I have a spearated abdomen, also called 'Diastasis Recti'

(199 Posts)
honeydew Sun 20-Apr-08 22:08:22

After giving birth to my third child a year ago, I have a post partum condtion known as 'Diastasis Recti' which means my abdomen has separated due to pressure on it from my uterus. I have had large babies in quick sucession. I have had 1 vaginal birth and 2 sections (1 emergency) I have to have major surgery next year as my body will not heal anymore by itself. My abdomnen needs stitching back together, my umbilical hernia popped back in and I get a free tummy tuck thrown in! I still look 4 months pregnant, have to wear large flowing tops or maternity clothes and am often in pain.It's not easy when you have three children of four and under to care for! My surgeon says he sees cases like mine every other week. Is there anyone else who suffers from this debilitating problem and what have been your experiences?

redclover79 Sun 20-Apr-08 22:44:03

I have this!! dd was born a week and a half ago and there is less than a year between them! both vaginal births but I never recovered between pregnancies. midwife has given me exercises to do and I'm being refered to a physio.
It's not affecting my day to day life at the mo, although a couple of months down the line I'll probably feel differently!

BetsyBoop Sun 20-Apr-08 23:30:39

I have this after 2 largish babies in quick succession (DD 8lb 8.5oz, now 2, DS 10lb10.5oz now 5months)

Honeydew - at what point do they decide to do something about it?

After DS was born I was 6 fingers separated shock - he's now 5months & I'm still one and a bit fingers separated (been doing my exercises almost every day...)

I'm not in pain with it, but I HATE my belly & still look about 5months pregnant even though I weigh less now than before I got pregnant...

honeydew Mon 21-Apr-08 00:46:35

I went to my doctor once I realised that something was wrong - my tummy was just not returning to a normal shape. This must have been about 4 months after the birth. I've had 3 babies in 3 1/2 years ( 8lbs, 10lbs and 9lbs) and was advised to have an elective section for my third because of complications during the birth of DS.

I'm not sure sure how many fingers separated I am but the plastic surgeon told me that I'll be left with a permanently large pregnant looking belly if I don't have the operation. Having a hernia too probably doesn't help.

I feel the same as you BetsyBoop- I absolutely loathe my huge belly and finding suitable clothes is a nightmare. I have to wear jeans under the bump and large tops which cover it- mostly maternity wear.

I get really down sometimes knowing that surgery is the only option as exercising will not make any difference in my case- my abdominal muscles have parted company!

My surgeon wants me to have it done now but my children are 1, 2 1/2 and just 4. I'm going to wait a year until my DD is at school and my youngest a little less dependent before I have the op.

I think it wil be nice to get a free tummy tuck ( my section overhang is like a wrinkly udder ), but I don't think the other problems have been worth it. I can feel the weakness in my abdominal muscles pulling on my lungs and shoulders which gives me a poor posture. I'm just soooooooo pissed off. I'm only 36 and I feel really old and fat. I can't loose anymore weight and although I'm back to a size 10/12 everywhere else, I'm a 14/16 round my tummy and I feel my figure has been ruined by this condition. I know a 14 isn't big, it's just that my tummy really protrudes out in front!

People keep asking me if I'm expecting again! I know I'm bonkas having three children so close together but I wasn't expecting to have such a long term complication. My husband has been very supportive and says he isn't bothered about my diastasis but I bloody well am! It's just horrible so it's comforting to know I'm not alone in suffering this. My abdomen does still hurt from time to time although generally the pain has been much reduced.

zazen Mon 21-Apr-08 01:01:42

Yes I had this too - so I kindof know what you're going through.... AND you are not alone - here is another MN thread about it and what you can do about it. thread on diastasis and cesarean overhang here

The pain eventually goes down - but there are nights when I look like I'm preggo again - especially if I've been eating all the pies / tortilla chips! My diastasis closed cos of the exercises in the book How to lose your mummy tummy by Julie Tupler - details in other thread HTH.

Rolf Mon 21-Apr-08 10:48:01

My stomach is a mess as well. I have 3 children (not as close together as you) and am 33 weeks pregnant with my 4th. My stomach muscles never joined back together either and my belly button kind of flops out blush. Most of my stomach looks like Jabba the Hutt and I am very self-conscious about it. When I had my 3rd child I couldn't use a baby sling (which I'd used with the other 2) as my stomach just couldn't support my back properly, and I found it too exhausting. So you're not alone and I know how demoralising it is.

I haven't taken any medical advice about it as I knew I hadn't completed my family and I assume you need to have done so before having the surgery (is that right?). And I have the idea in my head that I wanted to do as much as possible myself before seeking invasive treatment, ie physio/pilates/healthy diet etc, which I have never quite managed to do as thoroughly as I hoped.

If, after having this baby, things are still bad and if I feel relaxed about it being my last child, then I expect I'll seek advice about it.

dizzydixies Mon 21-Apr-08 10:53:05

oh lord, i think am going down this road too sad

dd1 was 10lb4 vb, stomach never same
dd2 was 11lb1

dc3 on way and no idea what weight will be but look full term and am only 26wksblush

honeydew Mon 21-Apr-08 14:23:38

well surpisingly my surgeon said that if I want more children after the op then I will be able to but we don't want any more, so for me the surgery is the right way forward. Three is plenty and I couldn't face another pregnancy, especially as I'd have to have third section which carries more risk.

Many thanks for the other thread reference- I'll read it tonight.

khappy Wed 07-May-08 21:46:13

Hi honeydew, I suffer the same as you.. Last year I went to see my doc who recognised straight away what I had and I got an appt with a consultant. Who said that I could have surgery. I am fairly slim, size 10/12 most places apart from tummy - need size 14. He said he would sew them together and I would have a have vertical scar down my middle tho. I spoke about delaying until my youngest was older he was 1 last year at the time. (I had 2 boys (9lb 2) and (9lb 10) vaginally, 3 years apart) However, my back has been getting worse and I still have to roll out of bed, cant just sit up from lying down. .. I went back to be re refered and have appt this Monday to see surgeon again to ask more questions and possibly go thru with it this time. (My youngest will be 2 soon) I am scared and wonder if I am doing the right thing. Like you I look pregnant all the time and hate it ! My back is sore, mainly the left side, get pain also across the tummy sometimes.. I am not sporty anymore, cause trying anything gives me back ache and pain at the front of my tummy. Cant go down any playarea slide that spirals with my kids as it feels like something wants to pop thru my tummy and is painful, so I just dont do it..I have looked on the internet and cant seem to find anything about a vertical scar operation.. Everything seems to report about Tummy tuck (horizonal scar) I believe and muscle repair for diastasis recti. What did you surgeon say? and does anyone have any experience of having gone thru this op? Vertical or otherwise ?

alaine79 Thu 12-Jun-08 21:59:41

Hi everyone. I desperately need some advice. I have this condition and so far the treatment I've had has been useless. After being told time again I was just fat after the birth of my little one, doctor finally admitted there was a problem. I pretty much self diagnosed split muscles as I have a 5/6 finger gap still 5 months after the birth plus my belly button is protuding at an odd angle. My tummy constantly aches though it helps if I wear support pants. I've finally seen a Physio but she was rubbish and wasn't even a specialist. She basically told me I should be grateful I've got a lovely little boy and just accept my body will never be the same again. I look about 5 months pregnant. My belly looks odd with humps either side and a protruding belly button (hernia?). Surgery hasn't been even suggested but don't see how this is going to get better. I've been doing exercises on my own for past couple of months and has helped but don't know how much more it can help. I got told off by the physio for wearing support knickers "your muscles need to work for themselves" - I explained if I didn't wear them my tummy constantly ached and she just tutted. I feel so depressed. I'm only 28 and this is my first baby. People keep making comments on when the new little one is due?etc. I feel so upset. What can I do to help. How did any of you get to see a decent consultant. I can't bear the thought of looking like this forever but am made to feel like I'm just being vain. Please help me. I can't afford to go private. Alaine x

honeydew Fri 08-Aug-08 21:37:51

Thanks for all the messages. My experience is that my surgeon has said my operation will involve a horizontal scar. They have to lift up my flesh, stitch the separated muscles and put my hernia back in. Then give me an abdomioplasty. I've put it off as it's major surgery but I am HUGE and look so pregnant. I hate it now. It stops me exercising, running around, lifting and my back aches. As far as I know I am getting the operation on the NHS because my muscles have herniated through the abdominal wall and most hernia's require repair surgery. I was a petit woman ( size 8) before I had children and stretched my muscles out too far with my big babies. I just looks so horrid and like Alaine I can't bear the thought of looking like this for the rest of my life. My advice would be to discuss you concerns with a GP who may refer you to a specialist. I have a apron overhang as well which is vile.

I just wish I had known this was a complication of pregnancy. In all the books, medical advice and media,I can find very little on the subject. It's awful and if I 'd known I was going to get this I'd have left a mush bigger gap between babies.

trixietie Mon 11-Aug-08 13:21:57


I'm 34 weeks pg now and have been told i have a separated abdomen and am pretty much in constant pain, it's a niggling stingy type pain. The MW said i was 2 inches separated?

I don't look all that big and it's really only in the last 2-3 weeks that i've "popped" as someone put it

I'm now really worried by what i've read here. Is there anything i can do now to prevent this getting worse and is it something that normally happens this early?

Any advice would be really welcome! Thanks

kitstwins Mon 11-Aug-08 16:56:24

I don't think there is anything you can do whilst pregnant - pelvic floors might help as they'll somewhat strengthen your core muscles which can, in turn, help with building abdominal strength afterwards. You certainly can't do any exercises to remedy the situation at this stage. But pelvic floors certainly wouldn't hurt.

My advice is not to worry about it (really! Truthfully!) because you can't do anything about it until after your baby is born so you may as well relax and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. Plus, this thread shows that there ARE things that you can do about it afterwards and as yours has already been diagnosed then you won't have a large delay - you can push for a physio referral for after the birth of your baby. Equally, it might be worth talking to your hospital physio right now (your antenatal clinic would be able to refer you to them if you called them) as you could discuss things and get flagged for care afterwards.

Hope this helps.

trixietie Tue 12-Aug-08 12:00:53

Thanks so much for your response, i know i shouldn't worry and thanks for the advice. T x

Littlemisstwinks Mon 18-Aug-08 22:24:02

When i was pregnant I had physio for spd and whilst there they told me i had diastis.

The physio held a hand on my bump and asked me to pull in my tummy and try to make a gap between it and her hand - that was the exercise to do whilst pregnant.

blondie14 Tue 19-Aug-08 13:27:48

i am 41 weeks pg with second baby and my tummy muscles seperated with my first causing really bad back problems and then a hernia when my ds was 2. hernia was repaired as it got stuck but no other treatment was offered. this time it has happened again but midwives more aware of it due to uterus falling forward as muscles not strong enough to support. been refered to physio and have also been given the advice as littlemisstwinks, but will prob be in the same boat as everyone else. all hail the support pants!!!!!

kitstwins Thu 21-Aug-08 11:31:46

Alaine79 I'm so sorry you've had so little help and support - dreadful as it's not just the physical impact but the pain too. It can cause major back pain (lack of support from the abdominal muscles and core). They CAN close again, or with excercises you can certainly close them to a large degree and so it is worth perservering with the exercises as it sounds like they have made a small difference. The downside to these exercises is that they take time - at least three months before you start to see results - and they need to be done a few times a day. Time is in short supply when you have a baby so I know from experience that it's not always possible to fling yourself on the floor for pelvic work.

Have you looked at the Tupler Technique? This is specifically targeted for people with diastasis recti and made a big difference to me:

As for your physio (who sounds useless - all very well her tutting, but some constructive advice would have been more helpful!!!) I would go back to your GP and push for another referral. Ask to see another physio. YOu are ALLOWED to do this. It is NOT making a fuss. It's important that you get this sorted out as aside from how you look (which I personally think is important and valid and not at all self-indulgent and vain. A drastic change in body image post-pregnancy can be hugely upsetting for people) it will give you serious back problems if it goes unchecked. YOu are basically doing without key support from your abdominal muscles which will put a huge strain on your lower back (and probably refer pain further up into your back as it struggles to take the 'load' off the lumber region). It's important that you get care for this and you are entitled to it.

The support pants are good for every day and helping with the ache and getting on with things, but at the same time you do need to do abdominal exercises every day, and usually a few sessions. I know it's hard, but when you get up and go to bed and once during your baby's nap at lunchtime would be hugely beneficial. Plus do lots of pelvic floor exercises as these will all help. IT will be really slow progress and you won't feel like you are getting anywhere but it will make a difference. The gap will close. And chase your GP. Chase for a better/different physio. There are good ones out there and they aren't just the reserve of private medicine.

Hope this helps and hang in there. THis isn't the end and your tummy will improve.

LackaDAISYcal Thu 21-Aug-08 11:49:01

this thread is making interesting reading. My tummy muscles never went back properly after my DS 6 years ago and I've had core staility problems ever since. It separated further after DD was born last June, and I got pregnant again when she was 8months and now at 29 weeks, I have a 2finger gap and am suffereing from pulled muscles and ligaments and back ache.

I've been doing some pilates core stability exercises which seem to be helping, but I can feel a small lump just to the left and above my tummy button which I assume is some sort of hernia?

I've been referred to the obstetric physios so will make sure I get them to check it out, although it will be a group appointment so not sure how much individual attention I will get. am worried about the after effects now.

kitstwins Thu 21-Aug-08 15:37:43

I think you're doing the right thing - the pilates core exercises will help as will the obstetric physio. Even if it's a group class he/she will presumably look at individual cases. YOu could always hang back at the end of the session and ask to have a quick chat or see if he/she can arrange an individual appointment.

Two fingers is within what is considered the 'acceptable' range and something that you can live with, however even two fingers separation will lead to abdominal weakness, core strength issues and back pain - in fact all the issues you have mentioned you suffer from, so the IDEAL is to get the separation to close. It can be done - mine is about half a finger (slightly less according to my pilates teacher) which is a big improvement on my 2 fingers of five months ago. It doesn't sound much but steady progress is the key.

And don't worry about the after effects. The fact that you KNOW that there is an issue and a potential for larger separation post-birth means that you'll be able to push for the relevant treatment/physio and tackle the issue with the relevent exercises. The issues really arise when people don't realise that they have a separation. It took me nearly a year to twig that I had a separation as my GP said that I was "fine" at my check up. I was 'on paper' as I was around 2 fingers separation, which they (lazily, in my opinion) consider okay, but actually my back has been MUCH better as the separation has narrowed and my stomach is much flatter.


LackaDAISYcal Thu 21-Aug-08 20:05:41

thanks for that kitstwins smile

I think once I've had the group appointment then I can self refer myself to them for an individual appointment.

My main concern is that as most of the damage stemmed from my pregnancy with DS, I've left it far too long (will be 6.5 years after this DC) to do anything positive about it. But, I will do my very best to get things back to something like normal through exercise once this DC has been born in November.

I'll keep this on my watch list in the meantime; it would be good if it could morph into a mutual support thread smile

Tinkerbell1980 Wed 12-Nov-08 22:53:10

Hi there,
I too have diastasis recti, I have three children, the youngest two are just a year apart. I called a local 'physio direct' service to see if they could offer any help and was told that they were not specialists in 'womens physio' they gave me a contact number for a specialist physio based in the womens unit of my local hospital, but I could not contact her, so went to see my GP. My GP referred me to the hospital ante-natal clinic who said that my muscles would never go back no matter how many exercises they gave me and so surgery was the only way to go. I'm booked in for 27th November 2008. I'm scared stiff!!! The consultant told me he could put in mesh to cover the gap between my muscles with keyhole surgery or he could cut and sew my muscles back together, I chose the latter as it is a permanent fix, although he has said that I will have a vertical scar. Khappy - have you had your surgery?

BBeau Mon 08-Dec-08 22:19:03

Hello everyone,
I am so relieved to have found this site. I honestly thought i was the only person ever with this condition. I had my little boy in 2006, he has just turned 2. 5 months ago i had twin girls (there is 16 months gap). Pre pregnancy i was a size 10 with very firm stomach muscles. I got large with my little boy and got this seperation then but the muscles went back far enough not to worry about it. I then got rediculously huge with the twins, to the point where i could not walk at 30 weeks at all. My muscles are now 6 fingers apart and the girls are 5 months old. I have gone back to my pre size everywhere except my stomach where i easily look the size of a 5 month pregnant lady. Its so bad that my bowels and intestines peep through when i eat as they are not protected by the muscles. They kept saying its too early to tell what will happen but now 5 months on i have finally got an appointment with a consultant tomorrow (he was the man that did my c sec). I dont know what he will say although reading these posts i now have more of an idea. My births were horrendous. I had a natural for the 1st twin then emergency c sec for the 2nd, i heamorrhaged in the operation room so then had to be put out for delivery (even though id had a spinal) as there was no time). A week later in the hospital ward i heamorrhaged again, turned out they left placenta bits in my uterus following c sec so i got an infection which made me heamorrhaged. I then had to have another operation for them to remove the bits. I got pre-eclampsia after the birth as well. I went down to 50% blood but they never gave me a transfusion so it took weeks before i could stand up without feeling like i was goin to pass out. Now i am still in pain because of my stomach and the doctors just dont understand. I have to wear big knickers to go right over my bump as i have got so much excess skin which hangs right over my scar (which is still sore as well). My husband and i are at our wits end, we literally have no help with the children, luckily he is self employed so has had lots of time of work to help me but obviously he doesnt get paid for that. All my friends just cant understand why i keep moaning as they have all had text book births. Im getting to the point where i dont want to socialise with them anymore as im sure they think i exaggerate. I can find nothing to wear and am still in my maternity clothes (im easy a 16 around my waist and 10 every where else). I too am worried about this op as we have no help but how can i carry on like this, its rediculous. Somebody said that they make you feel like your being vein - thats so true, i get this all the time. All i want is to be comfortable and well to look after my children, its not too much to ask is it. I will see what he says tomorrow i guess.

BBeau Mon 08-Dec-08 22:21:45

Ps - Tinkerbell - did you have your op? How are you feeling? x

kitstwins Tue 09-Dec-08 10:52:59

BBeau you POOR thing. It sounds like you've had a really rough time. Looking after twins is not easy (I know - mine have just turned two and I don't have an older child to look after as well so total respect to you for that!!) and if you throw in a really weakened stomach and all issues with back pain, etc. that come with that then it's no wonder that you are wiped out.

It also sounds like the birth was really difficult and it can take a long time to get over a haemorrhage. I had a small one during the delivery of my twins (also under GA as they bodged my epidural and the spinal failed) and was supposed to have a transfusion as the bleed came on the back of placenta praevia and a pregnancy of recurrant bleeding. However, the transfusion never happened due to "confusion over my notes" and so I went home badly anaemic.

Given your situation (anaemic/diastasis/twins/toddler) I'm not surprised you're feeling fed up and exhausted. Unless people are in your situation or similar they're just NOT going to get it, which can make you feel even more isolated. If it's any consolation, things will get better. You can close a separation (either by surgery or physio/specifically tailored abdominal exercises) and you won't always look like this. And it's not vain to want your body back post-children. It can be hugely upsetting to be 'ravaged' post-birth and I found it very difficult in the first few months following my twins delivery. I had awful twin skin, a (small) separation that caused pouching around my belly button. And pre-babies I'd had a washboard stomach and had been a size 8 runner. It was hard. But I did my exercises and slowly things came back together again. My stomach will never be what it was as it has carried twins and the skin has lost a lot of it's elasticity, but if you didn't know me you wouldn't know and I'm happy with that.

So this is a waffling way of saying don't despair and don't be fobbed off. Push for help from your consultant and push and push for physio referrals. You may not need surgery - I saw a physio after my c section to break down my awful scar tissue (I had big problems with this due to healing issues and a haematoma) and she told me that she saw a lot of women with this problem and, through phsyio and specific, tailored exercises, saw really good results. It took time - a good six months she said - but she had closed six finger separations to less than two, which is a huge difference.

I hope you got on okay with your consultant and try not to feel blue. The first six months with twins is really hard and adding heavy blood loss and a weakened stomach and all the back pain issues that come with that mean that you're having a really tough time at the moment. You will get through it though so take heart.


BBeau Thu 11-Dec-08 22:26:30

Hello K, thank you for your message. I saw my consultant and he said he is referring me to a plastic surgeon as the muscles will need gauze put over them and a tummy tuck too as the skin is hanging right over my c sec scar. Its interesting what you have said though about the physio. I didnt really think that my physio was any good, in fact she didnt really give me any different excercises to the ones they gave me in hospital - just for bog standard c-sec's. I only saw her twice before she referred back to consultant. You can get about 5 or 6 fingers between my muscles when im relaxed but the weird thing is they close when i tense. I may try to look for a second physio's opinion. As i said before its so good to hear other people have these problems (not that id wish this on anyone), its just good to talk to people that understand. Most people just look at me as if to say 'well you had the kids'. Which i did but i was as shocked as hell when i fell with twins - of cause i wouldnt change it for the world now but it just annoys me when people think you have 'planned' twins???? My little boy is 2 and i think he is going through the terrible 2's as well! God knows what its going to be like when the twins are 2!hmm x

kitstwins Fri 12-Dec-08 10:14:37

Hi BBeau. Well that's good your consultant is referring you. It may well be that your seperation is quite severe (some are - nothing you've done to make that happen; just one of those unlucky things) and surgery is really the thing that will make the biggest difference. If the seperation is severe then the side effects can be huge - as you know. Aside from the issue of how you look (and the mental effect this can have) there's also the issue of referred pain from weakened abdominals. The risk of hernia is high and chronic back pain can occur as the abdominal muscles aren't in place to offer support. It is not to be underestimated.

It may well be that your referral takes a while to come through, in which case it might be worth asking your consultant to also refer you to an alternative physio as the one you had sounds pretty useless. You could also google the Tupler technique as this has fantastic results. I did these exercises to close my seperation. They are tiny movements that you do several times a day but they're quite intense and over the course of a few months they make a huge difference. There's a book (I bought mine off Amazon) but there's also websites that explain the movements and exercises. I've pasted a link here that's really useful: -


If you're feeling the seperation close when you tense then that's a good sign as your muscles are responding to movement. It may well be worth doing some of these exercises whilst you wait for your referral. They will help and it's also good for general stomach tone and pelvic floor strength, which is a bonus.

