Pregnancy changes the body in many ways, most of which are difficult for new moms to accept after the baby is born. Naturally, many of these changes occur in the abdominal area, and it can be difficult to tone the abdominal muscles and lose a belly “pooch” following pregnancy.
This often involves more than just extra weight gained during pregnancy, however. Many women develop diastasis recti (separated abdominal muscles) following pregnancy, which can create a belly pooch that is difficult to resolve. So how does diastasis recti form, and can it be fixed through diet and exercise?
About Diastasis Recti
Diastasis recti does not occur in every woman who experiences pregnancy, but a great many women struggle with it. There are a number of risk factors for this problem, including the number of pregnancies the woman has had. The risk for diastasis recti increases with each pregnancy.
The separation of the abdominal muscles is typically measured in “finger widths” and this separation can start out being quite significant, shrinking in the weeks following childbirth. It is when the last gap remains that there is a problem.
Not sure if you have diastasis recti? Some women can feel a gap, but if you’re still unsure, check for “doming” or “pooching” of your stomach area. It is also a good idea to have a doctor examine you (such as a plastic or cosmetic surgeon).
Fixing Stretched Stomach Muscles
While it might seem like abdominal exercises are the obvious way to tone the tummy after pregnancy, exercises like these can actually make diastasis recti worse. It’s never too late to start doing the right kinds of exercises to improve diastasis recti, but it’s important to be realistic about the amount of improvements that can be made.
If you did the wrong kinds of abdominal workouts or let your abdominals and pelvic floor weaken, it may be harder to get good results with exercise alone. Here’s a great article about how to assess and improve diastasis recti: http://www.befitmom.com/abdominal_separation.html
Unfortunately, sometimes stomach muscles are just too stretched out to repair with exercises. Tummy tuck surgery, or abdominoplasty, is often the only solution in these situations. Our New York plastic and cosmetic surgeons have the experience, training, and skills to help you get a sleek and sexy physique following pregnancy or extreme weight loss.
To learn more about tummy tuck surgery, visit our Commack, Long Island or Manhattan, NYC facilities to schedule your free consultation today.