Diastatis Recti (Katie)

Hi Mums,

I am 30 years old and mother to an 8-month daughter. Her name is Maja.

I used to be a fitness maniac before pregnancy, which you can surely see in my photo ‘before’. I used to be on the skinny side, but during pregnancy I gained 50 lbs and I was huge. People frequently asked me if I was carrying twins. Well, I wasn’t, and my baby wasn’t that big, with just 8 lbs.

Unfortunately, in late pregnancy I developed two miserable conditions, one of them was PUPPP (which made me suicidal) and the other one was diastasis recti. The diastasis recti brought along some stretchmarks around my belly button. These stretchmarks have cured fairly well, now they look like thin white or grayish lines, but when I sit down, my stomach is wrinkled. You can see them in one of the pics.

My belly button is deformed b/c of the diastasis recti. I have recently seen a surgeon and been told that I had a slight hernia and ought to undergo a surgery (a mesh implant). The diastasis recti gives me the funny pot belly which you can see in the pictures. I still look like 5 months pregnant. The trouble is, I will have to wait with the surgery until I’m done with having babies.

And I am still not sure if I want another one… It’s not about the body, I believe exercise can do wonders. What troubles me is PUPPP… Perhaps you have heard of it? Just after I gave birth (10 hours in labor), the itching was so bad that I didn’t even feel any pain. My mother had to move in and look after my baby, because I wasn’t able to sleep, I was restless and a nervous wreck. I even went back to hospital and told them to do ‘something’ or I would kill myself. It usually disappears after labor, mine was only getting worse and worse! I had it for six painful weeks and if it ever comes back… I think I can’t take it any more! Unfortunately I deleted all photos with my PUPPP, b/c looking at them made me itch!

8 months postpartum I lost almost all the extra lbs, with only 5 left. But as you can see, the body is not the same. No time for exercise! I hope this will change over time. And I am still thinking about the DR surgery. It would surely make my pot belly disappear.

I didn’t take any pics of my boobs because they haven’t changed a bit. They were two sizes bigger when I breastfed and now they are back to the original size and shape.

Anyway, Maja is the best thing that’s ever happened in my life!

46 thoughts on “Diastatis Recti (Katie)

  • Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    hah! I know every woman feels differently about their own body but I wish I looked like you PP. I’m almost 11months PP and I look like a disaster. <3 I’d give it some time because I can’t honestly say you look pregnant or that you have a pot belly.

    Best of luck, and whatever decision you make will be the right one for you. Don’t let anyone interfere with making that decision.

  • Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    During my first pregnancy I also had PUPPS.
    It was bad. My doctor put me on steroids to help with the itching.
    I am due to have my second baby in May and so far the PUPPS havent returnedand I am hoping they won’t.
    My son was just so worth it.
    Sometimes pregnancy is just so hard.

  • Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Hey! Just wanted to comment on the PUPP. I had it with my first pregnancy…it was awful! I was covered from my neck down. The itching was so bad my midwife put me on steroids and sleeping pills. The good news…Everything have read and experienced says that it is similar to chicken pox…once you get it you are done. I have since had 2 other children and no sign of the dreaded PUPP! Hope this encourages you! You look fantastic by the way!!

  • Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    wow, your kid is amazingly beautiful…and you dont look bad at all!

  • Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    You look amazing!!! Five months pregnant? Not at all. Gorgeous and perfect, and I never would have known you’d had a diastatis recti. I’d still wear a bikini, proudly, if I were you!

  • Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    wow im glad to finally see somebody with the same problem i have, i had four finger seperation of the rsctus mucldes after my daughter, my belly button has never been the same, its so wrinkly and doasnt even resemble a belly button, now pregnant with my 2nd, it popped out straight away and im afraid its herniated, it looks horrible. i thought i was the only one hahaha..u look awesome by the way!

  • Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 6:45 am

    You look amazing! You should feel blessed to have carried an 8 pound baby and look that amazing! Go mama!

    BTW you look nothing like 5 months pregnant and I see no pot belly there.

  • Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 11:19 am

    You look great, and def NO pot belly!

  • Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    I think that you look great, before and after!! I can tell you that as an O.R. nurse, don’t let any Dr. put mesh in your belly!! Any mesh we see in the O.R. is being removed, not put in. Good Luck!

  • Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    I read here that you shouldn’t worry about having a bad time with PUPP the second time. It says its uncommon to have it repeat in future pregnancies. And if it does repeat, its usually a milder case.

  • Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    It is nice to see someone with the same problem I have, although you look WAY better than I do! I still look 6 months pregnant, according to the doctor that diagnosed my umbilical hernia. I had my fourth baby 10 months ago and have lost all but 10 pounds. I also was really fit, had about a 22 inch waist before kids and can’t seem to adjust to my new body this time around. Since we’re done having kids, I’m considering a tummy tuck with the hernia surgery if I’m brave enough to go through the recovery!! You are not alone in this, somehow knowing that can help us feel better. By the way, I wish I looked like you also, you really do look fantastic!

  • Friday, March 27, 2009 at 2:04 am

    hey i am 16 and i have a beautifull baby girl she will be 6months in just under 2wks i had a grt toned body bfor i got preg now its saggy its horrid :( i walk everywer but its still not shifftin i had a emergancy c.secion :( i gained over 4st which is not gd can any1 help me plz by the way u are all gawjuss u look great xxx

  • Friday, March 27, 2009 at 3:35 am

    Thanks a lot girls, you have no idea how much you’ve done to boost my self-esteem :)

    And a question to Christy – can you please tell me more? Why do you remove the meshes, and is there any other way to repair an umbilical hernia than putting the mesh in?

  • Friday, March 27, 2009 at 5:53 am

    I also have an 8 month old daughter and got diastasis recti. like you I had a very flat stomach before, and my ‘pot’ is similar. Looking at your body objectivly you don’t look 5 months preg at all (like me maybe you think you do because you didn’t look particularly big at 5 months anyway), it’s just in comparison to what you remember as ‘your’ body. lots of women have soft curved stomachs even before having children (if you look at old painting these used to be celebrated). I’m doing central core exersises to try and get them back together, to protect my back etc. but i’m also trying to re-educate my self that a board flat stomach is not the only beautiful one. photos of beautiful women like you on this site really help.
    You and your daughter are amazing!

    P.S. lucky you on the breast thing -I went up 4-5 sizes (32c to 32 F/G) and the right one is very stretch marked. I’m still breast feeding -i’m a bit frightend about what they will look like when i stop -think i’m gonna keep going until we start on number 2 ;)

  • Friday, March 27, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    hernias can be repaired directly (simply closing the defect in the muscle wall) or indirectly, using mesh to “patch” the defect. many of these products are not in use anymore, although some of the older surgeons still use them. i believe that there is a class action suit regarding one of these products. you could call a tummy tuck a direct ventral hernia repair since all of the abdominal muscles are tightened to give the patient a new “internal corset” does this help?

  • Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 3:49 am

    Yes, thanks a lot. I live in Poland and it seems that they still use the traditional method here. I’ll consider a plastic surgery then, instead of the one I was suggested. Thanks again!

  • Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I owe you everything for helping me finally solve the mystery of my deformed belly button and firm pooch that will not go away, despite being thin and working out. I found out i have a 2 finger gap. I know some people’s diastasis is more severe but i think surgery might be better as a last option. I’m going to check out Helene Byrne’s “exercise after pregnancy” book. it is supposed to help close the gap. one reviewer had a 6 finger gap and was able to close it to 1 finger. i wish you the best!

  • Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Love your site! First, Maja is beautiful! Second…You look AMAZING!!! I wish my body looks like yours…I gained 45lbs when pregnant, I was 135lbs and reached 180 before my c-section. My son was born weighing 10lbs 1oz…I don’t know how I stretched that much! Here I am almost 11 months later and I look 6 months pregnant but at 137 lbs!! If I had your body I would be wearing a bikini this summer!!

  • Monday, April 20, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    hi i just read ur story and sounds incredibly close to mine, i also sufferd with pupp during my pregnancy and can honestly say that it was the worst exsperience of my life and will neva hav anotha child again beacuse of it, i also had it for ages after baby was born and my hands have been dry ever since ( 13months pp)

    my stomach is also rock hard and looks like im pregnant i do 300 sit ups everyday eat okish? and its just not going anywear my belly button if deformed conpared to how it was too….. very depressing, my gp never seems to want to help me. i dont no how to solve this problem :(

  • Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 2:26 am

    you look soooo good! you have one of the most beautiful little girls i have every seen!

  • Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Hi Katie, I too am very familiar with PUPPs. I had my first pregnancy a little over 10 months ago and gave birth to a very healthy baby boy who is the light of my life. At about 39 weeks I developed red sores on my feet which quickly spread and of course after trying every anti-itch cream I went to the hospital only to be induced at 40 weeks 3 days with the doctors knowing there was something wrong but not knowing what. They said the only way to make it go away was the delivery of the baby. That did not happen. Just like yourself it continued to get worse. I saw many doctors was prescribed many pain medications as well as predisone…can anyone say ‘retaining water?!?!” only to continue to itch and itch. I was hospitalized for 10 days PP and started to have seizures because I was in soo much pain from the itch. I dont remember alot of the first week my son was born and like you I was also more concerned about the itch even while pushing him out (no epidural and no meds during labour – just shear itchiness being my driving force)I pray that you dont get it with any future pregnancies and I can compleetly understand why you may have felt *suicidal*. You look amazing for having had the scars, stretchmarks and bumps that come along with pupps. 6 weeks PP with pupps sounds pretty good to me! I actually had my last welt (aka huge red itchy bump)on my stomach when I was 7 months PP, of course nothing compared to the first 2 months with it. Im happy youre through it and congratulations on a beautiful body and baby!

  • Monday, May 11, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Aaaw, I’m sorry you had to suffer with PUPPs, hope that never happens again! But on the plus side, you look beautiful! Love your body! Maja looks like a little angel!

  • Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    im so jealous of your body right now, did you do anything different that i havent tried???

  • Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    P.S. a belly button ring would look phenomenal on you

  • Friday, May 29, 2009 at 4:43 am

    Ahhh, Ashley. I should’ve posted a picture of me sitting. Not a nice view! All the extra skin is visible with wrinkles from strechmarks. And I didn’do much apart from losing weight. Doctors told me not to exercise my abs because of the hernia. I’m thinking about taking Pilates classes.

  • Friday, June 19, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I don’t feel so alone.

  • Monday, July 27, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Hi Katie – I just wanted to add that plastic surgery is NOT the only option. You should find a physical therapist who specializes in women’s health. There are exercises and various things you can do without needing surgery. You look so fit as is! I would hate for you to go through major surgery when a PT can help!
    I was diagnosed with diastasis recti around 10 wks pregnant with my second child (I’m still irritated that my OB didn’t catch it with my first pregnancy) but was blessed to find a PT specializing in women’s health who armed me with a whole lot of information. Unfortunately for me, there’s not much I can do now that I’m pregnant again, but my PT did give me exercises to prevent the diastasis from getting worse. And when this pregnancy is over… we’ll work on fixing it.
    good luck!

  • Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Please check out Diastasisrehab.com and order the DVD. It will change your body if you do the exercises. I’m currently working with my patients with these exercises, even done them myself and can see a difference. I have one patient with an 8 inch separation of her recti and in two weeks it’s decreased 1 inch. It’s very straight forward stuff and can help you get back your flat tummy!!! It is possible- without surgery. Call me if you have questions 303-845-0604. It’s a wonderful program and effective. http://www.diastasisrehab.com

  • Monday, November 30, 2009 at 8:26 am

    i’m 7 weeks postpartum and my tummy looks a lot like yours (except my skin is a bit wrinkly) and i have a 1 finger diastasis recti which i closed from a 3 finger right after birth doing simple abdominal exercises. your belly button looks like that because the skin is stretched. really, do some pilates and close that gap, itll do a world of good. dont get surgery, you totally dont need it!

  • Friday, December 11, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I have had three children and suffered with PUPPPS with all three pregnancies. With the first two, the doctors wanted to put me on steroids. I refused and suffered (and felt suicidal at times, as well). With the third pregnancy and two months into full blown PUPPPS (open sore rash all over my midsection and hives all over my body, even in between my fingers and toes), I looked up holistic treatments. I started taking dandelion root capsules, flaxseed oil capsules, and using Grandpa’s Pine Tar soap. Within a few days, the rash was minimal and by the end of the week it was gone (and I didn’t need the soap anymore). I thought that it might be a placebo effect, but if I missed a day or two, the rash would be back with avengence!

    You can be pregnant again without being miserable. Just like you, after my first I contemplated stopping due to the severity of the rash. So, if you do choose to have more children and get PUPPPS again, try those herbs. They won’t hurt as long as you don’t take them in super doses (those are the exact words of my OB).

    Good Luck! By the way, you look fantastic. My diastis recti is way worse, and I have the handfuls of extra skin on top!

  • Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I totally understand.I’m very weight conscious.Before I fell pregnant i had a super flat tummy.During my pregnancy I felt beautiful even though I was swollen and looked like someone twice my weight.I had an emegency c section and then became a bit ill…due to the meds Ithe swelling went down immed.I felt so good except for the big bulge.It’s been 4 months and I’v picked up weight however the bulge has gone down a alot.My navel is totally deformed.It’s closed and potrudes with the wrinkled skin all around it.there are many times when I become depressed because of it.A friend of mine is in much better condition now than before she was preg.What I realised is that we actually need to stop comparing ourselves to others and look at the great blessing we were granted.I’m thankful every day for my baby and if I had to do it all over again I would.

  • Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Am soooo late on this post but maybe someone will read it!- if you have a diastasis you shouldn’t do sit-ups or crunches- it will make it worse and make your stomach stick out more. it’s too complicated to explain, but i really recommend a book called “lose your mummy tummy” by julie tupler. Or any maternity physio to teach you how to strengthen your transverse abs.

  • Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    i have had the same exact things happen to me…pupps and diastasis recti, umbilical hernia, deformed belly button. i would love to have you email me what decision you made. we want to have more children and i’m not sure whether to get everything corrected before or after. i’ve had so many different doctors/professionals give me different answers. what did you end up doing? which doctor did you see? thank you for sharing.

  • Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Gisa

    Please mail to: poli [ at ] data [ dot ] pl


  • Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    PUPPPS was the worst thing ever!!!! it seems strange that it continued to get worse…you’re sure it wasn’t a drug rash of some sort? anyway, i didn’t get it with my second baby.

  • Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Yes, it was definitely PUPPPS. I didn’t take any drugs apart from vitamins and it was just a classic case, all symptoms etc. Now I am pregnant again and trying to watch my weight as they say it is associated with too much weight gain. I just hope I’ll be spared this time!

  • Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Katie,

    I have the same issues. What was your final result a year plus later.

    What worked best?

  • Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 4:48 am

    Hi Christine. Now I am 12 weeks pregnant and I see the diastasis is getting worse. Doctors told me it is definitely going to get worse after the second pregnancy, but if I ever want to get it fixed, I have to be done with babies first. Now that we decided that our number two is going to be our last one, I think I will have a surgery next fall. They only refund mesh implants here in Poland, so I’ll just go for full abdominoplasty. This is not just for cosmetic reasons, I want to have my intestines back in place and to be able to do any physical exercise I was banned from because of the hernia.
    Now, what helped me best was pilates, swimming and staying slim – then the belly did not protrude that much. Now at 12 weeks I’m already showing, I think that’s because my abdominal wall is ruined.

  • Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 4:25 pm


    Through all of your information, I’ve finally been able to diagnose what is going on with my muscles. I don’t mind how it looks, but I want to avoid lower back trouble in the future. I’m 37 with a 4 and 1 1/2 year old and had a super flat belly pre-baby. I REALLY believe that this started with my first pregnancy and had A LOT to do with my LONG labors (37 1/2 and 36 1/2 hours, respectively). I was blessed with an incredibly supportive midwife and two natural births, one in the water in the hospital (transfer from home) and the other at home, but I think, had this been diagnosed before, I could have done something to support my muscles during pregnancy and help my babies get into position sooner. Any thoughts on this???

  • Monday, August 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I too had a rash that became worse after my child was born. He was my second child. It started two weeks before i delivered at 40 weeks. I don’t think I had PUPPPS i think I had prurigo gestationis although no one could diagnose it. It spread from my stomach to my lower body quickly- i even had it on the soles of my feet, and then to my hands and forearms. It was a raised rash with the welts turning into red sores that would bleed from all of the uncontrollable scratching. It finally went away about a month after the birth. I was left with scars on my legs that look like small round places where the sores scabbed up after bleeding. My birth experience was great and only I was in labor for about 5 hours.
    I also have a diastis and the way I had it explained to me was that those muscles are meant to separate in pregnancy when the strain on them becomes too great. I gained 30 pounds and have been working on it with diet and pilates and it has already improved my tone. My skin still looks wrinkly but it has only been 3 months since I gave birth. It will be interesting to see what happens a year from now. I want to give myself time to heal and get back into shape before I start really worrying about anything regarding my looks. On that front for now, I went out and bought some great second hand clothes that fit the New me for now(to avoid wearing the pregnancy clothes) and to look at what other mothers on the street are wearing as a gauge- rather than what people who can afford personal trainers and stylists and nannies are wearing! (https://www.aintnomomjeans.com) I mean celebrity moms look great, but I don’t have the resources or machinery behind me personally. I have much hope that the adage, time is the great healer, is right.

  • Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Wow, I think you look great!!
    I’m always so sad to hear of all the Doctors who apparently don’t know anything about diastasis recti!! I have large babies, and always have a large diastasis recti with each pregnancy. However, my midwives have exercises that can be done, starting right after birth, that almost completely get rid of it. I have large fingers, and mine get to about 4 finger widths, yet after each baby, I do the exercises for a few weeks, and get it down to between 1/2 to 1 finger width, basically almost unnoticeable. The exercises are simple, and don’t need to be postponed during the first 6 weeks! I wish more Dr’s would learn this, and stop referring women for surgery, for such a simple and common thing!!! There are actually a few different exercises for this, but I only needed to do the 1 simple one, for just a couple minutes a day, for a few weeks, and it was closed up almost completely.
    Also, make sure you do not do situps after 16 weeks of pregnancy, or you can actually create or worsen a diastasis recti and have more trouble closing it after the pregnancy.

  • Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Shena: I don’t believe labor itself has anything to do with the diastasis recti. Its during the pregnancy, when the muscles separate to allow for the belly to expand. Not everyone gets this, but it is pretty common. Mine happens fairly soon into each pregnancy, of course I show fast and have large babies, which makes things happen sooner, I’m sure. But I know never to worry about it, since I have it gone each time in a few short weeks. :)

  • Friday, November 5, 2010 at 12:59 am

    @ Vanessa: can you please describe this exercise, I’m really interested! I wish it could help with the stretch marks, too ;-)

  • Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Katie: I’m sorry to hear you had PUPPP so long. I too had a terrible rare form of it that was incurible with lotions and ointments. Thankfully I had the best OB that suggested I try Claritin’s 24hr pill before she put me on steroids. I did have to take it every 23hrs because of the wearing off and the kicking in of the next pill had to be accounted for…it was that bad. An hour was too long to wait.
    It is said that MOST people do not get a re-occurrance of the PUPPP with subsequent pregnancies and that it is unknown why we get it but believed to do with the size of larger or multiple babies. My 1st was 9.9lbs and now that I am in the 3rd trimester with my second I have noticed the PUPPP return but it is NOTHING like what I went through the first time. I noticed I had scratched the same spot a couple times more than you would a normal itch. Then a few more places, but it is only on my belly this time and I would say no more than 20 spots…like mosquito bites. I do not need medical intervention this time; I haven’t even felt the need to use any type of ointment besides the lotion I use to keep my belly from feeling dry from the winter air.

    I have posted this comment to maybe help anyone else out there looking for a cure as there are not many places to help out with this nasty fact of life. Or offer any kind of real relief besides…the birth of your baby of course. And the Claritin, just FYI, was not harmful for the baby, he’s absolutely perfect at nearly 4yrs now.

  • Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm


    Oh how I empathize with you! I delivered my twins early at 36 weeks because of PUPPP. It was a horrible, sleep deprived time, but I’m so sorry that you had to put up with it even longer AFTER being pregnant! With my following 2 pregnancies, I have gotten a much milder itching on my feet that display hives when scratched. I don’t know if they are related, but the best thing I have found for it is the Gold Bond Medicated Body Lotion Extra Strength in the green bottle. I wish I had discovered it when I was itching from head to toe! Anyway, hopefully you won’t have a need for that with any future pregnancies! As far as your “pot belly” is concerned, and I say that with empathy again, you should have some success with doing transverse abdominis exercises. Add a few more stretch marks (thanks to twins) and you and I look a lot alike. Here is what I have learned as I have been researching how to flatten my own “pot belly.” The goal is to keep the stomach muscles pulled in and tight. Avoid typical ab exercises like crunches for now and just focus on strengthening those inner muscles that hold your guts in. You can easily do this as you walk around the house (no official exercise time required) by putting your teeth together and making a hissing sound. That will draw your abs in and flatten your stomach. The goal is to do this as continually as possible (work up gradually) until your inner muscles can support your outer muscles. This is also how to correct the diastasis recti. Hopefully that little exercise instantly pulled everything up and in so you can see how it can help when done regularly. If you google diastasis recti, you will find many easy exercises that should help flatten things again. Best of luck! Somehow those beautiful eyes and little smile from your children make it all worth it, and truly the best things to happen in our lives.

  • Monday, December 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    My story is very similar — I had a flat, rock hard stomach before pregnancy and then split abdominals after. I did the Tupler Technique (by Julie Tupler; she has a book called “Mummy Tummy”) for a bit and that did help a lot. I closed my diastasis to about two finger-widths. However, I’ve just found out I’m pregnant again and now I’m worried about it getting a lot bigger. I will try the Tupler technique through my pregnancy this time and be smarter about ab work (NO CRUNCHES!) You look great, btw. Not perfect, but really good considering you’ve had a baby and you have split abs!

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