Hang in there BBeau. You're amazing for coping so well with toddler and twins!!


hugetum Tue 13-Jan-09 02:24:23

Hugetum 13/01/09

I have just discovered this site and l feel so overjoyed to know that there are other mums who feel the same as me. I had my 3rd child last july and it was my 3rd cs. It was only then that l discovered l had this separation of my stomach,even though l continued to have a bigtum after 1st cs. believe me l was huge when l was pregnant ( esp at 5ft 1), my stomach was so big and so low that it was literally hanging even during 2nd trimester. After the last cs,l was referred to a physio, l was measuring 8.5 fingers!! (gap). Unfortunately 6mths later l am still 7 fingers. Having read the reviews, like you mums l am a size 10 but a 16/18 over the stomach, l do look ready to give birth, and the constant remarks from people whether l am pregnant are hurting me. Despite dieting and exercising, l just cannot shift the weight from my stomach, even the Dr thought l was expecting. I am still wearing maternity tops. I am returning to work soon and l am dreading the comments from people of whether l am pregnant. Anyway l have finally been referred to see a specialist, l don't see the physio being that useful. I would like to consider the surgery, but the only problem is that l would like to have another baby, will this make the stomach worse. If surgery is offered immediately, l am tempted to forget having a 4th child, it will be so hard to recuperate with another infant child, apart from my husband l don't have any other help. I don't want to look like this, l don't want a washboard stomach, but l just want to look like a normal mum. If anyone has had the surgery, l would like to hear from you. How long did the recuperation take place?

annabach Fri 23-Jan-09 21:25:24

Hi all. I too have suffered from this condition after my first and second pregnancy. After baby number 2 I was 6 fingers separated and seriously contemplating surgery (the only thing that stopped me was the thought of the scar, plus the cost!). But I finally found some decent exercises to do that really seem to have made a difference, and I am now down to 1 finger separation (6 months after baby number 2) and it has started to close at the top and bottom - hooray! I wanted to share this as I was so depressed before, and maybe what worked for me might work for you.

Initially after baby number 1 I avoided all sit ups and things like that as I was told they would make the separation worse. Instead I followed religiously the exercises in a book called 'How to Lose Your Mummy Tummy', which many women swear by as they say it really reduced their separation. However, it didn't work for me, as by the time I became pregnant with baby number 2 I was still 3 -4 fingers separated and with a protuding pot belly (despite being a small size 10 everywhere else).

I then did the thing which I think made the real difference - I bought another book online called 'Exercise after pregnancy: how to look and feel your best' - and this one is packed full of graded exercises that gradually rebuild your core muscles and bring back together the separation. I liked this one better than the other book because it had a wider range of exercises, and worked on several abdominal muscles and not just the transverse. It was more interesting and varied, and for me it really brought results, as after just 10 mins each morning (ok - for six months) - I am now down to 1 finger separation and in parts it has closed altogether.

The one other thing I did was see a physio, and I took the book along with me. She helped me practise the exercises, and advised which ones I should do first (when my muscles were weaker) and helped give me the confidence to move to the tougher exercises over time by checking that they weren't making the separation worse. The physio was free of charge, as I linked up to her through the hospital after having baby number 2.

I swore I would share this with people on mumsnet because I know how miserable I was before, and how doubting I was that the problem could ever be fixed. Here's hoping it works for some of you!

honeydew Tue 27-Jan-09 22:53:20

HI everyone,

I'm so pleased that other people have responded to this thread and thanks for all the great advice with the exercises and positivity! I have just moved house, so put off my surgery for a few months. But I'm stalling really- I just can't face it right now. I know I need the op and get asked every other day when I'm due but want a break from hospitals! I'm just too scared to do it at the moment.I'm often in pain, my back hurts, I still have to wear maternity clothes ( my youngest is nearly 2 now!) and i feel like a fat old bag! I have to get it done soon but it's a big op and the recovery time so long.

But please keep posting with how things are with how people are coping, getting the separation down and it's so so helpful to know I'm not alone. People always say to me- 'oh how awful ,I've never heard of that' and on my bad days my husband gets the brunt of it all-poor love! Getting clothes that are comfortable is a nightmare - I'm size 10-12 top and 14 bottom and with the bump I look so frumpy and fat, even though my frame is small , I look really rotund! Coping with 3 under 5 is bloody hard when living with this condition. I swear my family have got used to me like this now and think I look normal! I'm going to get that book and try some more exercises to see if it helps. I feel really sluggish and slow with this- maybe that's just old age!!

I had two caesarians and two kids in two years and received (as a special free bonus) an incisional hernia after my muscles were cut badly in the surgery (ironically not in the emergency, but the planned cs) hmm.

I then had a repair - which btw is fucking painful for quite a long time and you can't lift at all - I had it when DS was a month old - was a nightmare. My stomach is now flat, although it doesn't have the definition it once had and my muscles are back together. Once you have a hernia, even without a separation you are always going to be lumpy.

I also have a big scar from the hernia repair. DS is six months old - I have a bigger scar from the hernia than the cs's

My abdominals were assessed recently as I have no sensation at all in my stomach now (thanks to the multiple surgeries) and apparently they are very good. But a week post partum I had four finger separation. shock

It's hard, but you can get over this. But prepare yourself for the surgery, it's very debilitating.

Tinkerbell1980 Mon 02-Feb-09 20:21:09

Hi guys,
Well, I had my surgery. When I arrived at the hosital on the day my muscles had seperated further, all the way up to my ribs! Therefore it was a bigger deal with a bigger scar than they first thought. All went well but when I woke from the anaesthetic I was in AGONY - no joke I'm no wimp (2 vaginal births, no drugs just gas & air and one C-section had one shot of mophine and then onto paracetamol - thats all I needed) they were pumping morphine into the canula in my hand and then gave me a patient-controlled device where I could press a button for more morphine when the green light came on - I felt like I spent the whole night just waiting for this little green light! I'm now 9 weeks after surgery and still struggling, it's been much harder than I inagined. I have a vertical scar from just under my ribs to my c-section scar - it's huge. I think the message I'm trying to get across is that this if not a 'free tummy tuck' it's major surgery and only go ahead if your muscles are really causing you trouble - as mine were. I'd done all the excerises with no effect so surgery was the last option, which is how it should be. I take my hat off to any of you who have been through the same, it's been hell, but I now have my strength back in my muscles, they're together so my tummy is back in a normal shape (although still swollen) and my back pain has all but dissapeared. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Good luck to you all, much love xxx

banjaxed Mon 02-Feb-09 21:05:35

Wow, what a lot of horrid experiences here. Hat's off to you tinkerbell for surviving the surgery, and good luck honeydew for yours if you opt for it.

I hadn't heard of this condition before, but I had it straight after my first pregnancy and still struggle with a size 14 belly (and size 10 hips - keeping trousers up is a nightmare!). Ironically, mine seemed to get worse after I left hospital I had an emergency c section and ragins SPD, so I wasn't remotely active for a long time. I seemed to vary from 2-5 or 6 fingers. It gets worse around the time of my period. I had a 9-week pregnancy recently and the gap just relaxed and got huge again almost immediately. I struggle with back pain, but had put that down to a dodgy hip joint and the fact that my LH rib cage is still flared from the pg (over 2 years later!!).

I started a pilates class after 6 months which I still continue with, but I got a pilates video for xmas which, as someone else on here said, does a wider range and more challenging stomach exercises than my class does. I've noticed a real difference - down to 1 finger now. But I remember that pain and feeling of things falling out of you all too well. My pilates teacher is a physio and she says that they probably will never go back together again. I just feel so sad at the thought of such challenging exercises being required to keep me even remotely fit and well, when everyone else seems to manage it no bother! And my shape is still very belly-heavy....

Good luck to you all. we need to keep going! BBeau - be kind to yourself and take things one baby step at a time. I was in no fit state to do anything serious about it until my lo was 2 - so you are amazing to me.

OTR Sun 08-Feb-09 22:55:37

Hello everyone Well how good it is to find all your info and comments on parted stomach muscles after birth. I have 2 boys - 6 and nearly 2. I had 2 emergency c sections and second ending in a gen anasthetic. My stomach went back reasonably well after my first boy (8lb 2oz) - infact very well when I compare myself now. After having my second little boy (8lb 13oz) my muscles separated a lot. I was referred to the hospital physio whilst I was still in after the c section. I went a couple of times and was told to keep doing the exercises. I was pretty good with the exercise but looking back I should have never stopped them. After a few months I went to see the doctor. I couldn't understand why I still had such a 'baby pod' which wasn't at all saggy but instead it was/is really firm. I lost all my pregnancy weight really quickly and am actually less now than when I became pregnant (I would love to put on more weight but it doesn't happen - lots of rushing around after 2 boys I guess). Anyway, the doctor just said that she thought it was likely that the cause was having had a large baby and me being very small framed. I accepted that as was feeling a bit vain about going to the doctors about this in the first place. I've only just gone back to the doctors about this again as I just knew my stomach wasn't right and started panicking that it could be down to all sorts of things. Different doctor immediately said it's because of my muscle separation in my stomach - you can fit 4/5 fingers in. I also have a small rupture to my belly button which protrudes. He told me there may be an option of plastic surgery and he would refer me if I wanted. I said I would think about it as the idea of surgery and gen anasthetic again scares me. I've done pilates for about 9 years but stopped a bit before each birth and it took me a year and a half after my second son to go back. Some days my tummy doesn't feel too bad and if I wear the right clothes, I feel OK. Other days (like today) and most evenings it feels so big and I look about 4/5 months pregnant in the wrong clothes or without clothes. It makes me feel quite squeamish to think whats going on under there because sometimes my tummy feels quite uncomfortable. It also probably explains why running 5/6/7 months after 2nd baby felt so uncomfortable (like my insides had no support). Anyway, I feel inspired by kitstwins comments and I am going to look into the Tupler technique. I'm a bit worried that some of my Pilates tummy exercise might have done more harm than good. Anyway - thats my long story!

hugetum Mon 09-Feb-09 04:42:18

Hi OTR, l can absolutely relate to you , exactly the same order of events for me as well. I had 3rd cs and whilst in hospital was refered to their physio's. I had 6mths of physio measuring 8 finger gap, no improvement( maybe down to 6.5 fingers), went to Dr, and she has referred me to see consultant as she thinks l have umbilical hernia. I have appt on 11/2 and l can't wait. I have been reading up alot on this area, and specially on Diastasis Recti (DR) and hernia. It appears that DR on its own, they tend not to push for surgery, because it is seen more of a cosmetic purpose.and so the only option then is to go private. However if it is hernia and it needs to be treated they tend to sort out the stomach as well, either by putting a "mesh" over the parted muscles and then fixing the hernia OR they may actually repair the DR by cutting and sewing the muscles back again and then repairing the hernia. I don't know whether it would be a vertical or horizontal scar, quite frankly l don't care!!. I am at that point in my life that l have decided not to have a 4th child and therefore surgery is the only option. Its been a few weeks but my back and belly button area has really started to hurt me and l am in agony...so bring on the surgery l say. Whats more l look like 8mths pregnant, l feel the stomach has gone bigger, despite me being petite. Also l don't think l can handle feeling mentally traumatised of carrying a huge bulge and constantly wearing maternity tops and constantly having to tell people l am not pregnant, it really hurts. Some people are in disbelief that l am not pregnant and question me further ...how insensitive. Will let you know what the consultant says. Its really good to speak to people l can really relate to, l mean it, l have read everyone's stories and all l can say is that l understand what you are all going through..god bless.

OTR Thu 05-Mar-09 21:58:44

Hello Bigtum . So sorry its taken a long time to reply - I was so pleased to see a response to my message. How did your appointment go? Since I posted my message, I have been following the Tupler technique (I got the book from Amazon). I am very dedicated and do the exercises every day. I feel determined to rectify my DR but then today at work I had a blow to my confidence when the cleaner asked if I was pregnant. I felt I had to justify why I had a pregnant looking stomach - it is very upsetting. The gap has closed by about 1 finger in the last 21/2 weeks but right now my stomach looks as big as ever. When I first get up, I feel really hopeful because my stomach is definitely smaller. I'm not sure about the rupture situation with my belly button - I'm wondering whether whilst I have this my belly will always protrude to some extent - i think I need to find out more. I've read loads about DR but still a bit unsure about the whole hernia aspect and how do you know if you have one. Anyway, I'd love to know how you got on at your appointment and what the next step is for you. Thanks so much for responding to my message. Take care.

hugetum Fri 06-Mar-09 13:11:03


I saw the PS on tues and l am just waiting for a dater for the Op in the nxt 2 mths. That will be for the repair of the hernia and DR and abdominplasty (tummy tuck!!) PS said DR can re occur again...although l do not intend to have any more kids. I hope they stitch me up using wire!!!! no l am not joking...l hope they also put in a mesh....we will c. Will let u know date of surgery.

hugetum Sat 07-Mar-09 07:34:24

Hi again OTR

Continue with this tuplar method, if u can close the gap then go for it. If u have a hernia, u should c dr bcoz left unattended it can cause complications in the future. If it needs surgery to repair it, then have it done. What l have learnt is that DR on its own, it is considered cosmetic for NHS to repair it and give u a tummy tuck. they will never touch u unless u go private. However having hernia is gives u a passport to getting ur DR repaired at the same time with a tummy tuck thrown in. I too have had the same conversation with the cleaner, security , staff and members of the public, it is upsetting. I do look 8mths pregnant and apart from my belly l am skinny.

OTR Wed 11-Mar-09 17:01:10

Hi hugetum!
Great to hear that you are now waiting for the op - I know it must be a bit scary but its also positive and hopefully its given you a big boost.
I've been wearing a tummy splint since Saturday - which is just a long strip of fabric which you use to pull in each side of the separated stomach muscles and then secure firmly at the back. I'm wearing it all the time for the first week and then when doing any exercise/house work etc. It will be 4 weeks on Saturday that I have been following the Tupler technique and I've resisted measuring my diastasis and distance round my middle for about 2 weeks. I'm going to check on Saturday whether I've managed to close the gap any more (I am feeling a little bit hopeful I have to say as my stomach is definitely looking different but don't want to get too excited incase the gap is still the same!). Anyway - its good to hear from you - keep me posted!

rosieroos Thu 12-Mar-09 22:57:01

What a relief hear from mums with the same complaint as me!!!!
I have Diastasis Recti, following the birth of my 6+ pound twins in Feb last year. I have been to see a private plastic surgeon who recommended the repair operation. My separation is about 5 fingers. I have contacted my private medical insurance who have refused to cover it on the grounds that it is for cosmetic reasons. I would like to see them care for two active and HEAVY twins whilst suffering with a bad back! Has anyone had any luck with a claim? I would love to hear from you and any advice re the operation itself

honeydew Tue 14-Apr-09 01:15:55

Well, I've put myself on the waiting list for my surgery again so I might get it it in July/ August.

I sometimes wear a tummy/abdomen belt- like bit like a corset with velcro which pulls me all together but it's only of limited use. I still look pregnant in it and after a while it really hurts because of my hernia. I can only wear it for about 3-4 hours but then have to take it off. I look absolutely huge today. I looked at myself in the train window reflection on the way home today and thought why me?! I was only a size 6-8 before kids and now with this tummy I look like a pregnant hefer. I really did feel sorry for myself, I have to say sad. Other women have 3 kids and don't get this!It's so ugly and debilitating. It really is a disfigurement and I do get down some days.

I saw my surgeon last week and he told me my linea alba and abdominal muscles are far to far apart for any exercise to help and that my hernia is large. he said there was nothing I could have done to have prevented this, but having 3 big babies in 3 years did not help! So I know it was my fault, although I didn't know this could happen as a result. I didn't have it giving birth to my 10lb son by emergency C Section- only after my 3rd did it show.

This big bump looks so weird on my little frame as well and perhaps I should look forward to the surgery instead of dreading it, I don't know. my tummy is all mishapen too and feel very uncomfortable, let alone the stretch marks and section overhang! It's truly horrid,debilitating and really disgusting sad. I really do look about 6 months gone. It stops me doing things like running, keeping fit through any vigorous exercise, making love is problematical blush, I can't lift because of the hernia etc etc etc.

People moan about episiotomy's, baby flab and all the general woes of having babies like saggy boobs, but I can;t help thinking- 'well at least you haven't got a huge distended pregnant looking abdomen, a hernia, a general feeling of discomfort, stuck in maternity clothes and facing major surgery to have a normal body again'! I know I sound unkind, but no one I know has ever even heard of this before. Most people I know are used to me looking like this now and think I'm forever pregnant! My self esteem is really low some days as my body has been ruined by this condition.

Sorry- having a rant as I feel so isolated and miserable about it.

hugetum- please keep us all up to date with your op. Mine will be at Guy's hospitial- are you in London?

I still find it odd that this condition is so not really well known and I was not informed about it before I had children or in any leaflet given me by my doctor.

Thanks all for not being to harsh on me- just a bad day!

honeydew Tue 14-Apr-09 01:33:07

Hugetum- if you're in London or if any one else is then please post on how things go.

My other problem is sorting childcare- what a nightmare!It's only really mad people who can cope with a five, 3 and 2 year old and my husband only gets 2 weeks off!

Just for info about hernia's- you know if you have one because it protrudes through your belly button and is very painful when pressed. It can go from not being that noticable to being very uncomfortable, depending on the day. You can really hear your intestines digesting food as well becasue part of your gut is in the wrong place. If the abdominal separation is wide enough ,it acts an open door and the intestine falls through the gap and towards the front of your tummy. Long term the condition has bad side effects as the lack of abdominal strenth pulls constantly on your back, causing pain and bad posture. Well it does mine anyway!

If you have Diastasis Recti and a hernia, the NHS will repair it and give you a free tummy tuck.

Sooo many people ask if I'm pregnant- does my head in. I say 'yes' to shut them up otherwise I have explain what is the matter with me! I do actually look very pregnant through so i don't blame them.

I've just read this post and it's obvious I really must go ahead with this operation to get my life back!

hugetum Fri 17-Apr-09 12:06:25


Hi, unfortuntately l am still waiting for a date for the surgery, the problem is trying to get the plastic and General surgeon together on the same date! Now they are saying it could be sometime in June, but l have no date yet. My gap is really wide and yes the intestines fall out and l look 8mths pregnant.

I too am having nightmares about childcare and l am trying my best to avoid having the in laws here!!. It is really hard.

I work with the public and when asked when l am due, l just say "not for a while",it is depressing not able to wear nice fitting clothes. Hey on the bright side, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, l have the operation to look forward to.

hugetum Fri 17-Apr-09 12:17:45


Please don't despair, you are not alone, believe me ask me!!!! I know exactly what you are feeling, down to the last emotion!!. I too have a very small frame, all you can see is this huge tummy. I too have three kids 7, 3, and 9mths and l do not intend to have anymore, not after the operation!!!! no way, l would like to have my body back. You see this condition looks worse on a person with a small frame. I am in London. I am looking forward to going for a big shopping spree after getting a new body, l hope they do abit of liposuction at the same time. Hang in there, it is hard, l know.

cakewench Sun 19-Apr-09 21:28:57

A few of you have mentioned seeing the physio to learn some exercises- did you need to be referred by the GP for this? Sorry to be so clueless blush , I've just never seen one before...

skramble Sun 19-Apr-09 21:35:21

Is it possible to have this condition and the doctors to to have noticed. I had never heard of this and just accepted that my stomach was wrecked after having a 11lb 7oz baby, then a little 9lb 4oz.
How do you know it is this condition and not just a saggy belly, how do they measure it.

I asked my GP a few years ago about surgery and he just laughed it off. Even if I lose weight I am left with a distended flop over belly and it gives me no incentive to lose weight as is still just hangs there.

Mummyfor3 Sun 19-Apr-09 21:44:09

Here is an easy way to check whether you have diastesis recti and not just a post-baby jelly-belly wink like me:

Lie on your back, put one hand one your "midline" above your belly-button and lift your head off the floor/bed. If you can feel a gap of more than 1 or 2 finger widths between your left and right side and are uncomfortable, get yourself checked out.

The rectus muscles run up and down the front of your abdomen and are connected/separated by a gristly ligament which can get overstretched/tear in pregnancy.
Overhanging belly is more to do with wt gain/loss. Much as things do contract with time (and exercises) a true rectus gap will not just heal on its own.

skramble Sun 19-Apr-09 21:55:44

Thanks Mummyfor3 tried that and I don't feel a gap or discomfort.
Mine must just be stretched from having a big baby. Always hoped it would shrink a bit but after 12 years and a second baby it looks much the same. I relly need to do my exercises more regularly I think the pilates type ones might help to firm my tummy a bit but never going to lose the over hang I think.

kim111 Tue 21-Apr-09 21:06:06


Just wondering if anyone can help me? I have DR and a hernia after having twins 10 months ago. I went to the doctors about it about 2 months after having my boys and the doctor just laughed and said to do some sit ups.... I asked her to refer me to a physio which she reluctantly did and I have been doing exercises 4-5 times a week ever since (not sit ups!). The exercises have helped - I'm now down to a 2 finger separation instead of 6 fingers but I still look at least 4 months pregnant and am just getting really really sick of it; both the way it looks and feeling so weak in my stomach. Also I keep getting trapped wind blush - something that I am sure is related to the hernia as it was never a problem before....

Anyway reading this post has made me decide to see the doctor again as I'd really like to find out about the surgery. My question is - to those who have been successful in getting referred on - what did you say to your GP?! I really don't want her just laughing again...

Also another question - a stupid one really - can I lie on my stomach?! I have never dared to incase my intestines got trapped or something! If anyone knows I'd really love to know! Thanks grin

Mummyfor3 Tue 21-Apr-09 22:45:19

Hi, Kim,
easy answer first: yes, you can safely lie on your front as long as you are comfortable in that position.
As you have let time pass since your twins (congratulations, I am amazed that you have time/energy/inclination to do stomach exercises grin) AND have done physio advised exercises with some success, I think it would be very reasonable to see GP again and ask for referral to plastic surgeon for assessment. Technically what you are after is an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck and is offered on the NHS only under special rules which vary considerable from health board to health board.
Where I work (Scotland) you would certainly be seen, but would have to meet psychological criteria as well as surgical ones before offered surgery. A full abdominoplasty involving skin, subcutaneous fat, several layers of muscle is quite big surgery with potentially long recovery times and will leave you with a big scar - below the bikini line, though. Make sure you get all the info before you commit.
What should you say to your GP? - Personally I respond well to people telling me what bothers them and asking to be referred. From what you are describing, as I said, IMO referring you for further assessment would be v reasonable. Everything further is then up to the surgeon...
If your GP was laughing the last time you saw her, can you see another dr in the same surgery or even change surgery? Or was it a sympathetic smile? - we get saggy jelly bellies too... <<hopeful emoticon>>

Good luck!

Gugubuyaha Fri 24-Apr-09 23:15:43

Hi everyone on Mumsnet!

I have read your notes in a breath and have felt both relieved and saddened at the same time seeing there are so many women out there who share my prob!

