cover it and I can’t afford the procedure to fix it.I wish I had my old body back cause I have alote of discomfort with my stomach issues.Im happy for you but sad for me and any other women who is suffering with this as well.
I am so sorry Mari. I really don’t understand why this is not covered by insurance more often. It makes no sense to me. There are exercises you can do to help close the gap. Maybe that would help? I couldn’t manage to keep up with them myself. <3
I’m debating doing the same as you and getting a DR surgery, however I have one umbilical hernia versus two. Any tips before or after surgery?
Hi Hilda, thanks for stopping by. Make sure you have someone lined up to help you as you will not be able to do much for at least a week. Maybe do some meal prep or print out instructions to make things easier. Get lots of pillows so you can make yourself comfy while you are recovering. <3 Read the rest of the series and you might find some tips I've forgotten. Best wishes on your surgery!! <3
Hi,I had a hernia problem and that ended with surgery. Considering that I am satisfied with the service, professionalism and especially the care of recovery, I would like to continue recommendations. Quality repair is essence of good recovery and please educate yourself,this article is perfect example thanks for sharing your experience ,God bless you.