Excercise After a Baby, Your Post Baby Body

My Baby was Born Months Ago, Why do I Still Look Pregnant?

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Your baby was born months, even years, ago and, though you’ve been on a good diet and exercising diligently, you still have a “pregnancy pooch” making you look pregnant. People are actually asking you when your baby is due only to be embarrassed when they hear you aren’t expecting. Sound familiar? I’d heard the stories before, but I didn’t think it’d ever happen to me.

diastasis recti after pregnancy

My First Two Pregnancies Went Great

After my first two sons were born, it took awhile to lose all the baby weight. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. A few months after they were born, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight and my stomach had gone back to normal.

My Third Pregnancy was Another Story

My third pregnancy was completely different than the others had been. I developed SPD  during my second trimester and it made it very difficult for me to get around. Any movement I made, caused extreme pain and some mornings I wondered if I’d even be able to get out of bed.

Needless to say, I was so relieved when my son was born and the pain was gone.

I could tell though that my body was weaker then it’d ever been before and I was determined to rebuild it.

I hadn’t gained a whole lot of weight during my third pregnancy and it didn’t take long at all for me to lose all of the weight.

However, several months after my son was born, I still had a huge pregnancy pooch. It really bothered me so I put together a workout routine to follow for the next couple months. My focus was on strength training with a little cardio and lots of ab exercises!

I Just Need to Exercise More Don’t I?

I got through three months without missing even ONE workout. 

By the end of it, I was in the best shape I’d been in for years. My weight was even 10 pounds lower than it’d been before I’d gotten pregnant with my first son.

I felt great!

There was one problem though. My stomach looked just as bad, or even worse than it had the day my son was born.

I could feel the strength I’d built up in my arms and legs, but my back and core felt just as weak as when I’d started.

Why Did I Still Look Pregnant!

I couldn’t understand it. I’d done everything I could think of but, after every ab workout I did, I could swear my stomach looked worse.

One day, as I was starting my workout for the day, I laid on my back and lifted my shirt to look at my abdominal muscles. I raised my head a little and grimaced when I saw the familiar football shaped cone I’d grown accustomed to.

Frustrated, I felt for the abdominal muscles I knew had to be there after all my workouts and recoiled with horror when I felt them but found that there was a wide separation between them that was just over three finger widths.

I could feel the defined edges of my abdominal muscles on either side of the football-shaped cone that was bulging out in the middle.

I felt like I was going to be sick. What was wrong with me? How had my abdominal muscles split and could they be fixed? Obviously, exercise was not helping.

Related Post: What is the MuTu System? Will it Heal Abdominal Separation?

It Turns Out I Had Diastasis Recti

Over the next couple days, I did quite a bit of research and learned I had Diastasis Recti.

To be sure, I did a quick Diastasis Recti Test on myself and I definitely had it.

Diastasis Recti (DR) is a condition that mothers who’ve had multiple pregnancies often experience after their baby is born. Those with DR have abdominal muscles that split during their pregnancy but fail to come back together once the baby is born.

It occurs when a mother’s inner abdominal muscles and their core muscles grow too weak to support the weight of the baby or the pressure that is being put on them. Once that happens, your internal organs start to bulge out between the separation.

This is what the football shape I’d grown accustomed to seeing actually was.

Furthermore, if you have this condition, regular ab workouts (like the ones I’d been doing for months) only make it much worse.

Normal Ab Exercises Make DR Worse

Ab exercises like situps, crunches, bicycles, and all the other popular ones you see in workout videos focus on your outer abdominal muscles. Usually, these are great exercises to build strong abs but, if you have a weakened core and weak inner abdominals like may postpartum mothers do, these exercises can cause your muscles to split or make an existing separation worse.

The workouts I’d been doing for months really had been making my stomach worse and all the research I’d found was inconclusive about whether or not it could be healed without expensive surgery.

To make things worse, the surgery wasn’t a permanent fix. It’s very common for mothers who’ve had surgery to experience a relapse because sewing the muscles back together doesn’t solve the root of the problem. It doesn’t make the weakened core muscles stronger.

The best chance I had was an exercise program that focused on the strained muscles that had split apart.

With this in mind, I completely cut out all the ab exercises I’d been doing and replaced them with a set of pelvic and inner abdominal exercises instead.

During the first couple weeks, I wasn’t sure if the exercises were helping at all.

Finally, though, I started to see a little difference. Instead of the gap being over three fingers, it was just over two.

I kept up the exercises, but it wouldn’t get any smaller. I wondered if the exercises I’d done every day for months had made so I would never be able to completely heal the separation.

It was really upsetting. I knew the abdominal surgery was way too expensive to consider. Even if it weren’t, I’d found too many women claiming they’d relapsed after their own surgery.

Finally, I Came Across a Program Designed to Heal Diastasis Recti

I was starting to lose hope when I found a 12-week workout program that was designed to heal Diastasis Recti. Furthermore, the program could be used, not only by women who’d just had a baby, but also those whose kids were months or even years old.

Hopeful, I bought it and went through the 12 weeks. By the end of it, the gap between my abdominal muscles was about half a finger width (normal size). Not only that, but I could feel the strength in my core and my back again for the first time since my son was born!

If you’re wondering if you have diastasis recti you can use this test to check yourself. If you use the test and find you do have it, I have a full review of the program I went through to correct my own diastasis here so you can decide if it’s right for you.


Do you or a loved one have Diastasis Recti? Are you wondering how to heal it? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I do answer all of them!

-Julie

Still look Pregnant After Baby

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4 thoughts on “My Baby was Born Months Ago, Why do I Still Look Pregnant?

  1. Hi Julie

    Great post. I know I especially have struggled to get my flat tummy back. However I have noticed with some women after they give birth they still look pregnant. It’s a bit confusing because when they get pregnant again you wouldn’t know if they are pregnant o they just have big belly. I never realized it was diastasis recti.

    1. I agree, I looked pregnant for quite a while after my third son was born and was so frustrated that nothing seemed to help. I was devastated when I realized I had diastasis recti. To my relief, I was able to close my abdominal separation after months of work and was so much better prepared during my next pregnancy.
      -Julie

  2. That sounds stressful. I’ve never heard of DR before but I’m glad I read your post so I know what to look for and how to heal it. We only have 2 sons and I’ve felt great with both of them, but every pregnancy can be different.
    Do you ever feel weak or does it hurt you now, or are you completely over it?

    1. I am completely over it now and there is no separation between my abdominal muscles. However, if you’ve had DR once, you’re much more likely to relapse if you fall pregnant again. I did have another baby afterward and was pretty concerned about it happening again so I used this program throughout my pregnancy and afterward. Though there was a slight separation when my son was born, it never got as bad as it was the first time and it is completely closed again.
      -Julie

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