I am 40 and have 2 kids of 10 years & 2 years of age.

My prob is also a "protruding belly" which I call a "divine heritage" after the 2nd baby that came with an unplanned c-sec opposed to the all-natural birth I had had with the 1st baby...

I had had no prob going back into my usual slim self and flat-tummy after the 1st baby... but this one cmae with a high price in my mid section... I am sick of looking still pregnant almost 2 years after the delivery...

My tummy is not too bad in the mornings (I can pull it in and fit into my jeans okey..) but it gets bloated feeling and looking and gets hard as soon as I eat something and will stay so all day long making me look 4/5 months pregnant... Once my tummy gets bloated, NO strength of pulling in will help... I just need to go around looking bloated and pregnant... This has ben so ever since the c-section day... in fact, the few days following the birth, the nurses at the hospital thought may be another baby was still in there looking at my still-7-month-pregnant-looking stomach... It has gone down substantially since, but just not down to where I can say "yes, I'm back"...

NO, I am not back... I am still looking 5 months pregnant majority of the day... And I feel depressed and desparate... Especially since I have always been a very slim person who never knew what it means to restrict herself from wearing what she just likes without worrying about any part of her body to pop out...

The strange thing is that I do not have abdominal seperation (I have tested it several times... it is less than 2 fingers width) so what is the reason of my protruding bloated pot belly?

Could anyone answer whether my case could be "extremely weak stomach muscles" and that I need to get them strengthened with very dedicated and very long-term specific exercise?

I have read about bowel adhesion stories, IBS stories, etc. but not sure what...

I have been doing pilates (1-to-1) for the last 5-6 weeks but cannot see any improvement yet... and since I have read so much I know I am doing the exercises correctly and I know which movements to avoid in order to focus only on the TAs for now...

Any ideas, suggestions, comments...?

Desparate Mom of 2...

8oreighty Sun 26-Apr-09 21:04:29

I had this after having twins...when they were about 8 months old I had it repaired...since it was classified as a hernia I could have it done on my health insurance. It made a huge difference and gave me a waist again...but still have loads of skin etc..basically the dr just sewed my sixpack muscles back together...

Cazzaben Sun 26-Apr-09 21:21:49

I wish I had some help for you...

I had my last baby just over a year ago... Was an elective section (although I would say it was more of an emergency as I had an anterior Major Placenta Praevia) anyway....
I have spoken to my doctor about my muscles in my tummy for I too have this great big gap. I only have to stand up to see it. I was told I needed to lose weight (im only a size 14) I could do with losing a stone or so but im no way huge... The middle part of my stomach looks like it 7 months pregnant... I hate this. I was told by my GP also that it will never be the same again as that what babies do??!! I've also seen him sooo many times about SPD (I had this from 11 weeks of pregnancy and still suffer with it now). My GP also just prescribed me with codeine and said there is nothing they can do about that either. I did go and get a second opinion on the SPD and I'm on the waiting list for physio.

Anyway after reading everyones experiences on here I think I will go back to my GP and ask about some physio or surgery on my tummy. I think mine is 5 fingers apart. (thats if im doing it right???
Its not right that we have to suffer with this... Gugubuya I hope you get it sorted... 2 years is such a long time. I thought I was bad with 1 year!!!

kim111 Wed 29-Apr-09 22:33:36

Thank you so much Mummyfor3 for your reply, it really answered all my questions I've decided to wait a bit longer before aproaching my GP as I think looking after my boys during the operation recovery period would be pretty much impossible! I have tried lying on my stomach and it was fine! It gave me a bit of backache but I'm used to that.

Not sure if anyone knows the answer to this but would bodyboarding with a DR be a really stupid thing to do?! I normally go surfing quite a bit in the Summer/Autumn but have decided that popping up from lying down to standing on the board would be way too much for my stomach to cope with but I can't bear the thought of just sitting on the beach...

Gugubuyaha Sun 03-May-09 22:19:06

Hi Cazzaben and All,

I have read all of the posts here again on Diastasis Recti and am feeling confused whether my prob is also Diastasis Recti or extremely weak stomach muscles... or perhaps both...-?

When I measure myself for DR, I can fit about 1 and a half fingers in... Whether this is in fact a gap or not that is big enough to cause my protruding belly; I guess I should just think that it is so and follow the exercises for fixing DR first and then focus on strengthening my overall stomach muscles starting with and prioritising the transverse.

Cazzaben, Julie Tupler, author of "Lose Your Mummy Tummy" says DR can still be fixed with the Tupler exercises several years post childbirth... I shall get her book & DVD and follow both that and Helene Byrne's "Exercise After Pregnancy, How to Look & Feel Your Best" and hope for the best...

corsel Thu 07-May-09 18:52:19

Hi all and my deepest sympathy..its good to find you as I also have been extremely sad about looking 6 months pregnant since my youngest is a year old now.

I went to my GP today and after an examination of my stomach he has referred me to a physio. I will keep you updated on what happens next.

Cazzaben Sun 17-May-09 23:07:04

Just an update... I went to see my GP and he has refered me for surgery. I have an appt on 2nd June with the surgeon. He told me that I have a gap of 6 fingers? I didnt realise it was quite so big or that it can get that big!!! Is he talking right or does he have no idea what he's talking about. I honestly thought he would send me away. Funny too that he looked at my notes and can see that since I've had my son I have been complaining of constant back apin he told me Diastasis Recti can cause back pain as the spine is taking a lot of the pressure my muscles should be. I've also been getting pain just under my breastbone that I can only describe as being like gallstone pain (I've had that removed thank goodness!!)
but does anyone else know if pain is normal??
I just didnt know if all this sounds right or if my GP is palming me off to stop me moaning about my back to him???

Sorry if it doesn't make sense!??!?!

hugetum Thu 21-May-09 14:46:29

Hi Cazzaben,

Nope the Dr knows what he is talking about, and quite right that he has referred you to the surgeon. Well l a finally have a date for the surgery...mid june. I am excited and also a little nervous...but more excited. I shall keep you all posted of how the surgery went. I have just been trying to take some pictures of my tummy, so l can compare the before and after !! It is not a pretty site..believe me...l now look full 9 mths preggers!!! I have been reading up on the surgery, and they say to get the maximum effect of the abdominoplasty, it is wise to be as close to your ideal weight as possible. Unless l can lose a stone and a half ( which is all on my stomach!!), l am hoping i can see the difference, hey l am not saying that they will transform me into the waistline of Angelina Jolie, but l guess it will be a marked improvement. Please all say a little pray for me.

honeydew Sun 07-Jun-09 22:02:19

hi hugetum,

good luck with your surgery, I'm on the waiting list and have still put it off even though I too look 9 months pregnant.

I have to have the full works too- hernia repair, muscle stitching and abdominoplasty.

Are you have your surgery in London? Mine is a Guys, so if yours is in the area, please let me know. My tum is terrible too, sooo uncomfortable at times and I have to wear maternity clothes, I've no choice. I do have an abdomen corset which I wear when I go out to help my confidence although I can only wear it for a few hours.

Are you a slim woman too? I was size 6-8 kind of 23 inch waist before kids at 32, and had 3 children in 3 years at 8 and 1/2 lbs, 10lbs and 9lbs and basically bust my guts!!

please keep my in touch with your progress. I started this thread as I felt so alone with this disfiguring condition which is so little known about.

I'm due my surgery later this year if I can face it!

If you would like some support,then please let me know and I'll mail you my details. You should see my tummmy! I'm a size 12 now but look about 6 months gone. Organising childcare if he biggest nightmare I think, so if you need to chat, let me know.

hugetum Wed 10-Jun-09 23:56:31

Hey Honeydew hope u are well , my op is in a couple of days, l can't wait...the only reservation l have is that lhope l wake up from the anaesthetic!!!. No joking aside, JUST GET IT DONE, don't wait around thinking whether you should or not. Ask yourself this, do you want to walk around for the rest of your life looking like this...probably not. I am constantly in a bad mood, snapping away at family members, it's because l am sick to death of dragging this excess weight around and not being able to enjoy wearing nice clothes. Today l took some photo's of my tum...you know the before and after pictures. I showed the photos of my current tum to a group of my very close friends and their mouths had dropped and they were speechless and they said " well yes thats quite a stomach you have there. I have looked at every internet photo concerning abdominoplasty the before pictures and you know what, l have the worst stomach EVER...it is huge!!! l am a size 10/12 waist, very slim all over except the stomach. I would not wish this condition on my worst enemy. Ok l know l will not look like Angelina Jolie after the op, but it will be a damn site improvement to what it is now. Make sure you are done with having your family, otherwise there is no point it will rip open again. I am in Berkshire, l will be in touch after the op. I know the first 10 days are going to be tough..to straighten up. When l had the c- section last year, the surgeons told me they had put 2 stitches inside to hold the muscles together, and that was a sheer killer, it took me a few days to straigen up. I don't drink, but l will probably be reaching for the whisky to dim the pain!!!!!!.

Flo7000 Tue 16-Jun-09 19:07:40

I'm looking for friendship/support with any women out there who suffer with pain with their diastasis recti muscles after birth. My pain began immediately after the birth of my daughter 4 years ago and 3 years down the line discovered an epigastric hernia after various medical errors and being fobbed off my GP. I had surgery 9 months ago and surgeon repaired hernia and also brought together my stomach muscles however I still have pain when I am active. Can be anything from housework to walking too fast. Very debilitating and very hard to cope with 2 small children and work etc. I do pilates type exercises every day as given by a physio but still no improvement to the pain. Has anyone had their recti muscles repaired and taken a long time to recover? I'm wondering if my muscles will ever regain strength. Any advice from anyone else suffering similar would be much appreciated. I feel a complete freak at the hospital now - even the physio says she has not come across this problem for this long before.

patriciawentworthheroine Wed 17-Jun-09 19:04:06

I am in the same boat as all of you - big DR, lovely hernia bump on the left side of my stomach. I am going back to work in two weeks and DREADING the raised eyebrows. I work in London so the worst thing is people offering me a seat on the tube shock

However I am going to have NHS surgery - at the end of next week. Tbh I am not absolutely sure what it involved. Surgeon just said 'yes we can fix that' and I leapt at it, he could have been suggesting anything.

Combination of major surgery, imminent return to work and massive post-surgery childcare issue (I have three under six) is freaking me out right now. But on the other hand I loathe my deformed stomach and feel like a freak so here goes. I just hope it doesn't hurt too much!

Hugetum I also am in Berkshire. Reading - where are you?

hugetum Wed 17-Jun-09 22:50:22

Hello Everyone yes she's back it's Hugetum ...well not big tum anymore. I had the surgery last friday and l have just returned home. Well what can l say...it was remarkable but l was walking straight upright the day after the surgery. I thought l would be stooped for the first few days. The pain has been moderate...unless l have a high pain threshhold. I hated the after effects of the drugs...they made me really nauseated...that was about the worse of it. Ok the down side of it is now that l am at home...it is daunting with the child care..l am not meant to lift my 11 month old...but when u are alone that is impossible. I am wearing a binder which is meant to be my best friend for the next six weeks. I still have not had a full shower yet because l just had the second drain taken out today...so l have not dared look in the mirror. All l can say is that the bump has gone and l am happy so far with my figure. I have noticed that most of my stomach is still pretty numb but they say the feeling will eventually return...could take months. Right now l did enjoyed having the endless sleepless naps in the hospital..l got to the point l was persuading the surgeons to let me stay on a bit longer. However l was told that l was more likely to catch an infection at the hospitalif l stayed there. I just want peace and quiet and just everyone to leave me alone..l am feeling discomfort. Oh by the way it took me 6 days to get my bowels in order... the relief was heaven!!!! I am feeling really tired will keep u updated. All l can say is that anyone contemplating surgery...do so..it is well worth it

patriciawentworthheroine Thu 18-Jun-09 13:30:23

Hi hugetum (not any more)

I'm so glad you've made it through the surgery and think it was worth it.

btw did it feel a little weird to go through all that surgery and not then be presented with a newborn baby at the end??? I've never ever been in hospital apart from for my 3 c-sections and I'm quite excited about the idea of post-op recovery in hosp WITHOUT trying to breastfeed a newborn at the same time!

Anyway it's great that it went well and you're pleased with the results - and that it didn't hurt as much as you thought it might. (Good news for those of us who are also about to go for it!)

Can I just ask - do you know why you had a tummy tuck as well as the DR and hernia repaired? The surgeon I saw (who took about 2 secs to explain what he would be doing and I just nodded dazedly) simply said he would repair the H and the DR and didn't mention tummy tucks so I'm assuming I don't need one/am not getting one but I don't know quite know what the reasoning is.

My op is next Friday.

honeydew Fri 19-Jun-09 13:31:42

hi Hugetum,

you are sooo brave and giving me the strength to go through with it. You sound exactly like me- size 10-12, huge huge diastasis and in constant discomfort.

Where did you have it done? I've had my date through today -3rd August at Guys by a very good plastic surgeon. is my D Day and the only ting I fear is not waking up from the anaesthetic.

How do you feel? Having had one emergency and one planned section and one natural birth, I know what C- Section s are like. How does it compare?

Congratualtions on not being hugetum anymore- this is really helping me face the op. I have had three DC in 3 years and if I was ever pregnant again, I cut my right arm off because I've suffered so much with this condition. It sounds like you were in and out sooner than you thought? How is the childcare going? Thanks so much for getting back on the thread and keep us all posted.

patriciawentworthheroine- good luck with you op. You should have the tummy tuck really if you ahve the DR and hernia. That's what they offered me, so it should be the same for you as well. Let us all know how things progress

honeydew Fri 19-Jun-09 13:53:19

to hugetum, patricia and anyone else who has had or is contemplating surgery fairly soon in and around the London/South East area.

If, when we have all had our surgery and recovered enough by say September when the kids go back to school, perhaps we could all meet up for a drink/coffee somewhere fairly convenient to all of us.

I have never met anyone else who's suffered this dreadful condition and I would love the opportunity to to discuss and share our experiences; how we have all coped with the Diastasis Recti/hernia while looking after babies and children, the disfigurement,pain, operation, etc.

I've got a 5 year old, 3 and 2 year old and it has been a nightmare trying to cope with this condition for the last 18 months while looking after them and running a home. (and 4 cats!). People always talk about the challenges of raising babies/young children, but with this condition as well, it has made the struggle doubly hard and I have no one to relate to, except those on this thread who've suffered like myself.

I met a lady today who asked me if I was pregnant. How many people have asked me that?! It's soooo bloody annoying! Well, I'm more determined than ever now to go through with the op, it's just the overwhelming fear I have to control.

Please let me know if any of you would like to meet later in the year for ongoing support, sharing experiences etc.

Perhaps central London would be a good place to meet.

dorindabrown Fri 19-Jun-09 20:38:59

Hi everyone

I love the idea of all meeting up - imagine us in a busy cafe comparing our tummies!

Although I live in London, I will be back at work in London soon, so a central London meet-up would be a goer.

Not looking forward to my colleagues all thinking I'm already pg AGAIN.

I read someone on another messageboard somewhere who says when it happens to her, she looks the questioner straight in the eye and says 'No it's just fat left over from the last one' and the questioner backs away, totally embarrassed. It might almost be worth trying despite the cost to one's own self-esteem.

btw have changed my sign-off from patriciawentworthheroine, which was a bit of a mouthful. (It's now Dorinda Brown who is, in case you are wondering, a heroine of a Patricia Wentworth novel.)

hugetum Tue 23-Jun-09 21:57:59

Hi DorindaBrown and Honeydew

The recovery was or has been fine, except for the other evening, l sneezed suddenly and caught it suddenly clutching my stomach,it hurt but l thought nothing of it. The next day l woke up and had the most excruciating pain ever in my life ( worst than contractions!!!). I was due to go to have my dressingins changed that day and l told them but they just said l may have caught the sneeze just under my ribs...especially as l was sitting on the floor. It is much better now. Anyway had the dressing removed and just wearing the binder 24/7. Saw my tummy for the first time, at first l thought l had two belly buttons, but the nurse said that at some point in a few months l will just have minor surgery under local anaesthetic just to put a "dart in the skin..near the ribs to close up any loose skin. She said it was a bit like sewing, when you have to put a dart in to tighten a garment. I am not too worried, it still looks good. I don't want to delude anyone, but please don't be alarmed if you find some parts of your stomach numb, especially below the bikini lie, its perfectly normal and can take months to heal.
As far as l know when you have DR repaired, it means they tighten the muscles and remove the excess skin. My procedure was called abdominal reconstruction, apparantly abdominoplasty is not available on the NHS,l think my op involved a bit more than the usual abdominoplasty. If and when we do meet up, maybe we can bring our "before " pictures of our tums. You will probably be shocked when you see mine, thats why l am more than content with what l have now, because prior to the op it was a shocking sight. Good luck with your op of friday Dorinda and don't worry have faith in god that you return safely to your family. I was in hospital for days and made most of the rest and would have done everything in my power to stay a bit longer!!! I live in windsor, l have had my mum over for nearly 3 weeks, she has been doing all the cooking and has been much help. She is old so l don't expect her to do the cleaning. However she is going back this week. I cannot drive for at least 6 weeks. The school runs are a problem, but l have some good friends who have been helping me, the rest my hubby manages.

hugetum Tue 23-Jun-09 22:03:58

I meant to say 6 days in hosp

hugetum Wed 01-Jul-09 14:44:18


I have been thinking about you, l hope the operation went well.

Just a few thoughts l thought l would share, l think it is quite important to share information on what effect majory surgery can have on your general and emotional well being. If anyone experiences what l am feeling please don't despair, you are not ALONE and that these symptons are quite normal. I did jump the gun abit too fast...the actual recovery of the actual op is going well, BUT the feeling of nausea never left me when l left the hospital. I developed a cough...which irritated the stomach (pulling on the muscles), with production of gallons and gallons og "congestion". The dr prescribed me a cough medicine, to relieve the pain on the stomach. I continuously kept getting feeling of nausea and on a few occasions vomiting. I hardly ate anything, cracker the most, returned back to the dr, because l was getting hot and cold sweats and just broke down. Turns out l had a secondary infection..chest infection..quite common after surgery. I am on antibiotics...when l can keep them down, but the nausea feeling still lingers. Then there is the dark side...has anyone who has had the op..had any sort of "feeling really down" maybe cos l felt so ill. All the thoughts of whether the op was worth it...esp how sick l was feeling. My hubby has been supportive, l think it's because l am not eating much and all the tablets taken on an empty stomach does have an effect.

It is no walk in the park this surgery, but it is worth it. When you have flu like symptoms and feel absolutely crap..u can't help but cry. I know i will come through this...just a matter of time. The wound is healing nicely..and in time the surgeons will remedy the minor imperfections known as "dog ears", performed under a local anaesthetic to tie up any imperfections in the skin. I am quite happy popping my pain killers but someone please take away this feeling of nausea, it really makes you feel absolutely crap ( plse excuse my language)

dorindabrown Fri 03-Jul-09 15:26:24

Hi hugetum (and others)

Sorry you're feeling bad, hugetum. You're right - operations are no joke. Your experience sounds similar to mine - came out of my operation on Friday with agonizing pain. It was meant to be day surgery but they kept me in overnight. I was sent home on Friday but ended up going back into hospital (via A&E) the same night as I felt so terrible. I was there for two nights before I finally came home.

Like you I've been throwing up loads - reaction to the general anaesthetic I guess. They gave me an anti-emetic drug in the hosp which helped. I also had agonizing cramps in my tummy, which are now gone thanks to a stronger painkiller - stronger than codeine and paracetamol, that is, which is what I tried to manage with when I left hosp.

I feel okay now, physically - well a little tired and uncomfortable but that's it. But for me, the big downer has been the lack of actual change in my appearance.

Thing 1) the surgeon said that I had misunderstood the initial consultation and they would not operate on the DR. In fact, he said that he never does and indeed NO ONE does. It's impossible to operate on, according to him. I was - well, I would say gutted but perhaps not on this occasion. So that means I am STUCK with the diastasis recti forever, unless I choose to go private.

Thing 2) they operated on the hernia and said it was a success but frankly my stomach looks exactly the same as before, ie hideous. I realise I have to wait a while for the swelling to go down, it's only been a week, but I am not very hopeful. I did not expect the stomach of Pamela Anderson, but I did expect to see a change and I just can't.

I will post back if it starts to look better, but right now, my advice to people awaiting ops is that i hope you DO get the DR operation if it was promised to you, and make sure you get something better than paracetamol and codeine for the pain.

hope you feel better soon hugetum.

dorindabrown Fri 03-Jul-09 16:37:29

Forgot to say - due to the non-existent DR element of my op, I am back to thinking about the Julie Tupler book and anything else that may work on my separated tummy muscles.

Does anyone have a positive 'yes it worked' recommendation for the Tupler book - or anything else for that matter?

hugetum Fri 03-Jul-09 19:31:11

Hi Dorindabrown,

I am so glad you are ok but really disappoined why they had not performed the DR, really confused. I would go back to your dr and try again. I was on stronger pain killers than what you are on, which were causing me severe nausea, went back to the dr yesterday who advised me to come off the painkillers and try paracetomal, l feel a little better today. Will spk soon.

kim111 Sat 04-Jul-09 14:25:58

Hi Dorindabrown

I've been watching this thread for a bit as I also have/had DR and a hernia. Just wanted to say that I'm so gutted for you to have gone through major surgery to not get your DR repaired, that is just SO bad

I have a kind of "yes it worked" story for you though. I started doing exercises recommended to me by a physio 10 months ago and my DR has reduced from 6 fingers to 1 in that time. I still have a protruding stomach though (I'm thinking that the exercises I did closed the diastasis but didn't strengthen the rest of my stomach much so will go back to the physio and get some new exercises sometime). Having said that my stomach protrudes a lot less now and infact I have lost 11cm off my waist since last September, this doesn't sound that much but if you put a tape measure round your waist then let it out 11cm it's quite a difference. It also means that if I wear a slightly baggy top I don't look pregnant at all! I'm still wearing trousers that are bigger than the rest of me (so they're always slipping down hmm) but not maternity trousers anymore!

