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Belly still swollen 4 and a half months postpartum (Jill)

January 19, 2010

Age 34

Hi. My name is Jill and I am so glad I found this website. I gave birth July 24th to a 9 lb. 22 inch healthy baby boy via c-section. It was so hard that I am totally afraid to have another. I probably wont because of my age and because Im terrified to go through it again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my child and would never give him up… infact, I am slowly forgetting the pain. I am and has always been an exercise freak. I exercise about 5 times a week both cardio and weightlifting. As you can see in my pics though, my belly looks just the same as it did when I was about 5 months Prego. I did learn through this site about the problem that occurs when your stomach muscles separate and your belly pushes through. I really think I have this because I have lost all but 4 pounds of my weight but my belly is still like this… Yuck I hate it and am so self conscious over my body. I used to surf a lot and wear bathing suits at the beach but since then, I use a romper over my suit and never go in the water if there are more than 2 people at the beach, which includes myself and my baby! Has anyone gone through what I am and slowly lost their stomach? Will mine ever go flat? I have very minimal stretch marks considering how large my belly got. Please someone help…. I consider myself depressed…..

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24 Responses to “Belly still swollen 4 and a half months postpartum (Jill)”

  1. paula Says:
    January 19th, 2010 at 10:17 am

    diastasis recti (abdominal wall separation) google it and look for transverse abdominus exercises. its simple to close. don’t let anyone say you have to close it with surgery. just exercise them religiously and you will notice your stomach getting flatter.

  2. shannon Says:
    January 19th, 2010 at 10:45 am

    All I can say is you look great!!!! Talk to your doctor about the swelling to be sure it isn’t gall stones, or something else serious…even get a second opinion to be safe. If it is just from separation then you can do exercises to help that…google it, also ask a personal trainer for advice/or even a physical therapist. All that being said you look toned! I can see your abs, and i LOVE that pregnant picture!!!!

  3. Mary Says:
    January 19th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I love the fishing picture! Keep an eye on the muscle separation, just in case it herniates. You do look amazing, your skin is beautiful!

  4. kat Says:
    January 19th, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    I agree with all the other ladies. Pilates works wonders if it is nothing other than simple muscle separation. And check out those legs in the pregnant pic! Your body is awesome!

  5. Amy Says:
    January 19th, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Yes! i was in pretty much the same boat as you- my stomach is now flat- you have to do transverse abdominal exercises. I followed Julie Tupler’s advice (just google her name). It is very time consuming but it is possible. in the meantime- do not do situps or crunches they make it worse. You also might have a true hernia above your navel (not sure, maybe it’s just the lighting in the photo). If it’s a true hernia it will need to be surgically repaired, preferably prior to getting pregnant again as the next pregnancy will just make the diastasis recti and the hernia worse and harder to fix. also re: your diastasis, i think you are like i was, not only is there a separation of the muscles, but i think you’ll find that your muscles have just been really really stretched out, this will take longer to heal (also by doing transverse exercises) than the separation itself- it’s very common in women who were very fit and slender prior to pregnancy. if you did lots of situps prior to pregnancy it’s possible you already had a slight diastasis and the pregnancy made it worse.i really feel for you, you can do it though, it just takes time and consistency.

  6. Sarah Says:
    January 19th, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    I was about to say, it looks like an abdominal wall separation. Like the first poster said, exercise them like crazy. Don’t turn to surgery first (which always comes with risks). If that’s the last thing, then go for it. :)

    As far as how you look physically, I’d love to have your body. My stomach is flat (no separation), but my butt and thighs have a lot of cellulite and my breasts are flat. If I had your body, I’d walk around confidently in that bikini! You have such beautiful skin that you are so blessed to have. I was brave enough to wear a bikini without bottoms last summer at least on two occasions. Now, if I can do that (which was very scary for me… I didn’t even like my body BEFORE the cellulite), then I think you can show off your smokin’ little body, full breasts, and taut bottom in a bikini.

    I wish you luck!! :)

  7. Sarah Says:
    January 19th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    One more thing I meant to say– I’m 25 and a healthy weight –lighter than pregnancy like you. I also had a very difficult delivery that almost turned to a Cesarean. I’m scared to have another baby, but I want another baby… it’s kind of a scary internal struggle. I read somewhere that delivery the second time around is easier. Even if you have a Cesarean twice in a row, you can plan it, so it isn’t emergency and scary, and you usually heal a lot faster. So if you want another baby, don’t let it start you. Besides, you are YOUNG! Don’t you know that 30′s the new 20, 40′s the new 30, etc? With modern technology and medicine, you should have a healthy delivery.

