Why Do I Still Look Pregnant After Having a Baby?

Mom Pooch

Mummy Tummy

We regret giving these names any space. But it’s one of our most frequently asked questions, so we owe it to you to explore the topic. Maybe it’s been months or even years after you’ve had your baby and your belly still appears pregnant. So what gives? Is it diastasis recti or something else?

What is Diastasis?

diastasis diagram

First things first. What is Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA)? Diastasis refers to the widening of the gap between the right and left sides of the rectus abdominis (that’s your six pack). The connective tissue that runs down the center of your belly from sternum to pelvis (called the linea abla) will stretch and create a space between the muscle bellies. This separation occurs in essentially 100% of pregnancies by the 3rd trimester. This is a good thing! It’s how your abdomen makes room for your growing baby.

When the a separation of 2.5cm or greater remains postpartum, that’s what is considered a postpartum DRA. There is a lot of misinformation floating around on the internet about DRA. Let’s quickly address a few of these:

  • DRA is poorly researched. There is no known absolute cause or cure.

  • Closing the gap may or may not change the appearance of your abdomen.

  • DRA has NOT been found to cause incontinence.

  • DRA has NOT been found to cause low back pain.

Something to Fix

diastasis text image

Many women hope they have diastasis because it promises that resolution will lead to the flat belly she desires. While resolving your DRA may change the appearance of your belly, it may not completely eliminate the rounded shape many women have postpartum. The shape of your body is influenced by a number of factors including:

  • Body fat percentage

  • Genetics

  • Loose Skin

  • Contents of the stomach or bowels

Quality of Life in the Postpartum Body

We haven’t mentioned the most important part of this conversation, yet. And let us say it loud and proud:

THE APPEARANCE OF YOUR BELLY IS NOT A MEASURE OF YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE!! We encourage you to make a list of all of the wonderful moments your body has gotten you through. Childbirth, a fitness goal like pushups, a promotion at work. The appearance of your belly did not contribute to or hinder any of these events.

Bottom line: Realistically, some aspects of your postpartum appearance may be unalterable. Your ability to move, grow, strengthen and experience joy is boundless. That’s what we want for you, and we can help.