Also there is someone on MN who has had success with the Julie Tupler technique called kitstwins, check out this link http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk?topicid=childbirth&threadid=754497-HELP-WRONG-Pilates-Exercises-Worsened -My-Abdominal-Separation#15411326

I definitely think (well know) that exercises can at least improve a DR. If you or anyone else would like to know the exercises I did please contact me and I'll send them to you

kim111 Sat 04-Jul-09 14:27:25

Sorry didn't do the link properly...

soneliz Thu 09-Jul-09 12:02:59

Hi everyone!
I've been watching this thread recently and would like to say well done to Hugetum (not anymore) for going through with the op. You've really given me some hope.
I have 4 boys aged 15, 3, 2 and 8 months. My first birth was an emergency c-section followed by 3 natural births all 16 months apart, hence my diastasis recti. I was referred to a consultant at my local hospital in April and after discussions told that I would be eligible for abdominal surgery. Although I would not say I am overly overweight( I am 5'3" and 10 stone 8) I have been told to lose a stone in time for my next appointment in October whereupon I will be given a date for surgery. From initial talks I understand my op will be the one that involves a vertical incision and some sort of mesh used to pull my ab muscles back in place.
Some of you have mentioned the Tupler technique being really good and I have been wondering if it would be worth me doing some of these exercises before the op to help lose weight? Hugetum, did you do any sort of physical activity before you had your op, have to lose weight etc?...

hugetum Sat 11-Jul-09 17:33:45

HI Soneliz

I was 10st 6lb and tried to do the atkins diet in 3wks!, but then l changed my mind because it was drastic and l was having major surgery and did not want to hinder my recovery. you have plenty of time to lose wait, so sensible eating and exercise is the key. Don't go for these fad diets coz you will put the weight back on. I am 5ft 1and a half and l just had all the weight on my tummy. After the op l was 10st and l am now evenly proportioned. When l am fully recovered, l will try to lose another stone so that i am my ideal pre pregnancy weight. I feel so much better since l came off the pain killers which were causing me nausea. The only problem l am experiencing is that the surgeons squeezed everything that was hanging out back into my new stomach (all the intestines),there is alot of presssure down below and sometimes l feel something will pop out down below!!! but l will do my pelvic floor exercises. Good look with the surgery it is worth it, p.s did you say you had hernia as well?? and why will you be having a vertical cut????


dorindabrown Sat 11-Jul-09 21:45:16

Hi everyone

My post-surgery stomach looks remarkably like the old one - ie I STILL look pg and the hernia bulge is still there. ???? So when I am sure the post-op swelling is gone, I will go back to the GP to whine/ask for some sort of explanation.

I am baffled as to why my surgeon said he didn't do the DR surgery because 'it doesn't work and there is no point' if everyone else is having it - ????

In the meantime I've got the Tupler book so that I can --try and work on my mummy tummy--feel, however spuriously, like I am doing something. (If that doesn't work, there was meant to be strikethrough in there.)

Glad to hear knocking off the painkillers helped, notsohugetum. Personally I found codeine made me as sick as a dog so almost anything else was preferable.

It's great, as ever, to hear from everyone else in this boat. The Tupler book claims that an incredible 98% of post-partum women have a diastasis - can this be true??????

Okay - off to audition long, flowing tops in my wardrobe as I returned to work last week and since my baby is almost 1, they were ill-prepared for my arrival with huge distended tum. At least no one has asked if I am pg yet but watch this space....

honeydew Wed 15-Jul-09 14:15:29

Hi hugetum and dorindabrown-

how is your recovery now? I am due my operation in just under 3 weeks and am thinking I want to back out. I know I have a hernia which needs repair and I am so disfigured, but I'm too scared of not waking up after the surgery or bleeding to death. I had to have a drain put in after my last c section so I need to see my surgeon first about cutting me on the same scar, as my scar tissue is thick.

what was you experience of general anaesthetic like? I've only had spinal block, and so fear go under. The fear is overwhelming me at the moment and right now, I want to cancel it.

When you woke up were you actually sick/ How did you feel when you came round? I've been told it's a bit weird because you only feel llke you've been asleep for 5 minutes!

I hope you are both recovering well. I just feel so nervous and scared- I;ve got three little kids and keep thinking I shouldn't go ahead, it's too risky.

How does this compare to a C- Section? I've had both, emergency and Elective.

thanks for you help and keep us posted as to how things are going

MiniMarmite Wed 15-Jul-09 20:17:37

Just spotted this and really relieved because I was thinking of posting on this subject.

I haven't read all the posts yet (but will do) but I am a bit confused about my own situation. I don't think I actually have DR now because I can only feel a gap of about 1 finger (10 months after giving birth) and the underlying muscle feels fairly firm. My tummy, however, is a different story. I have a deep verticle line from my navel to my pubic bone and a floppy horizontal section of skin just above my pubic bone.

I haven't been doing specific abdominal exercises for DR or otherwise so I'm going to start doing that. I hope to start TTC again in a couple of months so I am a bit worried about permanent damage.

It sounds like my situation is relatively minor and I really feel for all of you with more serious problems. Obviously I want to avoid a more serious situation in the future. Any thoughts/experience greatly appreciated.

naturopath Wed 15-Jul-09 21:21:39

another one grateful for this thread -I have a 5-finger gap I think from ds1 and am due with dc2 any day. Can't quite face the look of my tummy afterwards. Think I will go into hiding for a while.

dorindabrown Thu 16-Jul-09 22:11:27


Obviously I can't talk from an expert's perspective about the level of seriousness of the operation. I found it more painful than a Caesarean, but that was just a personal experience and I think for some people, it's not such a big deal.

Re the general anaesthetic - going to sleep and waking up again didn't feel that strange, although I had been nervous about the idea. So that was fine. But the nausea was a problem - it didn't come on straightaway but built up gradually, so it was actually worst when I had gone home from hospital.

The nausea COMBINED with the cramping pain was unpleasant, as it was painful to vomit (sorry about TMI) and I was afraid to take the painkillers in case I was then sick and they didn't get absorbed into my bloodstream. So that was all horrible, but as soon as I got back into hospital they fixed it by giving me a different painkiller and an anti-emetic and after that everything was fine.

So my key advice is: don't make the mistake of leaving hospital until you're SURE you are on the mend. If you are still in a lot of pain, make sure you stay where you are where you can get decent painkillers - otherwise you will just have to get re-referred to hospital, which is more difficult. And remember that your experience may be much less uncomfortable than mine was, with any luck.

hugetum Fri 17-Jul-09 00:21:39


Hi, thank you for asking but l feel alot better, still a little sore , and hardly any nausea. Regarding the general anaesthetic, l totally understand your fear, l had the same feeling and it is quite understandable, because with the caesarian at least you are awake and can see what is happening. If l can reassure you in any way, have faith in god. If you are reasonably healthy, then the operation is quite straight forward. I don't know your medical history, and this is something that you should talk to the consultant about if you have some concerns. You mentioned you had a drain put in after your caesarian, some people bleed a bit more than others. I had 2 drains put in for this stomach op, and they stayed in for at least 5 days, it's normally for 3 days.

Please don't back out now, if l could show you how much this op has changed my life for the better. Yes you will feel discomfort for a few weeks but everyone is different. When l had my c -section in july 08, l was walking around on the 2nd day, but on the 3rd day l "keeled" over and was stooping to get to the toilet. The dr's told me that during the c-section, they noticed that my muscles were very loose and they said they put in a couple of stitches to hold the muscles in place. That pain was excruciating, and it took me 4 days before l could walk up straight.

So when l read that this op would take me almost 9/10 days before l would be walking straight upright, l knew what to expect. HOWEVER after l had this op l was AMAZED that l was walking upright on the 2nd day!!!!yes believe me , and yes there was a degree of pain and discomfort but not compared to what l experienced last year..that was awful.

I had this bedside buzzer that when pressed gave me a shot of morphine as and when l needed it, however it made me sick straight afterwards, and then the nurses had to give me anti sickness injection, the other painkillers were bearable but can give nausea. YOU WILL BE OK, TRUST ME, IF l OF ALL PEOPLE CAN GET THROUGH THIS, SO CAN YOU!! It's not as bad as child birth. Just have faith, we all have negative thoughts because it's a major operation you are having and not a walk in the park, but you will be fine.

If you have particular medical problems, which can complicate a surgery then you should discuss with your consultant and they will advise you if it is risky. I have been thinking about your op Aug 3rd???.

For me it is like winning the lottery, because the op has given me a new lease of life, l look normal, and l avoid getting those sympathetic looks from people "oh look she's expecting"!. Have faith Honeydew, what's a few weeks of discomfort compared to a lifetime of misery of having to explain to people that you are not pregnant. Realistically the pain was not bad for me compared to the nausea l experienced. The painkillers kill the pain but do cause nausea.

Just do it!!! Be strong and have faith.


honeydew Fri 17-Jul-09 10:49:34

HI Hugetum- not hugetum!

Thanks for the advice. When I had my second C Section 2 years ago, they put a drain in because I bled so much. The surgeon told me not have any more children because of the internal scarring.

So I will discuss my concerns with my surgeon next week as he told me they would cut on the same line. I'm not scared of the pain so much- I had an obstructed labour with my second child and had an emergency section. I as very sick with all my pregnancies and vomited at least twice a day for four months with all three of them, so I'm no stranger to sick!grin

I've been doing some research on tummy tucks and all the dangers and have probably scared myself too much about what can go wrong. I keep shaking and I've had some nightmares about death.

I'm an active Christian and have spent time at church praying so that God can give me the strength of mind I need to do it and be brave. It's funny that I didn't have any real fears when I have my Elective section but this terrifying me. I think, mostly due to the general so not being conscious.

With my sections I was up and about in two or three days- albeit slowly so I keep thinking- yes it will be like my sections in someways perhaps.

Thanks for your encouragement and yes, my op is due Aug 3rd, although I still head cold which I've been trying to shake off. I dodwant the op- the discomfort is awful ,so one minute I think yes just do it and the next I loose my nerve. I'm seeing the surgeon next Friday at my pre-op assessment and discus my concerns.

Glad to hear you're healing well- how are you finding childcare? I've got my in-laws taking mine for a week and my DH taking them for a week as well, so I get a fortnight. Not easy in some ways doing this in the school holidays, although at least we don;t have to worry about the school run and my DS's pre-school mornings.

Look after yourself and so glad to hear your life has really improved- I've just got to get through this fear barrier and trust my life to Jesus. Both you and dorindabrown have been a real help and support.

idunnop Fri 17-Jul-09 11:21:30

I have about 2cm gap too, which didn't close up after DD and I'm due to have DC2 very soon. I didn't do any post-pregnancy exercises last time as my GP told me it would just close up on its own, but it didn't so will make more effort this time and maybe have physio if need be.

I read this article in the Times last weekend where Annabel Heseltine had a similar operation. Her scar is below the bikini line but she had it privately, and primarily as a comsetic procedure, so it might be different on the NHS.

honeydew Fri 17-Jul-09 14:21:01

I read about this lady's operation as well but she had it done privately. I don't know if she would have qualified for repair surgery under the NHS but it seems not. She sounds much happier though and she looks lovely which is great.

soneliz Sun 19-Jul-09 23:04:41

Hi Hugetum(notsohugetum),

Thanks for replying. So glad to hear that you're feeling much better now.
I'm not quite sure why I'll have a vertical cut during my opration, the consultant didn't explain why either...are you allowed the option of having a vertical or horizontal cut or are there reasons as to one is carried out in preference to the other? I think (and also my GP) I have a hernia too, that was one of the reasons why my GP referred me to a consultant for the op. To tell you the truth I'm happy to have been given permission for the operation as I've had a bit of hard work convincing 2 consultants I am 'worthy' of the op.
On my initial visit, I saw one of the General Surgeons who, after asking me to get down to my underwear in front of a nursing assistant and a trainee, agreed that although i had diastasis recti and that there was an operation available, he would not recommend it in my case because in some patients the long term results are not so good. He then said goodbye, walked off and left me to put my clothes on! To say I was angry and ashamed is an understatement. Anyway, I went home and the next day wrote to this surgeon specifally stating that I would still like the op. I was then referred to a Professor who has agreed to me having the op on the basis I lose a stone(all my weight is on my stomach) and have no more kids. (The cheeky git has jotted in my notes that I have a BMI of 30 indicating obesity and asked if the man I am with at the moment is the father to all 4 of my children, if i am married, how long i have been with my current partner...yes, I know). My GP has since worked out my BMI as 26 and has stressed that I am not overweight all over but that my tummy is where I carry all my weight. Anyway, I'm going on a bit now, but my hernia has never come into the conversations at the hospital. i've read on previous posts that some ladies have had this repaired alongside their diastasis. Also, no tuck was mentioned so I am sort of worried i'm gonna have even more loose sagging skin on top of the loads i already have!!!
Hugetum, could you offer me some advice on the above please? Are there any websites you recommend?
Thanks in advance!

8oreighty Sun 19-Jul-09 23:07:48

I had this after having twins. I am short and they were pretty big. I got it fixed on my health insurance, as it was sort of a hernia...but didn't get the tummy tuck done. (Stupidly...) I have since lost loads of weight so muscles are great have a waist again etc...but loads of skin so going to have a tummy tuck now...
i was the same, looked pregnant, very barrel like until i had it done. It took 8 weeks until I could lift the kids after hte op though, they were 8 months then. they tell you 6 weeks, but it does take longer, it's quite a hard op...take loads of arnica! Before and after.

honeydew Mon 20-Jul-09 13:48:18


This sounds very different from my experience of dealing with the surgeons involved with my case.

I have a very protruding abdomen, a large hernia and Diastasis Recti. The general surgeon looked at me initially and said that if he repaired me vertically, I would be left with a poor result and then referred me on to a plastic surgeon who normally only does private work.

He then examined me and said he could do the op for free because of my hernia, DR and disfigurement. I am eligible for the operation on the NHS. This would involve a tummy tuck (abdominopplasty) as well. Otherwise, I would be left with all saggy skin.

I am due to have the hernia repaired at the same time as everything else and is one of the main reasons I can have plastic surgery on the NHS.

I am very surprised they asked you such personal and seemingly pointless questions! I have never been asked by any surgeon/assistant about my marital status, (except on a form) or parentage of my kids,etc This does not sound right and a huge invasion of your privacy.

It does seem to me as if it's a bit of a postcode lottery as to what the NHS can offer you. Would this op be done at your local hospital?

I'm glad you persuaded them that you needed the op, but perhaps go back to the surgeon and see if you can get the tummy tuck done too at the same time. I don't know how how badly the DR has affected you but you could also discuss the loss of self esteem and the impact the problem has had on you life.

I do know the tummy tucks don't help you loose weight as such, they just trim of the excess. Perhaps they want you to loose weight first to ensure a better result?

Make sure you get an explanation as to exactly why they are doing a vertical cut. They are known not to give such good results and there must be a reason. Push to get referred on to a good plastic surgeon if you are in any doubt. A horizontal cut is far better from what I've heard and less painful.

Like hugetum, my case is quite severe and so I qualify for the corrective surgery. I really do look about 6 months pregnant, am often in discomfort/pain and if I do nothing the problem will long term affect my posture. So I think it does depend on how bad the Diastasi is. The NHS are pretty mean when it comes to helping women with these types of problems unless you are either obviously disfigured or in need of essential surgery.

It certainly sounds like you need the op because of the hernia if nothing else and you should be entitled to the same treatment as myself, hugetum and dorindabrown.

I would advise that you definately go back to your GP/ surgeon and go through it all again- the hernia, the DR, possible tummy tuck and weight issue they have raised. It does sound like they do not think that you have a strong case because of your BMI and are trying to save money by a offering you an inferior and poorer cosmetic procedure.

But that would appear unfair and wrong, although I do not know your medical history so can only make assumptions here.

Perhaps they are offering you abdominal reconstruction which is NOT the same as a tummy tuck unfortunately. I don't think abdominal reconstruction is regarded as cosmetic surgery, just general surgery but I'm not 100% sure. So for this surgery you wouldn't get the expertise of a plastic surgeon. This is only what I have loosely gleaned from my general knowledge, so I could be wrong!I t could be they are offering to repair the hernia only? Hence the vertical cut?

I would advise that you find out precisely and explain that women you have come across are being offered the full hernia and DR repair, coupled with a horizontal tummy tuck on the NHS.

Perhaps get checked out again and push for what you want and need. Good luck and get back to us with any news. smile

soneliz Mon 20-Jul-09 22:49:37

Hi Honeydew,
It looks as if I was right to feel that there was an invasion of my privacy when the consultant asked me about my marital status etc...and feel that this has no bearing whatsoever as to whether I qualify for an operation on the NHS.
Honeydew, I too have a protuding and very disfigured abdomen. I was diagnosed with diastasis recti in fact after having my 2nd child. Exercise has rectified the problem in subsequent births but it was during my last pregnancy my hernia was noticed at an antenatal check up. This too was noticed by my GP at my 6 week post natal check. Like you too Honeydew, I suffer terribly with low self esteem, poor posture and at times agonising back ache (may I add that my consultant has told me backache is not a symptom of diastasis recti???).
The surgery I believe is classed as General Surgery and not cosmetic. It would also be carried out at my local hospital - the Derriford in Plymouth. However, I do believe the hospital does carry out cosmetic surgery on a private basis so maybe I could push to see one of the cosmetic surgeons there?
You're right that I should maybe see the consultant again and get an explanantion of the operation itself and the reasons why I am being offered a vertical incision as from what I have read about your case and others I am in exactly the same boat in regards to symptoms etc...Thank you very much for your time and advice Honeydew. It has certainly helped. Hope all goes well for you and I'll keep you posted as to how I get on in pursuing my case.
Good Luck

hugetum Tue 21-Jul-09 14:04:16

Hi Soneliz,

Like Honeydew, the only way l managed to get my op on the NHS is that they called it an abdominal reconstruction and not abdominoplasty ( which is cosmetic ) and hernia repair. My dr was very good in referring me to a general surgeon. Yes l too got down to my panties in front of a nursing assistant. He examined my hernia, at this stage l had emotionally broken down and could not stop crying because the whole disfigurement thing was too much. He then called in another surgeon who happened to be a plastic surgeon, who recommended me for the BIG OP. Recommending you to lose weight is good because then you will get the maximum effect of a tummy tuck, alternatively losing weight after the surgery you can end up with loose skin around the stomach. A vertical cut suggests that only repair of the hernia is involved, as far as l know a tummy tuck involves a horizontal scar hip to hip. Please do clarify with your surgeon what exactly are they going to do. I had done alot of reading on the internet and asked them whether l was having a mesh put in for my hernia and whether l would also be getting liposuction thrown in!!!! Yes alright l know l was pushing my luck abit. If you don't ask you won't get. Dorindabrown l really felt for you when you woke up and found your stomach still there, there had obviously been a misunderstanding what they were going to do. Abdominoplasty is considered as plastic surgery but there are ways round it, if surgeons can get around the NHS thing by calling it abdominal reconstruction and therefore the whole thing falling under "general surgery" then surely it would go under the insurance claim???? If you can get your dr to write a good referral to the PS, you are half way there. There are lots of factors they consider for abdominal reconstruction ie psychological effect, weight, if you intend to have more kids.

They asked me my whole med history. Maybe they felt sorry for me, l had in total six pregnancies, 3 healthy, 1 miscarriage at 5mths following an amnio (l was that unfortunate 1% risk, it was a healthy baby), l devastating termination at 18wks as there was serious health concerns for the baby and finally another miscarriage at 3mths. Everyone has a story to tell, the body can only take so much. I am done with kids , l have 3 beautiful healthy kids. I wish all you ladies all the best, it has made me one step closer to my fellow sisters and it is nice to know that we can relate to this problem and what devastating effect it can have on our lives. Only those who have experienced this DR can empathasize with one another. I once was trying to explain my condition to a senior colleague at work and her reply was " well l have had a baby how come l did not get a hernia or DR!!! It's like saying "well l drive, how come l have not had an accident!. Some people just do not understand.

honeydew Tue 21-Jul-09 21:44:33

hi everyone,

well as hugetum knows, I'm petrified about my op and am seeing my plastic surgeon this Friday. I'll ask lots more questions and report back.

I'm going to clarify a whole host of things about tummy tucks and abdominal reconstruction etc. Soniliz, it does sound like you need to be offered the same op as me and hugetum. My general surgeon referred me on to the posh plastic man and that's how I got to him!

You see here was my confusion -that on the NHS they call it 'abdominal reconstruction' and if you go private it's 'abdominoplasty.' How very confusing!

Many thanks for the clarification hugetum and hope all is well with your recovery. I'll quiz the surgeon with all my concerns (poor man!) and let you know my findings.

So sorry hugetum to hear of all your loss. I am lucky to have 3 as well but my goodness- the horrible births and C Sections!. This is why I'm stalling on this op.

Soniliz- you are not alone here. Although this condition is unusual, it is not rare as such and there are a few of us around with this. Push for the full op is you want it- the disfigurement is truly awful. I went into 4 shops the other day looking for a few tops. The problem for me is that maternity clothes like jeans, tend to be too baggy and normal jeans don't fit either because of my 'bump'. Skirts just make me look rotund and heavily pregnant! I'm a size 10-12 but of course dresses don't fit my large abdomen, so they're out too! I came home cross and depressed sad. I told my DH I'll wear pj's to do the school run instead and make my own clothes. But with 5 and under, I don't have time so I'll just wear a black bin liner, prettily gathered at in the Empire line style and trainers!grin

honeydew Tue 21-Jul-09 21:47:20

sorry, that should read 3 children, 5 and under!

hugetum Tue 21-Jul-09 23:20:11

Hi Honeydew,

No worries, my loss was meant to be, it was god's will. Over time l have come to realise that everything happens for a reason good and bad, and if you let it get to you, then you are a gonner. Life has it's ups and downs and l have become stronger for it. Having had 3 c-sections (although l tried to give birth naturally for the 2nd)she was nearly 9lbs, and no way l would have got her out!!! Anyway as l was saying recurrent c-sections does not help much with the muscles, they do become weaker over time.

I wish you good luck on friday, let me know how it goes. If it helps make a checklist of what you want to discuss, that way you won't forget to ask him anything. Thats what l did. Just go for it.

I have my 6 week check up at the end of July. The scar has healed nicely but they may need to make me outpatients appointment to tidy a couple of things. It is fairly numb down there, but l do get twinges which means that new nerve endings are developing. The ends of the scars known as "dog ears" ( don't ask me why), may need to be tidied up. I also have a little tiny gathering of skin below the chest which needs to be tucked in, from a distance it looks like a belly button, but the dressings nurse told me this is common and can be resolved easily with a little tuck, otherwise it looks fab. I went into my son's school and had some wonderful comments from the other ladies who said l looked really great and they could not believe the huge change. Gosh it is soo good to feel normal and wear normal trendy clothes again. So Honeydew get your skates on, l definately want to meet up with you after your op ( once you are fully recovered!!). Don't be afraid.


honeydew Wed 22-Jul-09 14:49:35

Hi hugetum- yes I will ask all the questions on Friday. I'm making a checklist over the next day or so. I'm trying to think sensibly and keep a cool head as I do want to go through with it- I just need courage.