  8. TracyKM Says:
    January 20th, 2010 at 8:25 am

    I don’t have diastasis, but just a fat belly. When I’m wearing something (like a bathing suit) that makes me look pregnant, I just pretend that I am (if I’m around strangers, LOL). Who cares what others think? If they’re that shallow, that’s their problem, not yours. And if they’re that shallow and family–it’s still their problem, not yours :)
    What’s wrong with your age?! And every pregnancy and birth is different. There is absolutely no reason to assume you’d have to have a difficult surgery/delivery again. Maybe you’d be a candidate for VBAC. Don’t let one experience stop you—delivery is a short period of your life…children will be there MUCH longer!

  9. BeFit-Mom Says:
    January 20th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Many women, both with and without diastasis end up with overly round, protruding abdomens.

    To flatten your abs, you need to first build strength in your Transverse Abdominis, or TvA, then train the muscle to function properly as a stabilizer.

    More info on diastasis recti can be found at:
    http://www.befitmom.com/abdominal_separation.html

    More info on abdominal rehab after pregnancy can be found at: http://befitmom.com/abdominal_reconditioning.html

  10. mel Says:
    January 20th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I understand i have had 2nd section, now at 2 yrs postpartum. My tummy was swollen for months and after doctors not understanding and stating do more exercise i flipped on my GP last year. After scan and blood tests doctor agreed i need to to see a physio. Been going since last sept, have split abs about 2 finger gap mainly at belly button area. But my physio is disgusted at midwifes and doc attitude to diastasis recti. I am a uk size 10 but because of my small frame my tummy looks pregnant 5 mnths but working at it. My advice is get physio asap as longer you leave it more damage is done to the muscles. Good luck….

  11. Susy Says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Hun my belly looks like yours. I’m over a year pospartum and definately had muscle separation. It gets better with time and the exercises defintaely help. I should be more religious with them because it’s good for your back, etc too. But I know it’s tough with a babe. Just do your best mama!

  12. Amber Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Don’t fret, it took me several months postpartum to get my flat tummy back – nursing helped a lot since it really tightened those muscles all up for me personally, but I never had to do a single situp – just hang in there and give yourself time. It took 9 months to get that way, it’s going to take some time to get back to normal – kinda like a breakup :)

  13. Ash Says:
    May 27th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I completely empathise. I am 30 and always had a flat stomach. UK size 10 on top, 12 on bottom. I love to be active, love running and jumping over fences. I know how depressing it can be. especially when people ask me when i am due.

    I am now 9 months post partum and I had a 10cm diastisis after a normal delivery. Mine was due to being pregnant and undiagnosed coeliac at the same time, Hence i was very ill and very bloated until my baby was 5 months.

    I have incredible back, hip and leg pain as a result, which makes life difficult and I have done pilates with no success.

    Now I have 1 finger width of a gap, although I still look pregnant.
    Things that have helped me are:
    letting baby crawl after me rather than lift her
    changing baby on the floor
    swimming
    cycling
    tupler exercises
    putting baby in a stroller instead of a carrier
    asking hubby to hoover

    I have now ordered an abdominal splint to see if I can close the gap completely before trying for #2.

    hang on in there!

  14. Melissa Says:
    June 9th, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Hello! Like some other ladies mentioned, you looked amazing in that picture of you fishing. I was not in shape at all when I got pregnant with my son at 36. I had a normal pregnancy but I had to have an emergency C-Section because the baby went into distress. Because of my age I decided that I was not going to have any more children, well God had other plans and when my beautiful baby boy was 5 months I got pregnant again. And now I have a gorgeous almost 3 month old baby girl born by C-Section. Being pregnant for 2 years left me with a sagging belly when I look at myself in the mirror I just shake my head in disbelieve. I’m giving myself 9 months to get into really good shape. You should do the same. Some women are
    blessed and they go back to normal very quickly, good for them. I live in south florida were is very very hot and I have been walking 3 miles every day and my belly is going down. Do lots of cardio, give yourself some more time and you will get there. Also you are still young to not have any more babies. I was also super scared of a 2nd C-Section but I recovered so much quicker. In two days I was walking around normal, hardly any pain. The first one I was walking like an old lady for at least two weeks. A lot of people told me the 2nd C-Section would be much better and they were right. Good Luck!! =)

  15. Zoe Says:
    August 3rd, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I have just had my second C-section. My first daugther was stillborn two days before her due date, so I opted for the c-section as I was not physically, and more so, mentally ready for a natural delivery. I was bent at the waist and walking like an old lady for 2 weeks last time round, and was absolutely terrified of pain with baby number two (remembering how bad it was the first time) When I found out I was preggers with my second daugther I was mortified / pertrified. How can I do another 9 months and maybe the same end result? Was I ready mentally? Could I do it?