So pleased to hear you are healing nicely. You are much blessed! It must be wonderful to healed form this awful condition, I so admire your strength of will. I keep praying about it and God has told me to be strong and that nothing will happen so I'm trying to keep positive about it all.

I too tired very hard to give birth to my middle child ( my son) and he was 10lbs. He got stuck and I had an obstructed labour and then emergency section at 2.30 am! He was in the Op position ( back to back and face down so almost breech). No way could I have got him out. I then had my 9lb daughter a year later and that was by elective because of my problems with William. But my Diastasis and hernia was not evident at all after having my son, only after my third did it become evident there was something wrong.

My first DD 8 1/2 lbs was born naturally but I had to be induced and helped with a ventouse cap, so an assisted delivery. So I know the sections and the big babies are the root cause.

I had 3 in 3 years and 2 months- silly me!!! I was about 7 stone before I had kids and I do have a very small frame so I look like an snake that's swallowed a melon! My pelvis is small which hasn't helped at all. I went overdue by 2 weeks with all of them so I think my abdomen was stretched beyond its limit.

Take care hugetum and thanks for all the advice

honeydew Wed 22-Jul-09 14:54:07

yes i too would love to meet up- this is all giving me hope and strength. smile

hugetum Mon 27-Jul-09 22:50:33

Hi Honeydew,

How did it go with the consultant? Is everything ok?? Thinking of you.


honeydew Wed 29-Jul-09 13:59:41

Hi hugetum,

thanks for thinking of me.

Well I went to St Thomas's for all my checks -you know, bloods, swabs etc and they took a full medical questionaire.

I had a long chat with the nurse about everything and she gave me some confidence .

But my surgeon wasn't there and I'm seeing him this afternoon at his outpatients clinic. I'll discuss all my questions with him then . I'll report back again today. I do want it done, just shaking like a leaf and worrying about my kids, the op itself and controlling my fear.

My vicar has directed me to some supportive passages in the Bible and my friends and husband are being helpful.

I could rally do with a glass of wine but of course I can't have any!

How are you and how is the recovery? How does it feel not to have the hernia? Has the op so far been worth it ? I know it's early days still for you but I feel bloated and uncomfortable a lot of the time and so want to get rid of the pull I feel on my back and body posture.

i can't imagine how it will be to look down and not see my huge bump!

honeydew Wed 29-Jul-09 19:47:47

Hi Hugetum,

well I've just had THE most unpleasant experience with a registrar and wasn't seen by my surgeon, even though he walked into the consulting room.

She was quite negative and explained to me that I didn't have Diastasis Recti- but 'diverification' of the muscles. She said it is the hernia which makes me look pregnant.

I really wanted a medical examination of my tummy as I know my hernia is quite large but I had to show her my stomach before she would respond.

She told me that there was a small chance they would not be able to repair my hernia in which case they may just cut off some of the loose skin and do a kind of abdominoplasty but I will be left the hernia and bump. Then I possibly will be faced with a more complex procedure in which they would use my skin to repair the hernia? Not sure about the details here she wouldn't tell me anymore. She said that last week, a lady had surgery and that they couldn't repair the hernia but that she was a lot older than me. Well- thanks for that!

So what is the point of my going through all this only to come put looking the same and still being in pain? She wouldn't talk about the recovery either!

I am NOT going to do this if I come home the same just with a little less baby flab or nothing at all! No way is it worth it in that case.

She also told me that the NHS DO NOT do abdominoplasty's and that this goes down as a hernia repair but that they tighten the skin so that you get a good finish.

I complained that I felt this had affected my posture and was pulling my shoulders down. The doctor responded by saying that the hernia would not affect this and that I had a posture problem. Well firstly, I was a semi- professional ballet dancer until I was 20 and my posture has always been excellent to the point where people used to say that i seemed to float rather than walk! So I've never had a 'posture problem'. Secondly, your abdominal muscles help to hold up your spine, which I know through general knowledge so her saying to me that my hernia has nothing to do with it is wrong.

She did not seem to know anything about my case or even if my abdominal muscles are weakened although by telling me the hernia because my muscles are so far apart may be inoperable contradicts that assertion.

I've looked a lot on the internet an I DO have Diastasis Recti - you only have to look at my very distended belly to see I've got a major problem. My muscles have weakened and parted and my intestines come though!

I am livid to say the least. I had specially arranged childcare and went to see my surgeon today discuss my case and have been treated with contempt and like I was a piece of meat. I should have insisted he see me but he seemed too busy and disinterested.

This doctor is young and clearly not had children so can't relate to many of my concerns. I am very confused here. When I saw the nurse at Thomas's she wrote down on the offical sheet I was having an abdominoplasty and yet this woman says no!

She did nothing to reassure me, refused to talk about the general anaesthetic or recovery, made it clear I was a drain on the NHS and that if I was nervous- well tough. She said I had to let her know there and then if I wanted to cancel the op! But I went there to talk over my fears, get a medical examination and some advice.

I feel worse than ever came out of the hosptial in floods of tears. The NHS just doesn;t seem to know what it's doing. They have no told me something completely different about my condition.

I just don't feel as though I've been properly assessed. I know they can't really tell about my hernia until they open me up but I feel disregarded and just one of thousands. This is major surgery, not a pub lunch!

Sorry, but my health and welfare are worth a lot to me. I have 3 young children to look after. I know the actual surgeon is excellent, I have no qualms about him but my trust has been shaken. She told me that I had spent 'a long tine' talking to her- about 15 mins and when the phone rang, she answered it. Instead of putting them on hold, finishing the conversation with me and saying goodbye politely, she dismissed me with an 'exucse me' and so I just walked out! It was clear it wasn't an emergency call.

I am a polite person, was a secondary school teacher for 7 years. I was so shocked by her level of rudeness.

Hugetum- I can see why now Dorindabrowm got a poor result from her op; she was ill informed and kept in the dark. I've had to really ask lots of questions to get anywhere.
Basically, I could wake up and look the same and STILL have the hernia - so why bother?

I only say this doctor today because I wrote to my surgeon with some queries. Had I not asked for clarification, I would not have been seen.

The last time I had a medical examination was over year ago and my surgeon has not looked at my abdomen at all, even though I put myself on the waiting list 3 months ago. I thought that when I had the pr-op assessment, I would see my surgeon for a check up as well as the usual checks. But no! I've only seen a nurse and junior doctor.

I had a terrible time with my emergency section , the NHS were slow and although the operations was excellent, the before and after care was absolute crap ( excuse my expletive here!).

I don't know what to do now. I'm going to call the surgeon in the morning and if I'm not happy, I'm going to cancel it and leave it until next year or having it privately (but perhaps still use him for the surgery) with a better quality of care surrounding the op.

I basically have to decide by the morning. Psycholgically, I don't feel ready for this at all really. I've had 2 difficult sections in 2 years plus a nightmare first natural birth. All between 2004-07 and I just want a break. I just don't feel ready for more medical invasive surgery, more drugs, pumps, drips and drains! But then again, I don't want to look like this and I don't want the hernia and associated risks over time.

If I didn't have the hernia, I'd live with the flab! And they DO think you're vain, don;t they? Even though I'm always discomfort and my stomach is a mess, they think I should just put up with it. I'm 37 and always been told I am a very attractive woman and she looked at me as if to say "you may be disfigured all your life -well serves you right for having kids and being pretty". I know that's probably wrong but it's how she came across.

I got the distinct impression from her that she thought I was taking up her valuable time. She thought my fears not important. When she's a mother, perhaps she'll change her tune!

Sorry this has been such a long post. I am really upset and in the morning decide what I want to do if I can speak to my surgeon. She told me that I must be absolutely on time for the op, otherwise I'll hold up her day. This was not what I went to hear- I do know I have to get there for the early morning!

What would you advise hugetum? Thanks for your help.

hugetum Wed 29-Jul-09 22:46:05

Hi Honeydew,

So sorry to hear what you have been going through. Surgeons they are like lawyers "time is money", l too have experienced this. They just get to the point and don't like to to spend too much time .. I too have experienced this, felt really uncomfortable and sometimes felt rushed. That dr sounds a right cow, obviously in experienced. Has the consultant ever asked you to lie down on the couch and cough, thats how they measure the diastasis and muscle tone, when you cough the stomach kind of rises into a dome.

I do not know much about "diverification". My sister had this and hernia. Strangely enough we had not spoken to each other for 18mths (falling out!!). Anyway strangely enough she ended up having surgery a day before me. I was under the impression she had the same surgery as me, but apparently not. After speaking to her, l remember she said she had a vertical scar, but after the op, she was not allowed to eat and had to be fed through a tube. She did not have abdominoplasty.

Honeydew if you really feel strong, post pone the op. I would get a second opinion. Go back to your Dr and explain what happened at your meeting with the consultant. That Dr you saw seems inexperienced. There is no point having the op what they have suggested, if they are not going to tighten the abdominal muscles. It's all very well them saying they will repair the hernia and perhaps remove the excess skin. What you need is to have YOUR STOMACH MUSCLES TIGHTENED. It's like wearing a corset but it is inside of your body, the muscles are tightened, all your intestines pushed back in and any excess skin and fat cut and the skin pulled down and stitched along the pubic hairline. I am sorry and disappointed that there is so much disparity in the NHS. You are knowledgable but obviously this dr was not. Go straight back to your GP, before you cancel your op. Your Dr can maybe fax the consultant and get him to examine you again. You can also speak to your DR and explain that you know what diastasis recti is!!!

I again have been struck with flu like symptoms and a cough which is killing my stomach. Dr has put me on antibiotics again.

Speak to you soon and good luck and if you have reservations about the op ie that they will not do the fully abdominoplasty then don't go ahead. Ok my new stomach is not perfect, but they have got rid of the huge disfigurement, and under my clothes, no one will see the imperfections of the op. I am still eternally grateful what they have done for me. Don't despair and don't lose hope and have faith, if things don't feel right at the moment, don't feel rushed into them.

You must go back to your GP.


honeydew Wed 29-Jul-09 23:49:32

Hi hugetum,

many thanks for your advice.I will get straight onto my GP in the morning and ask them to get in touch with the surgeon.

I do want to be examined again by the surgeon and to make sure that my abdominal muscles are going to be repaired. As you say there is no point going ahead right now if they are going to leave me with a huge bulge! I need to see him again. I just can't go through with it not really knowing quite what they are going to do. This Dr didn't even look at my hernia, which is my main concern.

Was your hernia large? You see mine is and I've had this for 18 months now. I'm always concerned that it might strangulate although they have told me it's unlikely because it's so big.

I am concerned they won't be able to repair me and it will all be for nothing. You're right- I do need those muscles tightened, not just the hernia repair and a bit of loose skin chopped off! I need my strength back internally which I feel is so lacking. I'm sure you know that feeling and I want the tightness back. I can feel the weakness and it does pull my shoulders down and hunches me over sometimes. I have to really to concentrate to sit up straight.

When I was examined last year, I did lie on the couch and they made me cough to see that happened and I do have this large dome/ ridge. I can see it when I sit up in bed or get out of the bath.

If they are not going to tighten the muscles, I have no option but to cancel and go private. Considering I am really disfigured from pregnancy, it seems so unfair that I can't have cosmetic surgery- I really need it, you can see by looking at me my abdomen is a complete mess.

I will find out tomorrow and report back. They have told me that if I leave it until Friday to cancel, they will not put me on the waiting list again. While I do understand the reasons, I think that 's very unfair since they have only now told me they are really only repairing the hernia and the abdominoplasty is an extra they do not have the funds for, but that that they can 'tidy me up a bit'.

I do feel rushed and get the impression that don't want me to ask questions. I don't even know if I may end up with a vertical incision like your sister which is now going through my head. Poor thing - being fed through a tube! How ghastly and i hope she is on the mend now. I am really worried about leaving the hernia but I'm so fearful they they won't give me the abdominoplasy, I do need full clarification.

Yes I realise the Dr is probably inexperienced. She probably isn't that much younger than me but having kids does make you so much more worldly mature and sensible to others feelings I think.

Thanks so much for your kind words of comfort and reading my long, long post! I'm cross because I went to see Me Mercer ( the surgeon) for clarification, assessment and support. I came out confused, angry and very unhappy that they have not really made it clear what they will do to me or the best outcome.

It's a good idea that I contact my GP first and get everything sorted. I will go ahead if they tell me I'm basically having the same as you, which was my previous understanding.

Did they tell you your hernia might not be operable? The Dr said it's only a 1% chance but because the hernia is large, I need to take it into account.

I've had a nasty head cold for the last few weeks and only just feel I've shaken it off really.

Sorry to hear you're unwell with the fluey thing. take it easy won't you and so good to hear you are doing well.

hugetum Thu 30-Jul-09 00:13:35


yes large ventral hernia 20 by 25cms


hugetum Thu 30-Jul-09 00:30:34


No they were pretty confident they could fix my stomach, but told me that l should not expect to look like Angelina Jolie. You know Honeydew, IF you can afford it and the NHS does not work out, just get it done private but it is expensive. I don't know maybe god was looking down on me that day. I really do understand how you feel. Hey apart from the hernia, even if it is for cosmetic reasons, WHY NOT if it makes you feel better. I used to be against cosmetic surgery and could not understand why women want to change. Regardless of the size of the problem, it's how you feel. We women should treat ourselves, we carry for 9mths and get all our organs stretched to the limits, why not.

Let me know how it goes. They can't rush you like this??? I would put in a complaint to the GMC? The whole point of being in the medical profession is to make people feel better and that involves having essential people skills, to make people at ease and reassure them. This dr you saw seems to be lacking.

Jammybodger Thu 30-Jul-09 01:20:15

Hello everyone, I'd like to share with you my 'story'.

I have had 4 big babies naturally (8-10lbs), I am a size 8 and weigh around 8st pre pregnancy (and now, youngest is 3).

Had DR and also 2 slipped discs so unable to hold my 3rd for a few wks when ds was 8mths old. DR can make back problems worse as have weak 'core' so usual pilate type exercises don't work as you cannot put any strain on recti muscles if you have a weak back.

I had a hernia repair done on the NHS because of the DR leaving a vertical scar. But it was no 'tummy tuck' and left the bulky tummy still. After 18 mths found the lumps caused by scar tissue getting inflamed badly every time I did any lifting and bending.

Found websites on post hernia repair problems which I had not known about before. I have just had to have another operation as the scar tissue from my hernia op was caused by nylon thread which did not dissolve and caused agony months later!

So having had 2 corrective ops on the NHS I would advise this:

1. Don't have surgery if you haven't read and understood the cons thoroughly. Surgery will not work like magic.

2. Don't confuse fat on your tum with DR if you are slim, you can still have fat on your tum and be a size 8 (and only have moderate DR). I believed I had huge DR (because of the 5 mth pg look) but now I'm not sure I did. Because I could not do normal DR exercises because of a weak back I found these activities very helpful:

a. Tighten stomach muscles as if drawing them back inside before you get out of bed and try and keep them pulled back for the rest of the day and in particular when getting up/down/lifting/bending/walking/holding etc.

b. Keep your shoulders back and your head held high, basically work on your posture to aid the stomach pulling in.

c. Take up running/jogging/brisk walking/swimming because they are excellent exercises which shift tummy fat and do not hurt a weakened back.

d. Cut out or minimise all bloating foods, for me this was wheat products.

I could not believe the difference to my tummy after trying these out and so I would say, please don't go down the surgical route unless you have tried these ideas for at least 6 months.

As for the weak back. I do the yogic 'child pose' every morning to stretch my spine, basically kneel down with legs apart and stretch forward touching nose on floor. Have not had any back problems since.

Good luck and please don't give up hope xx

honeydew Thu 30-Jul-09 10:38:20

I've been doing some research and what I don;t understand is why I haven't been offered the hernia surgery larproscopically?

The NHS has never told me I could get the op done by key hole but yesterday I saw that you can but that some NHS trusts won't pay for it.

It is a safer procedudre with less risk of the hernia coming back. I am in talks with the NHS today nad it is being made very clear to me that they are only repairing the hernia and perhaps may cut off some of the loose flab.

I am going to investigate this and it looks like I need two operations - private key hole umbelical surgery and then an abdominoplasty paid for privately. I would be happy to use my same surgeon but I'm coming to the conclusion that the NHS cannot offer me the operation that I need. Which is really dreadful considering how disfigured i am and how much discomfort I always feel.

Thanks Jammybodgr for your story, I can see now that I have been slightly led up the garden path by the NHS. They tell me it's because of the trust funds and that it's a poscode lottery as to what you get offered.

I thought I was going to be offred the same surgery as Hugetum but clearly not.

It looks like I am going to have to cancel the op and go private. I do need the hernia surgery first so I need to investigate having it done by keyhole. It is safer, far less chance of the hernia returning and a much quicker recovery time.

Iam really shocked that plastic surgery is not available to those who really need it. My complaint is not one of vanity, you see my herniated, bulging stomach! My whole quality of life is being affected by this postpartum problem and is a major complication which i do believe the NHS should provide.

The Dr I saw yesterday, said that if they couldn't repair the hernia I would be left like this forever or may face more complex hernia repair surgery. I know this is the worst case senario but I've got a family to raise here! I don't need the NHS giving me misinformation and then telling me that they can't offer any cosmetic surgery, except a small nip and tuck perhaps and open hernia surgery.

They will only repair the hernia on the NHS, not even stitch your muscles together because that is an abdominoplasty !

This is why yourself an Dorindabrown didn't get the desired result you wanted. Did they tell you they would repair your muscles as as well? It sound like hugetum was a very severe case and with a wealthier trust, was offered the full operation.

I will find out more details today and post back so everyone can see my experiences which may help others.

Jammybodger Thu 30-Jul-09 13:12:44

Honey, I had high hopes after the hernia repair and so to see the still bulging bulge plus the long vertical scar was very disheartening.

I would say definitely do NOT go down the keyhole route, I had a choice but I chose the conventional route for the following reason: the surgeon has to cut through the bowel to get the mesh in place and you could get adhesions in the bowel wall which would be hideously painful and impossible to correct.

The surgeon had warned me of this risk but I had also read up about it but funnily enough my GP recommended keyhole surgery after seeing my long ugly scar. I am still glad I didn't have keyhole though.

No one knows how your skin/tissue is going to react to being incised and messed about with. I am very fit and otherwise very healthy so I was shocked to get painful adhesions 12 month later after the surgery. Reading about how others sail through surgery with no hiccups is one thing, ask them a year later and you may have a different story. It is far more common than you think.

Please try my suggestions, I wished someone had said that to me before I went ahead.

honeydew Thu 30-Jul-09 14:47:19

I've been talking to the NHS today and decided that I'm not going to go ahead with the operation this Monday for the following reasons:

1. The operation is very debilitating from all accounts.An open hernia repair will still leave me with a bulge and possible complications like infections.And I am unlikely to get any real cosmetic surgery as such and get a better, flatter abdomen. I don't really want to go through the trauma of of surgery to end up looking almost the same as I do now with a 40% chance of the hernia returning.

2.I feel that I would prefer two separate operations and want to straddle the surgery. One being medical ( the hernia) and 2 ( the cosmetic- abdominoplasty at a later date). I think I'd rather tackle one problem at a time. The NHS will not perform an abdominoplasty and I need one! So I'm happy to use the same NHS surgeon,as he's excellent but pay privately for the proper op. This will give me the tightened abdominal muscles and overall be better result perhaps.

So they are referring m back to general surgery and to a hernia consultant to see if I can have the surgery done by key hole. I may not be able to but it's worth a shot IMO for more effective, safer procedure. It is available on the NHS. I do hear what you've said about key hole but I've done some research and there appears to be more complications with open surgery overall.

I have not heard of an umbelical hernia mesh being inserted through the bowel before as my hernia is right behind my belly button- but I am happy to believe you! I have only read that key hole surgery is good for hernia repair and better than open. My father had it done with no long term ill effects, although his hernia was ingroinal.

Sorry, I am confused by what you're saying! You say that you went down the open hernia surgery route but you still ended up with adhesions a year later? Yet you don't recommend key hole due to the same possible complications|? Apologies if I seem rude but your experience is unclear here.

many thanks for the good advice though. I will give up wheat as it does bloat me out! And follow the exercises for the next few months. I need to try everything first. If I have to have open surgery for the hernia but I wantto look at all oprtions nd assess the pros and cons.

Hugetum- it's clear that the NHS can't offer me the same op as you due to funding ( so they tell me) so I 'll tackle the hernia first.I'll get that done in about 3 months time. Once healed, I'll then try to strengthen some of my abdominal muscles through gentle exercise like swimming and then look at tummy tuck by my surgeon privately because he won't do an abdominoplasty on the NHS! They generally will not tighten the rectus muscles as they do for a tummy tuck, but as you were such an extreme case they gave you the full op.

I don't fee I have much choice here. All i;m being offered is the open hernia repair and I would like to investigate keyhole. If I can't have it done, I'll just opt for the hernia repair with no possible plastic surgery at all -no nips or tucks. This will be a lesser operation and not such a long recovery. I'll focus on the cosmetics after that.

I just can't face such a hue op right now and as the Dr said I've no that they bulge will be less than now if I go the plastic surgery route. The secretary told me that have severely cut back funding so a tummy tuck is not an option.

If they are not going to fully repair the rectus muscles and give me that internal corset I need, I may as well do one step at a timeBy having he hernia repaired first,I can heal and have a proper abdominoplasty in ayear or two.H

Hope that makes sense! The NHS have said the only I NEED is the hernia- my disfigurement from the damaged rectus muscles ( Diastasis Recti) is NOT does not pose a health risk. Therefore, the only way I can have my muscles sown together ifs if I pay for it and a private abdominolpasty costing 5,000 pounds is my only way. They have basically said I could be disfigure like I am now with the op they are offering me, minus the hernia. So I may as well concentrate on repairing the hernia through keyhole first as a less invasive procedure , then pay to stitch my abdomen back together and a proper tummy tuck. The abdominoplasty would be safer to as it would not involve a hernia repair as well, just a cut and past job!

honeydew Thu 30-Jul-09 15:18:59

Apologies for all my typo errors- hope you can both make sense of my mistakes.

Well, the bottom line is that the NHS do not repair Daistasis Recti as they do not see it as a medical necessity, but the hernia is. This is why dorindabrown and others were unhappy with their result as you think that they would stitch your muscles back together to flatten your belly. Oh no they don't! Well at least in my part of London they don't!

Why have the NHS kept me in the dark until yesterday when I questioned the Dr at length? The only way to get eh rectus muscles repaired is to have a full abdominoplasty paid for privately. I can't believe it really! I honestly thought they would do it if you were left disfigured from pregnancy. So they will correct what they see as medically necessary ( the hernia) but not another problem ( the diastasis ) even if it leaves you with your mummy tummy, your bulge and most of the flab! Perhaps hugetum the muscle repair was absolutely essential in your case, I'm not sure.

If I'm wrong about all this someone correct me! I think so many women are being let down by the NNS not considering severe diastasis recti a problem. Long term it is a real problem but they're opinion sems to be - 'oh well, you've had some babies- a bit of flab, and abdominal separation won't kill you' , so if you want to look normal again, you'll have to pay for it.

Well I'm shocked. (shock)

Jammybodger Thu 30-Jul-09 15:24:21

Sorry I was being vague, the experience your father and most men have ie hernia repair via keyhole is generally v. successful as the repairs are much much smaller than a 7.5cm long DR/epigastic hernia repair. I wasn't referring to men's hernias, just post pregnancy DR induced hernias which mine was.

All surgery is debilitating and I had an Au Pair to cover for when my parents and dh were not able to help. I would seriously advise against any form of surgery until you have your back up in place. Believe me, you will need it.

hugetum Thu 30-Jul-09 15:48:36

Hi Honeydew,

I feel so bad now. Yes l had an almost 8 finger gap, l just wish l could show you how hideous my stomach looked before the op. Even on the surgeons face..l could just see it. They probably thought to themselves how the f.... did you get yourself in this state!!!!. It was not just big but hanging down!!!. How can l contact you personally Honeydew??

mustsleep Thu 30-Jul-09 16:06:33

I have this and have jus had an op for a hernia and was told by he consultant hat they would not repair the gap in my stomach muscles cos "it's just one of them things"!!!!!!!

Great yeah it's not you that has to walk around with people constantly asking when you are due sad

has anyone had physio for this and has it worked?

Plus it's not just disfiguring imo it effects your self esteem and it gives you a bloody bad back!!!

Nearly didn't read this thread cos I thought everyone else would be getting theirs repaired and quite honestly when I look in the mirror I want to cry sad

mustsleep Thu 30-Jul-09 16:09:09

also after I have recovered from my hernia repair what should I day when I go to the docs about physio and seperation

They know defo that they are not right as the scan for the hernia revealed it, but no one offered any treatment

honeydew Thu 30-Jul-09 16:25:51

well it's such good news to know the NHS won't help women with this condition or 'diverification'- they will only repair the hernia.

I hope you have recovered from the op. When dorindabrown first stated that she woke up and her bump was still there I was very confused but I see clearly why that happened and I hope she has contacted her GP to complain.

I think perhaps it helps to live in an area where they will repair the muscles as well. I really don;t understand why they won't. It is truly awful having this condition, the back pain, the posture, the unsightly pregnant belly.

I am going to complain to my surgeon that I don't just need a hernia repair, I NEED a full tummy tuck to be less disfigured but I'll probably get nowhere.

This is not for vanity, not a day goes by when someone doesn't ask me if I'm pregnant. I just want to look normal again.

I will get a referal from my surgeon in the next fortnight to the hernia man and take it from there.

I'll put my contact details up on my profile later today if that helps anyone.

It is disgraceful that the NHS will not fund abdominoplasty's where there is a clear case of need. If I was Any other muscular problem appears to be operable but because it's through pregnancy which is your choice, they don;t wantt to know.

My figure is severely compromised for the rest of my life and if I don't pay for a tummy tuck will only get worse.

Perhaps the hernia op will make better then with exercise my tummy will look firmer I'm not sure. I need to find out!

mustsleep Thu 30-Jul-09 16:32:31

I was hoping that at least the top part of my tummy would look better, but two weeks on I can't really say that it does, hopefully like you say with a bit of physio it may sort itself out

My concern is also that I have a fairly physical job which involves a fair bit of lifting but surely because of my stomach my back is compromised!

After I've finished my sick leave for the hernia I will go back about the physio and keep going back until I get somewhere, the only person who had even mentioned anything about it to me was the midwife at ds2's 8 week check and she said that if it did not get better in a few weeks I would need to go for physio hmm

infact one doctor told me that my stomach muscles were fine at my postnatal, I then went back and another told me that they were seperated and that I probably had a hernia but if I did some situps it would go away!!! angry

honeydew Thu 30-Jul-09 16:43:39

we ll as I understand it now, the NHS will not offer you muscle separation treatment. I'm not 100% sure but I would go and see your GP and discuss this when you are fully recovered.

The only answer to muscle tightening is an abdominoplasty which the NHS will not do. I think hugetum is an exception or her area does pay for it. They told me this morning I can apply to my PCT for key hole surgery.

I will check this out with my surgeon as I am writing to him for a full explanation of what the NHS were originally offering me and why they do not repair rectus abdominal muscle. As it is not a medical necessity, then it seems they will not do it. It all comes down to money, even though you only get rid of the hernia, not your bulging tummy or only a slight difference. I personally do not understand this logic. Perhaps it is like dentistry- making you pay for it profits the surgeon and keeps NHS funds tightly intact ( unlike my stomach!).

After the hernia repair, say a year or so , I will have no choice but to have a full tummy tuck as I need those muscles stitched together to give me back strength if nothing else.

I could not find examples of where the NHS repair the hernia and do a full tummy tuck. I would check with you GP though- different areas will pay for different surgeries.

So, another 3-4 months of maternity clothes awaits! (grin)

honeydew Thu 30-Jul-09 16:53:33

So I've got find 5,000 pounds from somewhere!

But hopefully, I won;t have to pay for the hernia. I wonder if BBeau got her operation done and if it was successful?

I know they will gauze the muscles and attach the herniated area but they won't bring the muscles fully together to flatten out your stomach which is probably why you still look big, although I can't make a proper judgment of course. Only the tummy tuck will do this. But find out from your GP or consultant first to get that confirmed. It's all so confusing but I will get to the bottom of it all so that other women can see this thread and get support.

honeydew Thu 30-Jul-09 17:08:22

Have a look on 'you tube' to see how they bring the widened rectal muscles back together.
Very different from what they told me they would do yesterday. They did offer me some plastic surgery I think but only as an after thought to the hernia. The Dr said they would cut off some loose skin but that was all. I would rather do the straightforward hernia op first , get it over with and recover, then pay for the proper private abdominoplasty so that I can have a flatter stomach and a less risky operation. (no hernia repair needed).

I hope this helps.

I did pray last night hugetum for God's guidence and that this morning I would now what to do. So I feel I'm doing what he told me and what is right for me at this time. Had I not seen that Dr yesterday, I would have had the op and possibly come out unhappy with the result. So I'm pleased to do it this way and have two separate operations over a couple of years. I still may have to have an open hernia repair, but I will not do any plastic surgery at the same time and leave it until my hernia is healed and I am stronger. Hope your flu is better today.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Thu 30-Jul-09 17:10:42

honeydew have only read your OP.

My muscles have separated after DS3. Slightly shock you get an op to sort it out (and ime of a resuture you don't really get a tummy tuck) and wonder why it is debilitating tbh and how you went about getting the op.

honeydew Thu 30-Jul-09 17:23:13

mustsleep- I don;t look in the mirror. I wear pretty maternity tops and keep focused on keeping to a good with an my face/hair nice.

I ma going to fined out as much info as I can over the coming weeks and write to my PCT with a complaint about why abdominoplasty's are not offered to women who NEED them and are disfigured through pregnancy. It should be my right to look normal and over time if not corrected, my abdomen will get worse and pull down my posture with it.

I will have to find the money because I cannot live the rest of my life like this. I was nervous of the surgery but I would have gone ahead if i thought it was worth it. But after the Dr told me it the surgery might only repair my hernia, not my separation then I will look at alternatives to my hernia procedure itself.If I have no choice, then I'll go back to the general surgeon for the open hernia repair. But I won;t go back to plastics because if they can't offer the full tummy tuck, then I'll get it done privately as soon as I can afford it after the hernia op.

honeydew Thu 30-Jul-09 17:28:04

sorry I meant to say -keeping to a good, healthy weight and looking after my face and hair!

To Fabbakergirlisback- no I've NOT been offered the full op at all, just the hernia repair. If you read all the very long posts of mine, you can see what's happened!

I do hope this thread helps people and please post your experiences on here.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Thu 30-Jul-09 17:34:04

I haven't read it all, as I said, and missed the bit about you being in pain.

I am not in pain so I am wondering if there is something more but then I don't have a hernia (mine cleared up on its own) so is it the hernia that is painful?

It sounds a difficult thing to live with.

honeydew Thu 30-Jul-09 17:56:27

yes it can be some days, others not. It is horrible to live with but I manage. I will have it repaired in a few months hopeful by keyhole if I am a suitable candidate but I'll have to wait for a referal to the hospital and have an examination.

I will try some exercises and some other recommendations on this thread to help myself while I sort the hernia out. It is hard to cope with though but it looks like quite a long road before I get it all repaired.

I need 2 ops, the hernia and tummy tuck later. The NHS do offer open surgery on the hernia but no Diastasis ( separated muscle) repair or full cutting away of skin and loose flab like C- Section overhang. Why they will not stitch back together rectus muscle is quite beyond me. Just because I choose to have 3 children who one day will pay into the NHS?angry

Diastasis or diverification can cause long term posture problems, pain, hernias, weight gain, and huge loss of self esteem.

I am at a loss to understand why the NHS will not help women with this problem, whether mild or severe. Mild can become severe and severe can become disfiguring and result in further life long complications. It's absolutely disgraceful.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Thu 30-Jul-09 18:06:59

I am really struggling to lose weight but is it really because my muscles have separated? <ready to learn something new>

mustsleep Thu 30-Jul-09 18:25:38

I am also sruggling to loose weight before this I was 7.5stone now I'm 10 stone plus!! sad

I don;t eat any more than I used to and I can't exercise properly cos of the diastassis (sp?)

although (and I seriously hope that I'm not being premature) but only had the hernia done 2 weeks ago tomorrow and I have lost 5 pounds - may be related or just completely coincidental but I live in hope hmm

Obv losing weight will make it look better bu no matter what weight I am I'll still look pregnant as it's the top part sticking out that I believe gives the pregnant look

Jammybodger Thu 30-Jul-09 21:32:17

I think if you tackle the weight issue first alongside the posture/dr exercises you will see a huge improvement.

I know it is easier said than done but in my case taking out food that left me bloated had a huge impact, as was getting the willpower to go for walks then slow jogs then a run for 20 mins as you build up stamina.

It's hardest to get the motivation when your self esteem is low and your side view shows a pregnant paunch when you are not pg. So it's a vicious circle. Please don't be too hard on yourself though as that alone can sap willpower .

honeydew Thu 30-Jul-09 22:05:28

yes I'm going to cut right down on wheat products - to a minimum and try to do light exercise. They do bloat you out. Even though I'm not fat, the Diastasis and hernia prevent me from exercising properly but I will go for lots of walks and jogs over the next couple of months before the hernia op.

What a nightmare!

kim111 Thu 30-Jul-09 22:57:54

Hi Honeydew - I've been following this thread for a while as I also have DR and a hernia and am just wondering why 2 operations are necessary? If they sew your muscles back together wouldn't that cure the hernia as your guts can't fall through the gap anymore so you wouldn't need a separate hernia repair? Sorry if this is a stupid question but my only research so far has been watching a video on You Tube

Jammybodger Fri 31-Jul-09 11:25:29

And don't forget to draw your stomach muscles in whenever you think about it and keep them there until you can do it for an hour at a time or more! It's a great exerciser and strengthener which can be the first step in a DR tackling regime!

Posture also, as if there is a string from the top of your head to the ceiling, keep it pulled up so that your shoulders don't round. The stomach flattens when your work on your posture and draw in the stomach at the same time. The effects improve without bloat. I replaced junk, alcohol and stodge with rice, nuts, seeds, yogurt, fresh and dried fruit, fresh and frozen veg with a little cheese and meat and choc, it has made a huge difference. More difference than the hernia op!

mustsleep Fri 31-Jul-09 13:09:19

thanks Jammy have been trying this just to suck my guts in really didn't know that I was actually exercising lol - will do it even more now

Have also been trying the Tupler technique before op - and big pants to hold it all in help, and also support your back too wink

honeydew Fri 31-Jul-09 14:01:12

Generally, there is a great deal of confusing about this condition both here and in America. There is an American support thread called 'PEER TRAINER' -Diastasis Recti where you read about other women's experiences.

What we all have in common is that we are all having very different experiences and treatment of essentially very similar problems.

There appears to be ignorance surrounding the condition within the medical proefession. The NHS have not clearly informed me at all about 'Diastasis Recti, 'diverification' and the difference between abdominal reconstruction and an abdominoplasty.

Plus I have an umbelical hernia which complicates the issue and affects what type of surgery is open to me.

No doctor has ever given me a list of treatments both within the NHS and the private sector so that I can choose the best type of surgery for the most effective, long term result.

If you don;t ask, they will not help you. They just rush you through the system and you could be left with your mummy tummy and / or facing another operation.

I should have had my hernia repaired last year really but I did postpone it because I had a baby and was still breastfeeding.

No doctor said I could should look at having two operations- one the hernia and then a tummy tuck at later date if it was possible.

I myself am still very confused and have postponed my surgery for a few months. I want to be seen again and further assessed, perhaps a scan of my hernia and possible keyhole surgery.

Bascially, my understanding of umbelical hernias is a s follows:

a) If you have a large hernia ,then they will use a mesh. That mesh will be attached to the abdominal muscle on both sides, so effectively the mesh is in between the muscles. Thus the muscles are still slightly apart, so you'll still have the tummy bulge.

b)For athletes and people with an active lifestyle- the mesh should be placed underneath the muscles and then the muscles tightened up so that the gap is effectively closed and you tummy flattened more.

But - if you have Diastassi Recti or diverification? ( still not sure what that is yet!), the muscles may be too far apart for the mesh t underneath or above the muscle so in between is you only option. This is true apparently , if the muscles have effectively shredded out to very little. There is even a 1% chance that the hernia will be inoperable and you have to have another, more complex procedure to correct the problem.

Most doctors on the NHS seem do the mesh in between as it is easier but you are left with bulge.

I am going to write to my surgeon today to get all of these issues clarified and then make a properly informed decision as to which surgery will be the best for me.

With my hernia AND DR the only option for me might be the original operation I was on the waiting list for- the open hernia repair and a little nip and tuck here and there!Because of the hernia and the way it will be repaied, I may not be able to have a tummy tuck as there may not be enough muscle to sew completely together if it's a severe separation but I have no idea for sure at the moment. If a tummy tuck will never be an option for me , then I'll have the NHS surgery and be done with it and live with the bulge.

However, if I can have keyhole surgery and then the rectus muscle tightened after a year two plus all excess skin removed then I'll consider that.

I haven;t had a scan since last year, so I'm going to ask for further consultation. I have not been examined by my surgeon for a year either, so I want to be seen by him and I'll take his advice. I don't think the NHS removes the C-Section apron hang either (the pannus) so I want this clarified.

My DH and I also want to explore having say the hernia repaired on the NHS but all the excess skin removed by paying privately so my operation is partly a tummy tuck in that repect. I don't know if this is possible but I want to explore it anyway.

I do understand that they can't tell quite how big the hernia is and how they will operate until they open you up to have a look. So I expect some women with smaller hernias and muscles separation get a better result for abdominal NHS reconstruction than others.

I will post back with what the surgeon says.
I want to look at all options first before going ahead with my original NHS operation.

I know that hugetum had very large hernia and was successfully operated on and I'm so very pleased for her. But it does look as thou they have stitched her muscles fully back together which make all the difference to posture, look and comfort. I know getting rid of the hernia will be a huge relief.

I just need to find out if I can tackle it as a separate health issue through keyhole/open surgery and then in a year or two get the cosmetic issue of the DR,pannus and loose skin dealt with through a tummy tuck.

I hope this makes sense! I think I would rather pay for a proper tummy tuck if that is the best route.

To be honest, I am still confused as to what the original operation was. I did think it was the same as hugetums but I found out at the last minute that this was not the case.

I was down for a hernia repair, but that the plastic surgeon has a little bit of scope to cut off some excess skin but that's it as the NHS do not do abdominoplasty's. The DR is considered cosmetic.

As hugetum said, if the NHS are not going to tighten my abdominal muscles, then my best option is the hernia repair only and a private tummy tuck later where they WILL stitch the muscles together and get rid of ALL the loose skin. So I'll get a better result.

But if they look at me and say no, the hernia is too large and the separation too wide for the muscles to be closed completely, then I'll put myself back on the waiting list for another 3 months and have the original operation I was scheduled for and just live with a smaller bulge.

So no, you don't have to have two operations, but it SEEMS that if you want those muscles tightened as well as the hernia repair, the NHS is not going to help most people achieve it.

Of course it does depend on your medical history, level of DR and herniation ( if you have it) so I can only speak for myself on this thread.

honeydew Fri 31-Jul-09 14:13:25

yep -me too- I'm going to start sucking my guts in and eat more rice, nuts ,seeds etc. Wheat defintatly bloats me out even more!

Can't cut out booze altogether but will only have wine at the weekends form now on. It's unlikely to cure the problem but I can sure try to help myself and strengthen my abdomen so that when I do have the surgery it will be a quicker, easier recovery.

I want to work on my posture as well - the DR and hernia pulls me down so I'm going to practice standing straighter and small exercises for my upper body that keep my shoulders back.

thanks Jammy- how long was it before you noticed a difference? You say it has helped more than surgery? I so wish my hernia would go away!Bloody thing!

honeydew Fri 31-Jul-09 14:24:25

to kin 11.

yes i see your point, but ehat i think you've seen is an abdominoplasty, not a hernia repair.

In the former, yes they bring the muscles together which should push the the hernia back in ! The rectus muscles are tightened and the the excess skin cut off -ie tummy tuck.

But the NHS won't stitch that muscle together as they view it as a SEPARATION of muscles not a tear and is therefore only cosmetic.

Because it is not a medical necessity to repair it, they won't do it. Does that make sense?

Only the private abdominoplasty will get you the muscles tightened. I would LOVE to be wrong and that you could get the full abdominoplasty on the NHS but it appears not.

I possibly could get the hernia and full abdominoplasty done all at once if I went privately. But I don;t have the funds for at least another 2 years my hernia needs repair as soon as possible really and the NHS will help me in this respect.

Jammybodger Sun 02-Aug-09 21:57:29

Hello, just been away for the w/end. I had a HUGE hernia repair, 7.5cm long, vertical from under ribs to tummy button ( they said they could have gone all the way down to my bikini line, my bulge was so bad, 5 mths pg look).

My DR was so bad and my back so weak with it I lost the use of my legs for a while.

Anyway, a hernia repair does not stop the bulge (much to my disappointment) but it did stop the guts protruding when I go on my hands and knees.

What truly helped? I'm going to be brutally honest now. Shifting the tummy fat! I don't think surgery is the best way for that either, too expensive, invasive and puts you out of action for a long time.

I did it the hard way. Do not want to put people's backs up about this as is hard when bfeeding/young dc, little time/money etc. But crucially it can be done if you devote 20 mins 3x a week just to get into some good habits.

Personally, I think bloat giving foods and drink has a lot to answer for so I'd be quite radical about that and get them out of the house for a 6 wk trial period so you don't get tempted. Lidl is a good source of cheap sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.

You just need a small sprinkle once a day with some yogurt and chopped fresh or dried fruit. That really is my only dessert on a day to day basis.

As I no longer eat wheat I have ryvita or rice with a small amount of cheese, veg, eggs, fish, meat etc, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian are great but again, a wide variety but everything small/in moderation.

The rest of what I eat is as much fruit and salad or raw or cooked veg as snacks so it is unlimited really. Then always some choc and may be a glass of wine or Bailey's as a treat.

This diet plus the walking which then turned to jogging (never more than 20mins at a time so you don't get disheartened and give up)and definitely not every day (I'm too lazy for that!), plus the posture and tummy drawing in all the time (whenever I remember, I'm even doing it now!)and I'm sure you will start feeling the benefits quite quickly.

I read somewhere that photographing what you actually eat helpful (if a little extreme!) but it might help those for whom dieting never seems to work.

Basically, I'm so used to holding in my tummy now that it feels natural and so most people would not know I have DR so it's good for my self esteem. I'm sure the nuts/ seeds have something to do with my mood as I used to be alot more depressed than I am now.

Basically this option is cheap and cheerful and if you do have a go I'd love to hear about it.

Jammybodger Sun 02-Aug-09 22:17:57

Whoops! Forgot to say I started noticing a difference within a week of starting the jogging/cutting out stodge).

After 2 months quite dramatic change. Would definitely look good in a bikini now!(but can't because of scar) sad

mustsleep Mon 03-Aug-09 11:03:42

Jammybodger I've just has a hernia repair not quite as drastic as yours but how long was it unil you could exercise afterwards?

Have you done any situps or just he drawing in of the tummy muscles? smile

Jammybodger Mon 03-Aug-09 12:47:59

Mustsleep, could not do any sit ups whatsoever because of strain on back so had to devise other strengthening/tightening methods, and what I've outlined was good for me.

Also, lying down and drawing tummy muscles in and then bending one knee (not lifting) one at a time helped because you can feel the DR muscles working without putting any strain on them.

Swimming is also great (I also ride but don't know how good that is but sitting trot certainly is good for the tummy muscles)

You must only do little at a time and what doesn't strain at all, so I was holding in tummy muscles practically straight after hernia repair and found sit ups too much even 6 months after so don't bother with them at all. I have a bit of a fear that the hernia repair may fail which is why I don't like to put any strain on it.

As I have found, you can get a nice flatter tummy again without doing anything drastic. Seeing women runners with pancake tummies is evidence that running seems to prevent a build up of a fatty middle layer, and again a little and often has worked well for me.

I like the fact I can hold my tummy in and work on my posture at all times no matter what I'm doing, even gardening and as a result I haven't had the back problems since either!

mustsleep Mon 03-Aug-09 20:24:15

thanks I am going to give it a go!

I daren't hardly lift anything at the mo lol, just been for my pos op and have been old to ake very easily so I think it may be some time before I can do much

when you say bending one knee what do you mean not raising your leg at all?

Might try the trampoline also as it's just there begging to be used grin

honeydew Tue 04-Aug-09 17:57:01

I am finding that even after a week, eating more seed, probiotic low fat yoghurt and cutting down on wheat is helping my digestive system. However, I'll wait to exercise until my hernia is repaired and then take it slowly.

Thanks for the advice, I am snacking on dried apricots at the moment. My diet needing improving anyway but it's hard to concentrate on yourself with young children around.