    My daugther is now 15 weeks old, healthy and happy! I have to say – I heard alot of people say that the second c-section is worse than the first, but in my case it was much better. I lost a lot of blood as it would not clot, so was given a little extra time in the bed (as I blacked out when I tried to stand) but once I was up, I was up and it wasn’t that sore. I even stopped taking the pain pills the day I left the hospital (day 4)

    I too have the unsightly bulge… I have always been a size 8 / 32 even after the loss of Emma I managed to lose 23kgs in 4 weeks, with no yucky tummy. Now I am putting that down to stress / anxiety. I put on the same weight this time round, another 23kgs and lost 13kgs in the first week (was really impressed at this – mostly water tho) but have ground to a halt. The last 10 wont come off and it is all mainly in my tummy area and i hate it. My little girl is almost 4 months old and I look like I am having another little one… I’m googling diastasis NOW! I exercise and am eating healthy as not to affect the flow of the food for Layla! Glad to see it isn’t just me (sorry ladies)!

  16. Mandolin Says:
    August 31st, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Hi
    I have a 10 month old baby girl born via emergency C section. I am 38 years old and she is my first child. I gained about 80 pounds during my pregnancy and was not in the best shape when I got pregnant. I had liposuction to remove the hanging, horrible fat I had on my lower abdomen. However, my upper abdomen obviously has this diastasis. I saw and felt it prior to the lipo but now it is really noticeable and super hard. I look about 5 or even 6 months pregnant.
    My obgyn had advised me to do crunches but I didn’t do many. I understand now that this can worsen the condition.
    The hard, distended upper belly just feels wrong and I am so miserable because of it. I do not want to have a tummy tuck because it is so extreme and I may possibly have one more
    child. I guess I’m writing more to commiserate and seek advice too. I want a flat tummy and do not want to do anything to increase this bulge that makes wearing clothing so depressing, even after lipo.

  17. Elouise Says:
    October 22nd, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I am encouraged now! I gave birth 4days ago by C section. 4th c section. My 1st and 2nd was 10 and 8 yrs ago and the 3rd was 2yrs ago. I had a swollen tummy for at least a year after the 3rd but this time, well, it is only 4days ago, but I am very swollen and sure that it is diastasis recti. I am very eager to get to read more on the advice given on this page. Thank you!

  18. nat Says:
    February 27th, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I gave birth to my son 15months ago but still look at least 5 months pregnant!! Friends and family tell me they don’t think its too bad but strangers or visitors to my place of work ask if I’m pregnant. Someone the other day asked why my stomachs so big? I’m fed up with the comments. I have taken up regular fitness classes but nothing helps. Going to visit the doctors but worried they’ll tell me to just excercise more, I don’t think its fat tho, sure its muscular because its hard and protrudes from under my breasts as if I’m pregnant!

  19. lisap Says:
    July 27th, 2012 at 1:19 am

    It sounds like there are a few of us poor sufferers out there! I had my girl 15 months ago, and have done pilates, 121 personal training and erin obrien postnatal dvd in an attempt to get rid of my tummy. To no avail. I have got fit toned and lost weight everywhere, but I still look 5 months preggers. From a previous size 8, I now have to wear size 12 waist trousers which look too big everywhere else.
    has anyone had surgery for this problem with good after results? I am seriously thinking about it as I feel so unhappy with how I look but I note the lipo story above, not offering the results you hoped for.

  20. Nicola Williams Says:
    August 1st, 2012 at 4:04 am

    Hi Jill,

    Well I am also suffering from the same problem. All other body part look normal only it looks like I am pregnant all over again. I too am looking for a solution besides surgery to fight this odd/creepy looking stomach. Infact my stomach looks alot more bigger after having my second child.

    If you do get any remedies for the same let me know.

    Thanks,

    Nicola Williams

  21. sonya Says:
    October 4th, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Hi. I had ripped stomach muscles after I gave birth to my 2nd child and just has surgery to fix them 3 1/2 months ago and am still having a lot of upper swelling. and it’s pretty painful. somedays it’s not to bad others like today I can’t lay down even. besides for possible fluid trapped. does anyone know what I may need to be doing or doing wrong for why I am so badly swollen still?

  22. Chantel Says:
    December 5th, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I I am having the same prob … I had my daughter July 20 and I was exersising and and eating well and I have gained 30 pounds ! And my belly is sooooooo hard and big that people ask me how far I am ! I am so upset…. I also have been only breast feeding … anyone have any tips for me as well ??

  23. Nicky Says:
    December 17th, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I have this 15 months after having my son, my muscles parted by a 4 finger width and now it’s down to 2 finger width. Physio told me it can be a slow progress, but with exercise it should eventually go down x

  24. Charlene Says:
    March 9th, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    I have the same problem. I had twins 4 months ago via c-section and I have a massive belly. I feel depressed going back to work, so I got a girdle and a belly band however both make me feel chunkier. I am still breastfeeding si I cant diet as I would like. I am exercising but not as rigorously as before as time is always against me. Its very demanding caring for both babies; juggling work and taking care of the house. I hats this big belly, so not sexy

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