The lady at the fish counter asked when my baby was due yesterday which always gets me down but she did compliment me on other things so I feel just about ok. I had really no idea just how much of a devestating effect on me this condition would have. I cannot believe that it is so little known about.

It is never mentioned in leaflets or information on pregnancy to my knowledge. I honestly did not know that you could get a hernia through having babies! Was I ignorant?

I do wonder why my GP didn't warn me after my second baby and make it clear that after an emergency section I should leave at least 2/3 years before having another. I would have taken good advice!I'm not blaming him as such, but I just wish I'd known the facts, complications and dangers of having kids close together.

I may have to live disfigured all my life and I'm worried I never be able to have an abdominoplasty to flatten my stomach because I am too torn.

Hope you are recovering well from your op mustsleep- it'll be my turn in 2/3 months!

honeydew Tue 04-Aug-09 18:00:07

Just to add- I wouldn't be without my kids though! Love them more than anything.

mustsleep Wed 05-Aug-09 17:17:33

honey though it could happen with out a section though anyway, I have never had a section with any of my three!!

honeydew Wed 05-Aug-09 18:50:38

hi mustsleep- did you have big babies? All mine were big and I have a small frame.

Kayugaduck Thu 06-Aug-09 08:10:38

Hi! Hope you are working on your posture and holding tummy in! I've been doing it too after my hernia repair last week.

My 4 were huge babies and I've a small frame too which is why DR was so noticeable.

But we mustn't be disheartened.

Found a nice way to have a sprinkling of nuts and seeds, on a bed of leaves (got mine from the garden but grow some in pots too for ready supply)lettuce, beetroot, pak choi, spinach with a dollop of salad dressing. Have that as a light lunch now or part of dinner.

Went for quick jog/walk while everyone was sleeping. Dh says it's a good time to go and anyway he's encouraging as he likes my new found 'lift in mood'!!

mustsleep Thu 06-Aug-09 09:47:06

Hi honeydew I have a small frame too which makes it look worse for me to be a size 12 iywim as I seem to carry it all at the front

I don't think any of them were paricularly big though, the biggest was 7lbs 11oz bu I was massive while pregnant, had a lot of water lol

well at leaast I have ended up having the summer hols off work lol wink might have to string this out a bit and make the most of it

am properly starting the diet on Monday, going to give weightwachers a proper go

Have been doing the pulling the stomach and think it must be working a little as I feel achey by bed time

going to start some gentle exercise next week, avoiding situps of course (don't want to undo my hernia op do I) might try a bit of yoga and going to start walking every day again


madzdaizy Wed 02-Sep-09 16:48:26

hi there you said you have a tummy tuck thrown in i was just wondering how you got them to do that and what i should say to my doc to get the same because i have just been to the doc and been diagnosed with the same thing but the doc said they will do all the inside surgery but they wont do the snip of the skin which i would really like to get done as i was saving for a tuck but due to my problem cannot have it done now as ill be having simular on nhs and its not a good idea to have it done twice

nomorexcuses Thu 15-Oct-09 21:42:06

I'm a specialist postnatal personal trainer & have just been blogging on this subject - there's a couple of posts here which might help? Blog Here(No sales pitch - just some free information from someone who has helped put lots of split tummies back together again )

kim111 Tue 27-Oct-09 13:53:31

I'm thinking of having a DR repair operation hopefully next year if I can afford it and I have a couple of (slightly weird) questions for those of you who have had the full repair ie. muscles stitched together.

1) What happens if you eat a lot in one go eg Christmas dinner? Is it really painful? Can the repair come undone?!

2) After the operation are there any bladder/bowel issues? I had twins and was very surprised to have no bladder/pelvic floor problems but I'm wondering if that's because all my guts are sticking out at the front rather than being pushed down as they would be normally....

I would be really grateful if anyone could help me with these questions either on this thread or by messaging me. Thank you!! grin

hugetum Thu 29-Oct-09 21:51:54


Hi, l had the full op in June both Hernia and DR. The only time there is a risk of it coming undone is if you became pregnant. I have been advised not to do any stomach exercises for at least a year, esp crunches thats a no no. Gentle walking/treadmill is ok. If you overeat day in day out over a long period of time...then it will affect your stomach....., l think occasional over indulgence happens. I have found that l try and not to eat carbs after 5pm...it has made a vast difference to my stomach..there is no bloatness.

I had revision surgery a fortnight ago, just to remove excess skin (dog ears) and tidy up the scars. I am happy with my look. It will never be perfect...washboard stomach...but hey considering what l looked like before the op...l am eternally grateful.

Yes l too had all my guts hanging out, and in the first week after the op l felt really strange and felt alot of pressure down below both front and back passage. I felt so scared to visit the loo in case something was pushed out. I was soo concerned that l went to see the Dr. She explained that as half of my overstretched stomach has been removed, it is natural for the body to take time to adjust, especially when the same guts had to be squeezed back into a much smaller stomach. I have to say after 3/4 weeks l don't feel the pressure anymore..it has settled down.

The last week or so..l have been hitting the shops...to buy nice clothes which are not maternity!!!!!...it felt really good. I carry a picture around with me of what l looked like before the op....l never feel down in the dumps anymore.

Good luck with the op

kim111 Fri 30-Oct-09 20:35:22

Hugetum, thank you so much for your reply, it has really put my mind at rest smile. I'm really glad your surgery went so well and am getting excited about the thought of some normal clothes myself now!! I have one more question though - how long before you can exercise properly? Not sit ups or anything like that but just say playing tennis or something?

hugetum Sat 31-Oct-09 14:25:03

Hi Kim11,

I am no expert, but l was advised not to use the treadmill until after 3 months, just listen to your body. As for tennis...that is really strenous, remember the nature of the action...you will be pulling on your oblique muscles on the side of your stomach, it could have a bearing on the muscles that run down your stomach. Try not to put a strain on your stomach...otherwise the stiches will come apart. It can take up to a year for healing to occur...before you contemplate building up strength in your stomach muscles. Apart from lifting up my 15mth son and general housework, anything else which involves involving heavy lifting ...my hubby can do it!!I have noticed that lm cannot run yet...you will feel a strain on your tummy..l just walk on the treadmill.

kim111 Sun 01-Nov-09 13:46:03

Thanks for the reply Hugetum, at the moment I can only really walk and cycle, I don't even dare do weights in case the wrong movement opens up my stomach even more. I guess I was hoping that within a few months of surgery I'd magically be back to my pre-baby body! Do you think that after a year of healing then say a year of stomach strengthening everything would be back to normal or do you think the stomach area would always be a weak point?

hugetum Sun 01-Nov-09 18:57:35

Hi Kim111,

I am not sure, l think the surgeon would be best to advise you. I would just try to look after it the best you can. I am sure you can resume normal activities. It is like with any surgery..you would not put extra strain on that area. I am sure you will be ok.

kim111 Tue 03-Nov-09 23:04:54

Thanks for replying again Hugetum, I think you're right, oh well at least one day I'll look normal again!! smile Thank you so much for answering all my questions smile

nomorexcuses Fri 20-Nov-09 18:15:28

This is such a long & heartbreaking thread for me to read as the amount of bad advice that has been given to some of you is shocking (I mean by physios, doctors, etc not by the other MN'ers who have been really helpful & honest!

Many factors including diastasis determine your post baby tummy. Any combination of diastasis, hernia, prolapse, weakened core muscles (TVA, mutifidus, pelvic floor & diaphragm), dysfunctional pelvic floor due to individual birth expereince, unbalanced blood sugar causing disporportionate fat storage around the abdomen, excess fat, inappropriate or ineffective exercise prescription, even food intolerance... there are many factors at play.

A diastasis CAN be closed, even many years after your last baby. A generic fitness instructor or personal trainer, even some physios, simply won't have the specialist expertise... take a look here www.pregnancyfitnessinsurrey.com/mummy-tummy-masterclass.html and here nomorexcuses.wordpress.com/- I hope it helps!

Parissa Wed 13-Jan-10 23:57:01

Hi Honeydew,

I am suffering from the same problem as you, I look 5 months pregnant, at 5 feet 4 and 8 and half stones I have a bump sticking out. I feel so depressed at the sight of it. My GP referred me to a Consultant who was rather dismissive, he interrupted me when I tried to tell him how I felt about it and basically sent me away. I had a second opinion and the Consultant said the seperation is large but he felt that he had to agree with the first Consultant. I tried to ask him the reason why and he simply said there is chance of infection and complications. Again very dismissive. However he has agreed to refer me to a plastic surgeon. I wanted to know if you experienced any problems in getting them to agree to the operation, and if you (or anyone else reading this) have any advice for me in readiness for my appointment. I would really appreciate any words of wisdom.

batty1 Wed 03-Mar-10 18:42:57

Alaine79, I just want to say that you are not alone. I'm 5 ft 2 and normally 7 1\2 stone but am currently 37 weeks preg. I had horrendous post natal care where doctors told me I was being vain and it would all go away in time after number 2 my diastis was 10 cm after 6 months and even after 3 years was still 3 cms. I finally managed to get a consult with a plastics surgeon through the NHS who was lovely and said that no amount of exercise was going to fix the problem and that i should have surgery to suture muscles back together and remove some excess skin. Its a big op and although you can have more children later on it seems a little crazy to get something fixed if you are going to break it again. My advice is to tell physio that your back hurts and you want to be referred to a plastic surgeon be forceful about it and dont take no for an answer. It's 6 years since I had my first baby and my self confidence is in my boots I'm having another baby in a few weeks and then once i've strengthened up a bit shall go back for the surgery I dont want to feel for the rest of my life nor do i want my husband to look at me like that any longer. Be brave hun and get it sorted.xx

Boosta Wed 07-Jul-10 14:13:25

Hi all, i was diagnosed with Diastasis Recti when 7 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child. I have just given birth to her, and am now starting to read up more about this condition. my muscles have separated completely and are currently as far apart as they could possibly get. I have absolutely no energy to carry myself, my back and stomach ache, and i feel like a rag doll. If i stand for more than 10-15 mins at a time i feel like i will collapse, and i am struggling to walk any distance at all. Did anyone else experience these feelings?

I have been told to not lift anything or do any excersize for at least 6 weeks until they knit back together. I cannot believe this will only take 6 weeks - how long did it take for yours to improve?

Jodieplus2 Wed 15-Sep-10 14:50:47

Hi Ladies,
I am a Personal Trainer, and have been looking into this condition as it seems to be getting more recognised.
Although, at this time, I am in no position to give advice, I have found a course/ licensee which I could study in, to then give training sessions/ classes/ private sessions to help women such as yourself with this condition to recover your tummies.
The course is going to cost quite a lot of money, but once completed I would have dvd's/ books to sell too. I just really wanted to know all of your thoughts whether this would be worth my while persuing and if there is a market out there for these sorts of classes. I would really love all of your thoughts.
Many Thanks!
Good luck to all of you.

me4sunny Tue 21-Sep-10 10:42:51

Hi Boosta I had something similar after giving birth. I had a big baby that was too big for me to deliver anturally so ended up with an em. c-section. For some time (at least two months) I couldn't really wlak properly - I couldn't put my feet in parallel to each other while walking (like normal peple do) I had a very pregnant walk far to the left-far to the right as I didn't have any strength in my core muscles what so ever. because all my friends in russia tend to ware corsets after giving birth I decided to do the same and bought a pretty tight post partum corset that you were suppose to ware day and night for several weeks (don't rememeber how long now) The first time I put it on I suddly got my posture and my "walking ability" back it was really wired! I still have DR of about 3-4 fingers and am 16 weeks pregnant (DS is now 18 months). I have started pilates (not a large gym class but a small group with highly trained pilates teacher and we do apparatus piltaes rather than mat work)
I also have started doing Tupler technique exercises as I am really worried that during and after my 2nd pregnancy DR will get even worth and tupler kinda promisses you that you can do her exercises while pregnant and reduce the gap.
I also had SPD (last time it started at 5 monthand this time I am already getting all so familiar pain when only 3.5 months pregnant) and it didn't go away for 4 months after giving birth ...
so for all those reasons (DS and SPD) I opted out for professional pilates class which is actually quite expencive [sad}

camellia40 Mon 27-Sep-10 09:41:20

10 days ago I had a divarication repair and tummy tuck.

I've got 3 kids aged 7, 5 and 2 1/2 and have had serious issues with my ab wall since bub 2. From soon after my 2nd I worked religiously with a physio/pilates instructor in a rehab environment for ongoing core and back problems. This continued throughout preg no 3 and for 9 months post partum.

At that stage I was carrying weight but looked at least 6 months pregnant and made NO CHANGE whatsoever to the huge separation extending from my breast bone to my belly button, which also protruded further (hernia). I could produce a mountain of a bulge if I did anything like a situp and always felt like I needed to be corseted. I've had mild to moderate morning sickness-like nausea (without vomiting).

After baby 2 I saw a surgeon who wanted to mesh over the gap, but not if I was going to have another.

I stopped going to pilates.
I got amazing results in reducing my gap to what I thought was a mere 2-3 fingers using 2 methods. 1. dvd called "Bounce back fast Post Natal Core Conditioning" Helene Byrne. There was one exercise I did daily sitting cross legged (had to start against a wall as I struggled to sit like this) shoot arms out in front, slide shoulderblades down then lft arms up. You can really feel the muscles being drawn together.
2. fityummymummy.com There were only 2 or 3 things like going back over fit balls or V-ups that I couldn't do, but I've developed amazing core strength, arm strength (so I lift with my arms rather than core) and 2 years on have hips smaller than high school and am very fit and toned - with a HUGE tum. Nearly all exercises I did in pilates so was able to apply good form but with amazing results!

My waist was 2-3 sizes larger than my hips. From the front I looked pretty much straight up and down. If I gave it 60% of my thought I could stand really straight and tall sucking everything in and look good and feel strong. oops, forgot to breathe!!

It was the nausea as well as a feeling of being punched in the stomach at the end of the day that made me ask my gp for a referral. She sent me to a plastic surgeon.

He said my core should be like a circle, with the spine thrown in for support. Mine he described as a horse-shoe hanging off the spine. Nausea is from a nerve being stimulated by 'mobile' organs, ditto for punch like pain when they rub together.

Surgery closed a gap of OVER 15CM above my belly button. The outer muscles were better, but internally they were shot.
He said I could have just a divarication repair utilising my 3 x caesar scar, but a tummy tuck would give the added benefit of tight skin over the front to further protect the newly joined muscles.

The surgery is no walk in the park. 4 nights and nothing like a simple tummy tuck that would be skin only. And far worse than my 3 caesars. I've been repaired both horizontally and vertically, and instantly the nausea is GONE!!!!! Even with all the swelling and bruising I am flat as a tack from my bust to below my belly button. I'm sitting here typing and have noticed my posture - upright with NO EFFORT!!! My core is doing what it is supposed to do. Before kids I never had any memory holding my tum in - meaning above my belly button, and it looks like those days have returned.

I did 2 years of dedicated exercise that WAS working, on top of 3 years with a physio/pilates that wasn't, and my surgeon said I would never be able to close the gap. I wasn't looking at this from a vanity point of view. He explained it was insurance for my back (herniated discs between preg 2 and 3) and ongoing back probs - all related to my disfunctional core.

The very unfortunate part is as others have described - it's considered cosmetic.
In Aust there are some item numbers applied, so private health will foot the hospital costs. The $$$ amount rebated by medicare hasn't changed since the early 70s. no cpi or adjustment whatsoever. We've considered this an investment in my health and very lucky to have the ability to pay.

Hope this is helpful.

lightlyscrambled Tue 26-Oct-10 17:27:31

I'm 4 days post-op and I've just found this thread. In a way I'm glad I didn't read it before as I'm quite shocked by the experiences of some of the posters.
Thought I'd share my story -
I have two DC's, aged 3 and 1. I carried both babies very low down and 'out front'. I'm fairly slim and had a flat stomach before having children, and recovered well after my first child. My second pregnancy was much more uncomfortable - my midwife diagnosed divarication and told me to get a physio referral after the birth. I ended up with an 8-finger gap in my stomach muscles and headed off hopefully to the physio 2 months later. I did my exercises and the muscles below my belly button seemed to come together, however the gap above did not change at all.
After 3 months the head of the phsyio dept told me there was no point in coming back; I should just carry on with the exercises. She said I could possibly go to my GP when my son was at least one and kick up a stink but it was unlikely that I would get surgery on the NHS. Basically their view was that I would just have to live with it.
Months passed and things didn't improve. I had a bulging lump that stuck out over my belly button and loads of saggy wrinkled skin underneath. It was uncomfortable and I had a lot of associated back pain and general weakness. When lying on my back you could clearly see a wide section of exposed bowel/intestine moving - hideous! I couldn't be as active as I wanted to be and found it difficult lifting and cuddling my children. I felt disfigured and depressed but didn't know what to do.
In June my husband went to see our GP and she asked how I was getting on. He mentioned the problem and she told him to get me to see her immediately. She examined me and told me I basically had a huge hernia which no amount of exercise was going to cure and referred me immediately to a general surgeon. She was shock at the physio's attitude.

So, I saw the surgeon in July at our local hosp. Still had the physio's words ringing in my ears so was expecting a negative response and had armed myself with a list of reasons for needing surgery. My appointment couldn't have lasted 5 minutes - he basically looked at my tummy and said 'no problem, we'll sort that out for you.' I did have to push for details but was told that they would bring the muscles (recti) together with mesh and perform an abdominoplasty which was essential to the success of the operation. He said there was a chance I might lose my belly button and emphasised that he was not a plastic surgeon but that they would do the best job possible. I'm sure he also said that it would be a transverse scar of 10-12cm.
I was over the moon, especially as I had not expected that they would agree to deal with the loose skin (much less that it was considered an integral part of the procedure).
In my pre-op appointment I asked about the site scar but the response was cautiously vague. It was clear that as this was medical necessity rather than a private cosmetic procedure they weren't going to discuss or commit to details, which on balance seemed fair given the other benefits. I still felt grateful that they were going to deal with it at all, even more so now having read this thread.

So, here I am. I have a 20cm vertical wound (not the transverse 12cm one!). Obviously it's early days and I have dressings and swelling in the way but certainly my tummy is noticeably flatter and smoother. I spent two nights in hospital - the first 24hrs were horrendous - lots of morphine and bedpans as I couldn't get up. Then the pain got more bearable and I quickly felt much better. I know to expect 2/3 weeks doing very little and 4/6 weeks without lifting but I'm surprised by how mobile I am, even though feeling sore and a bit wobbly.

I'm so glad I did this, even though I can't see the finished result yet. I know I couldn't have put up with the alternative indefinitely. It just seems very sad that some people have had to battle so hard to help or, bewilderingly, have been refused parts of the procedure that I was told were essential to success.

formychildren Mon 01-Nov-10 13:49:39

Hi all, I have this condition too. I had 2 DCs through C/sections. I did the test for myself to measure the gap and it was 3-4 fingers below the belly button. My midwife did say I should get a physio after the baby. But, I thought the hospital would do it like a normal routine for me. But, they haven't. My youngest is nearly 3 and I just started brisk walk for 35-40 mins every day(5day week just walking back home after leaving my child at school). I found the gap has almost gone, under the belly button. But, still have got the 2-3 finger gap just on top of the belly button. But, there is atleast 2-3 inch hang of the stomach and just around the belly button it looks as if there is that hollowness. Just don't know what it is.I still look I'm atleast 5-6month pregnant.

I have been to see the doc in august. she said I have no diastasis and said some times the stomach doesn't go back to it's post pregnancy state. We just have to live with it kind of. I asked her if she could refer me to a physio. But yo know what she said, physio won't be able to help my condition. I just have to join a gym and get advice from the gym people.Very helpful wasn't she.Rightly said, it's very sad and unfair that some of us have to struggle even get a good advice. Some docs say, like mine, we just have to live with it.

So if anyone is looking for reducing the muscles gap walking should just be fine.Just make sure it is brisk walk and may be tie your tummy with a long scarf around to support it.

Good luck to every one. And please post here, if some one has got their stomach back to normal, what you did to go back to normal.I have been reading like mad all over internet to find out the ways to get back to normal pre-baby stomach.

Lindis Thu 11-Nov-10 20:29:18

Hi Lightlyscrambled, Honeydew & Hugetum

I am so happy and yet sad to have found all of these other women with the same problem as myself. It is very reassuring although sad to know that I am not alone with the problems that I have and the battles I am having to fight trying to even get some acknowledgement or help for the diastasis recti and hernia that I have. I have four children under 6 and want to feel strong again without the same aches and pains that everyone else mentions. I see that you mentioned a plastic surgeon at Guys Hospital. I am now desperate as the GP and consultant surgeon I have met do not want to acknowledge the DR problem, only the hernia, even though I can get 5 fingers in the gap in my stomach. Please, please could either of you give me the name of the consultant/s that you have seen, so I can at least get a referral to him as he has an understanding of my condition.
If anyone else can advise me of another consultant/plastic surgeon where I could get a referral via the NHS, please, please could you let me know!! Ps. I live in West Sussex, but would travel anywhere to get the right help!

Thanks to all and good luck

LTSal Wed 17-Nov-10 13:26:24

Hi all
I am waiting for a date for my hernia repair op and having read lots of messages I quizzed my surgeon about the whys and hows of hernia and diastasis rectii repair on the NHS.
Here's what I have figured out over the past few years.
Diastasis rectii occurs as the progesterone that causes ligaments to soften also allows stretching of the connective tissue between the rectus abdominus muscles - the long muscles running up your front. This connective tissue can over-stretch so it doesn't shrink back post-pregnancy so even if you have strong muscles the connective tissue isn't holding them together properly. Also the skin can overstretch and doesn't have the elasticity to go back to its original form, hence the saggy belly. Add to this fat moving to your tummy area during pregnancy, it's not surprising we see what we do
Unfortunately the NHS doesn't consider this to be anything other than a cosmetic problem and this is where the GP response can be to tell the patient it's just one of things angry. Having strong stomach muscles will improve it and I suspect very few of us are actually doing enough of the right exercises and properly to make the difference and that is because we're exhausted and time poor through looking after children/being pregnant/juggling life work balance etc I have noticed a change in mine over the past couple of years, so time does help a bit. The surgical solution to this is plastic surgery - abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck.
Now, different to diastasis rectii is that some people end up with a hernia. This is where bowel/intestines poke through a break in the muscles/connective tissue. You can feel a hard lump and when you lie flat and cough it bulges up. This is considered a medical problem and you should be offered surgery to repair it. If it doesn't get repaired there is a potential issue with strangulation of the intestines and an emergency operation will be needed shock. On the NHS the hernia can be repaired but the diastasis rectii and stretched skin won't, BUT if you have both and see the right surgeon/surgical team - this will probably be a plastic surgeon and general surgeon working together - they may take the view that they can do all of it at once when they do the hernia repair grin. It is a much bigger operation and recovery is longer than just for hernia repair. You probably end up with a bigger scar, but it's horizontal and located where c-section scars are so mostly out of sight, compared to vertical and on your tummy for an umbilical hernia repair. A friend recently had an umbilical hernia repaired by a general surgeon who she asked to try and 'tidy' things up a bit, and he did have a go but she doesn't think the results are great so I think it's worth bearing in mind that you really need a plastic surgeon's skills to get a good outcome for improving stomach shape.
The view of the wonderful plastic surgeon who I have dealt with is that the diastasis rectii op should be available on the NHS and that for women post-natally the psychologists attached to his plastic surgery unit find that the bulging tummy effect is much more traumatic than any other post-natal body change, including saggy breasts etc and has a major impact on well-being and how you live your life - eg taking kids swimming and any activity that reveals your tummy and so on
I have ended up with a combined plastic and general surgeon through sheer fluke - my referral got bounced on through various people; it has taken me a year to see all the right people once I got the referral and has been very frustrating, especially with the battle I initially had with GPs at my surgery to actually get a referral. Even though I had a previously diagnosed umbilical hernia following my first pregnancy and not 'just' diastasis rectii, they failed to examine me properly and didn't agree with me and I had to see 3 different GPs before I could get a referral to see a surgeon angry.
Although I am enormously grateful that I have this opportunity of dealing with the entire problem I am now increasingly worried about the surgery as I am under no illusions over how painful and debilitating it will be, never mind the whole concept of a general anaesthetic and risks associated with that. Also bizarrely, and this is something I really can't get my head around confused, I am also uncomfortable about having that saggy chunk of my stomach cut away. I think it looks hideous and I wish it wasn't there but I hate the idea that a bit of me will be missing, I suppose I basically wish the whole thing hadn't happened and left me where it does which is clearly not a useful/realistic way to be thinking.

Anyway, a very long message, sorry, but I hope it helps some of you.

LTSal Wed 17-Nov-10 13:35:50

Sorry, I meant to say that doing the right exercises should improve it a bit, but they can't do anything about the overstretched connective tissue.

Lindis Wed 17-Nov-10 15:35:06

Hi LTSal,
Thank you for the information. To save me going through all of what you have already gone through on top of the three and a half years of GPs, Surgeon, Physio and others that I have already seen, please please could you give me the name and location of the plastic surgeon that you are about to see? I need this so that I can force my GP & Surgeon to give me a referal as I am in lots of pain, have a recognised hernia and Im desperate to feel whole again! I understand that you may not want to give a name on a notice board, so please use the email to my company, as I work everyday with people with bumps! info@radiantmums.co.uk
Good luck on the operation and please let us know how it went for you
A huge thanks and good luck,

nomorexcuses Thu 02-Dec-10 15:29:22

That's a great sum-up LTSal, you really have had to learn it all the hard way haven't you? Well done for persisting for all those referrals & for sharing your experience! A place where you can find a TONNE of information on diastasis recti & all the other reasons for a protruding, sticking out post-baby tummy... wink is at mutusystem.com Surgery is a last resort (obviously) but there is a hell of a lot you can do as well. The right corrective exercise can bring the muscles back together and the connective tissue will come back with them. Blah blah I'll shut up - I witter on about this on the blog all the time so take a look if you’re interested!

Chills Tue 14-Dec-10 13:32:49

Hi I am expecting my 3rd baby I have just found out and I am panicking as I had this condition with my last child and it took me months to repair my stomach muscles, I looked awful, and was often asked if I was due soon. I am only 6 weeks pg ATM and I would really love it if there was something I could do to prevent this from happening this time does anyone have any advice?

wondermuman Wed 12-Jan-11 12:41:37

Hi I'm new to mumsnet and just wondered if anybody out there had recently had or will be having an abdominoplasty and combined hernia op? Have read the comments from other mumsnetters and can say that i have had the same experience as so many of you. Rejections, referals, physio, counselling, you name it, however, 3 years after my little girl, and 8 years!!! after my son, i'm finally getting my op this feb. It's been a very long road but i am extremely excited and a little bit scared and could do with a bit of moral support from anyone out there who has gone through the same.

Thanku v much

love wondermuman x

LTSal Sun 30-Jan-11 10:27:16

here I am, 5 days post surgery. OK I'm going to be honest here and not gloss over anything because I don't want people to think this is a walk in the park, so if you're squeamish, look away now. the surgery I have had is an umbilical hernia repair, my rectus muscles brought back together and my abdominal skin has been pulled down and re-shaped (abdominoplasty). My initial thoughts: I have a scar running from hip to hip, probably 30 cm; i feel very full, like i have eaten an enormous meal and have a child sitting on my stomach (this lasted about 4 days and is starting to subside); i already feel i have a stronger core, my stomach is pretty flat and more or less all of my over-stretched skin has gone; the drains I had for a couple of days post-op are hideous and having them removed is awful, but i think it's the thought of it which is worse than the actuality. My tummy button may not survive as it didn't have a very good blood supply, only time will tell. It can be reconstructed if necessary and is more of a concern to me than my surgeon. keeping pain under control is really important and has been so brilliantly managed by the hospital that i can't say i have been in pain. having small children around is nerve racking as i'm expecting to be jumped on any minute and I really can't cope with that, so thank goodness for local grandparents. the actual wound is pretty numb, i had expected that though. The surgeons and nurses at the Royal Free Hospital who looked after me are incredible and being cared for by them and seeing their dedication is a humbling experience. Having a plastic surgeon, as opposed to a general surgeon, lead the repair has been key. Maybe I'll update again in a week or so. LTSal

irishmumto3 Fri 11-Feb-11 23:41:18


I've read all of the messages here and can't help getting the sinking feeling that all these issues of divarification of the recti and umbilical hernia etc. is just not recognised as something worth treating. I'm due a 2nd opinion from another (general not plastic) surgeon next week and am starting to feel defeated already. After 3 babies in 3 years (youngest is now nearly 5)I was left with an umbilical hernia that I didn't even know was an umbilical hernia for about 3 1/2 years. With hindsight it really wasn't so bad and if I could to back to having just that I would. So first of all I was referred to a surgeon who merrily says it's very easily fixed and when would I like it done?? I naively booked myself in for the op (12 months ago)and expect to have a nice flat tummy afterwards (I'm not overweight thank goodness). After things settled down post op I realised I'd been left with a massive bulge above the belly-button that is hard and uncomfortable and varies in size from slight protrusion to becoming about the size of a big potato. Having been back twice to the surgeon who did the op. I have got no satisfaction - or explanation as to what exactly has happened - he doesn't deny that the bulge is there but has not offered to have it fixed. I feel very let down as the possibility of whatever has happened was never mentioned. I'm off to see this 2nd guy next week but feeling a bit despondent as it seems that the only thing surgeons care about is the hernia and how you actually look doesn't seem to matter. I feel I'll have to prostrate myself on the floor of his consulting room and refuse to leave unless he agrees to operate if I want any chance of surgery. On the other hand maybe they don't do the surgery for good reason i.e. lots of pain and possible complications with no guaranteee of success???? So what to do??? It really is not just about pure vanity - I am just really depressed with the discomfort it causes and feeling that people are looking at this bulge. I'm 43 and the thought of this being with me for the rest of my life is truly depressing.

LTSal Tue 15-Feb-11 14:12:08

Hi irishmumto3
So sorry to hear your situation and how it's making you feel. As far as I can work out the separated muscle part is considered a purely cosmetic issue by the powers that be in the NHS, even though reading this thread and my personal experience is that it is at least uncomfortable, can be painful and, according to the surgeon who just did my (umbilical hernia and diastasis rectii) repairs, will probably get worse with age. The operation to fix the diastasis is initially more debilitating than a simple hernia repair but the long term prognosis in terms of core strength etc is much better. I am now 3 weeks post surgery having had hernia fixed, diastasis fixed and abdominoplasty. It's a pretty brutal op and I definitely still need time to get my head around how my body looks now; the diastasis bulge has gone and all the loose skin, superficially it looks good and internally I feel much stonger already, I have muscle function back, ie when i try and pull in my abdominal muscles they do actually move, but I have a huge scar running from hip to hip and another around my tummy button, which will take time to fade. It's been pretty tough on my partner and family to deal with me being unable to do anything - no lifting, pushing pushchair etc and I will have had 4 weeks off work, but i am feeling much better every day and hugely relieved it's over. And, very importantly glad i had it done now (I'm 41) so i will get the benefit of healing while I am youngish (!) and also the benefit of being stronger and happier while my children are still small. I'm sorry to say I think you will struggle to get further treatment if you continue to be referred to random general surgeons as they have already fixed the umbilical hernia and will be essentally blind to the remaining problem, i.e. bound by NHS rules and possibly it's out of their field of expertise, especially if you see a Registrar rather than a Consultant. The NHS only considers the hernia part to be the medical necessity, but this is something which most women with diastasis would strongly disagree with as far as i can see. I don't know where in the UK you're based but I would really recommend you either try to get a referral to the plastic surgeon who treated me or the general surgeon I was originally referred to who bounced my referral onto the plastic surgeon because they routinely work together in a combined surgery team. I have no idea how much lee-way an individual surgeon has or how my diagnosis compares to yours, it may be that you would get different advice to me from the same surgeon, however I feel very strongly that it should be something all women with hernia, diastasis etc should have access to - we should have bodies that function well in order to live our lives well, it's not about outside appearance, it's about core strength. I have a friend who is a medic and she is firmly of the opinion that if it was men giving birth and encountering these sorts of complications the services provided by the NHS would look very different. I know the NHS has finite resources but this is a long term condition with potential to have a big impact on a woman's well-being. Contact me off-thread if you want to discuss further, I've rambled on quite long enough here!
good luck, LTSal

irishmumto3 Mon 21-Feb-11 21:33:05

Hi LTSal, well I went to see the surgeon last Friday and far from having to beg for surgery he looked and immediately said I had quite a large hernia (totally separate to the original umbilical one) and definitely needed surgery. He does laparoscopic surgery as opposed to the other guy who did full surgery. He didn't say in plain English that my other surgeon messed up but did say that repairing an umbilical hernia only, in a woman who has had children never works in his experience and that he would have strengthened the whole area. So that is what he said he is going to do in 2 weeks time - as well as opening up my scar from last year to allow for loose skin to be tidied up and my bellybutton "repositioned" which I can't quite visualise. He said that there is absolutely no question but that the hernia needs to be sorted out soon so at least I feel vindicated in going for a 2nd opinion and someone feels it's bad enough to operate. I was terrified I was going to be stuck with this forever. I'm not even going to contemplate the possibility that this won't work and while I know it will be very painful, that will pass and hopefully by summertime I'll be back to normal and able to enjoy life again!! I think you're right though, that if this was a problem that affected men it would get more attention and sympathy. I'm still raging that my old consultant surgeon dismissed my concerns.

LTSal Wed 23-Feb-11 19:59:27

That is great news - so pleased for you! and only 2 weeks to wait. I hope that gives you time to arrange help with the children - at least they are old enough that you won't need to be lifting and pushing them around. And laparascopic surgery should be a fast recovery, what a great result! But a big grrr with the other surgeon, and all healthcare professionals who are dismissing this condition angry. I'm sure it will be a massive relief for you - I now feel I can really move on and look forward, good luck with it all smile.

irishmumto3 Mon 04-Apr-11 21:27:13

Had the op. 4 weeks ago tomorrow and so far I'm really happy with the result. I only stayed in one night after the surgery and I'm glad I did as I was in a lot of pain. Slowly but surely I am almost back to my normal self - I could hardly walk for the first week but day by day things have improved. I have a mesh inserted across my full abdomen to hold everything together as due to the divarification none of the muscles near the middle of my stomach were holding anything in. My belly button has been stitched down and I look dare I say it almost normal. I managed to stand in front of a mirror and not hate how I looked for the first time in 5 years. Just like you I feel I can get on with things now and not worry about this any more. In about a month I'm going to get back to exercise and get in shape for summer. I'm so glad I went back for the second opinion. Thanks for your replies earlier.

LlamaPyjama Tue 12-Apr-11 23:20:56

Just joined Mumsnet cos a friend sent me a link to this thread. I'm 50 and after my second child was born in 1991 I got a small umbilical hernia below the belly button. I had it surgically repaired in 1993 and was left with a "smile" scar under the belly button. Over the years another hernia appeared above the belly button until I could feel a large lump of intestine bulging out. Last year I had a second hernia repair. The surgeon used the old scar below the belly button but didn't warn me that this would mean cutting through the stalk of the belly button as he rolled back the flesh to reached the hernia above the belly button. He put a mesh in to cover the gap between the muscles. After the op I developed a seroma (fluid filled lump) in the space under the skin. One day I sensed a popping feeling and my belly button, normally pulled in like a button on a cushion, suddenly became level with the rest of my very distended abdomen. The surgeon refused to drain it (risk of infection) but a second surgeon said it was more risky to leave and removed 80ml of fluid covering me with antibiotic prophylaxis. But I have a huge pregnant-looking bulge centrally above my belly button. The second surgeon confirmed I have "divarication of the recti" which has worsened again and another small hernia is present even higher up. I was referred to a plastic surgeon to consider a possible joint procedure by both surgeons - abdominoplasty and stitching the muscles together and a deeper mesh covering the hernias. However I am diabetic and the plastic surgeon wont do a full abdominoplasty as he says the skin may not heal well. He is also worried about getting to the hernias above the belly button as he can't cut the belly button stalk again and wont cut round the belly button as that may be the only blood supply to it. Of course there is further risk of another seroma. I am finally being offered a keyhole procedure to put a longer mesh deeper across the divarication to correct the hernias. But I want to get rid of the huge bulge. I got on a train (with my 19 and 22 year old kids) and got offered a seat cos I look pregnant! My tummy is huge. When I eat it bulges even more. I cannot go for a a job interview as I look pregnant or it is obvious I have a medical problem. Either way no-one will employ me and my self-confidence is in tatters. I have had a lot of medical problems over the years and more than enough surgery to last a lifetime. Why is this such a difficult issue to deal with? The original surgeon never discussed anything with me and didn't even do a scan. I had no idea about divarication of recti before the second opinion. Being diabetic makes it all worse but there must be someone who can help me?

Milliemuffin Wed 13-Apr-11 22:26:36

Just marking my place so I can read this properly tomorrow. I was still 2 fingers separated in October (when DC2 was 10months old) when I fell pregnant with DC3 so who knows what state my stomach is going to be in after this one arrives.

mumwithtum Sun 17-Apr-11 21:18:58

Im in the process of trying to get my dr sorted and 3 hernias, I had a very disappointing apptmnt with the first consultant who laughed at my condition and said they would repair hernias but that dr was cosmetic and i would have to pay privatly. I was then refered to another general surgeon who after alot of coaxing and persistence from my husband agreed to refer me to a plastic surgeon to discuss hernia repair and possible dr repair, I have two children under 2 and have a job in a behaviour school where i have to restrain pupils at times i also have a condition with my back. I too like the majority who post on here have a horrid pregnant bulge my baby is 7 months old and i still look about 6 months gone, i am a size 10/12 so this makes my stomach look even more noticable, it affects me every day as i cannot wear tight fitting tops I have to look for clothes that are baggy and hide my bump, i am awaiting an appointment to see the plastic surgeon and just hope and pray they offer me the repair of the dr. It has been really helpful to read this thread and know i am not on my own, it seems all my friends that have had babies have bounced back to their normal shapes and its just me that looks like this. oh would love to know how wondermuman got on in feb?

michaela18a Tue 03-May-11 12:35:45

hi there, i also have dr, albeit just a 2 finger gap that runs for about 10cm. This was originally 6 fingers width but have managed to get it down. For me its two things that bother me. The first is how it looks, i have managed to lose 4 stone after my pregnancy and rest of body is fine but stomach is a mess with overhang, loose skin and a general pregnancy look sad First thing in the morning its not too bad but as soon as i eat anything poof, i look about 6 months pregnant. Secondly is the pain, i cant take the back ache and hip pain caused by it. Drs recommended painkillers but thats not treating the problem, just masking the symptoms. Have accepted that not likely the nhs is going to pay to fix this so am seriously thinking about paying for it privately and wondered if anyone else had had this done private and what the costs were? I am "needing" my stomach muscles repaired and excess skin removed smile

sarah133 Fri 13-May-11 21:04:13

Hello Everyone,
When I first came across this page i had to fight back the tears, firstly just pure relief that im not alone , secondly i felt so sad to see so many of you with the same problem who felt the same about their bodies as i feel about mine :@(
I have two daughters age 4yrs and 2yrs (nearly 3yrs,they are 15 months apart) and they were both big babies,my first was 8lb 9 and my second was 11lb 1 (both emergancy c-sections) but i look like im still heavily pregnant, and im often asked when im due! :@(
Until now i had no idea that the hip and back pain and the "bump" had anything to do with the parted muscle,i just thought i am fat and the pains were weight related, i didnt know you could "knit your muscles back together as my Doctor told me the only option would be to have a tummy tuck after i lost some weight so that has been what my goal for the last yr!
Thank you all so much, you have all really helped more than you could ever know xxx

mumwithtum Wed 18-May-11 20:43:24

Just a little update, I have received a letter from the plastic surgeon saying that it does sound as though i need abdominoplasty but due to tight funding restrictions for this procedure on the nhs it would be unlikely that I would be granted it, however he has agreed to see me to discuss further and assess me. I am due to see him on 14th of july which seems forever away but at least I get to see him.
Sarah133 I know how you feel about finding this page, I felt like a freak before i read this as everyone i know who has had children just seem to bounce back to normal shape, at worse have a little bit of flab, but to still look pregnant after 3 years its soul destroying,


nomorexcuses Thu 19-May-11 14:39:00

Hi there, I'm a specialist personal trainer who deals with diastasis recti queries daily from all around the world - I hope I can help! I'm at mutusystem.com if you want to find my site which has tonnes of free information, but I've popped on here as a fellow mum who can hopefully answer some of your questions, not to sell you anything! Sit ups and crunches will make a diastasis worse. There is a lot of confusion, but basically 1-2 fingers gap is usually not a problem, but you should still stay away from sit ups. You still need to keep the deeper abdominal muscles strong to support your back. Up to about 4 fingers is definitely regarded a diastasis, & needs corrective exercise. More than 4 fingers is regarded as quite a severe diastasis... & also needs corrective exercise! Sometimes a diastasis is associated with a hernia, & a hernia cannot be repaired with exercise - its needs surgery (when they usually sew up the diastasis for good measure!). There are occasions when a diastasis alone can be too wide to respond completely to exercises, in which case surgery is an option. They literally sew the 2 halves of muscles together down the midline. This leaves a big, vertical scar from breastbone to pubic bone. Or if you have the muscles sewn as part of a full tummy tuck op, then the scar will be a big ‘smile’ on the same site as a c-section scar but much wider. Even if your gap is quite wide, I always recommend you go for corrective exercise first to avoid being cut open if at all possible! The vast majority of cases can be corrected with the right exercise... but like I said, if there is a hernia present, you will definetly need surgery if you want it fixed. If you have sharp pain, an ‘outie' belly button & a protrusion that is tender & painful to touch or gentle squeeze, an umbilical hernia is likely to be present. Hope that helps! PS There's a video of how to test yourself on the mutusystem YouTube channel.

llj11uk Mon 20-Jun-11 09:39:29

I was left in the same postion after having my first child. He weighed 10lb 3 and was delivered by c section. I had excess fluid and my fundal measurement was 54 cm on my due date. My baby, uterus, fluid and placenta weighed almost 3 stone. I had previously always had quite strong abdominal muscles and was really upset when my belly didn't go down after weeks. I was left with a belly that looks like i'm 6 months pregnant and people even asked if i'd 'had the baby get?' and 'when's the next one due?' I am so embarrassed by it that it has left me hiding away at home most of the time. And i have backache and stomach ache most of the time. My muscles are so useless now and i am finding it really hard to deal with the massive difference in my body's strength, I used to play sport 4/5 times a week, now i can't do this. My belly button looks hidious and i have a hang over the top of an almost flat non existent belly button. I have also been left with a massive apron so the profile of my body looks totally strange and i can't even hide it with loose tops. I demanded seeing a consultant after my doctor basically telling me I should 'get over it'. But i was told i couldn't have physio or surgery and that i needed to get private help if i wanted to deal with it. I have a 6 finger gap and can feel my organs in the gap. I have just given birth to my second child 10lb and I carried even larger than the first time. I have my 6 week check up soon and have changed doctors so I will be trying again to get something done. I really don't believe anyone that hasn't suffered from this can truely believe how much this condition affects your life. Please let me know if you got surgery for the condition and what regions/areas you live in as it seems to affect the decision. thanks

heythereb Tue 21-Jun-11 11:05:15

Again wouldn't wish the condition onto anyone but it is a relief to hear others experiences!

I have an umbilical hernia along with diastasis and wondered if anyone got their original body shape back themselves, ie without surgery?

If so did you achieve it with physio or by doing exercises at home?

From what I've read it seems surgery is the only way if you have both things...

bigjan Wed 22-Jun-11 20:51:33

I am fascinated by reading all your stories. I, too, have an umbilical hernia and a very large diastasis. I have four children, oldest is 21 and youngest 13. When I asked my GP if anything could be done, she told me to go away and lose weight !! It was actually a podiatrist last year who told me to go see someone about it as she had thought I was pregnant and I had responded by saying I was just fat. I turned 50 last year so being thought pregnant was really awful. Since then, I am asked that almost every week, twice this week !!
After a lot of time and effort I am now getting my problem sorted next week but not, unfortunately, including a tummy tuck. I am really looking forward to not looking seven months pregnant any more. Its been hell and now that I'm diabetic, recovery may take longer but I can't wait for the new me !! Wish me luck and take heart all you who have yet to be sorted, just dont let your GP fob you off - it CAN be fixed!

Sophie2008 Mon 11-Jul-11 15:22:35

I have a huge hernia and split muscles and very saggy skin. I have an almost 3 year old and 14 month old non identical twins who were over 7lb each when they were born.
When i initially went to my doctors she just thought i was moaning i was fat after having my babies. It wasn't until i lifted up my top and slightly tilted back that she saw this huge ridge down my front, and she immediately then understood what i was trying to say. I broke down in tears as i can not stand to look at myself in the mirror and i have not let my husband see me naked or near me either.
The Doctor referred me to a Surgeon, and i saw one of his junior people, who was not really helpful at all. I've got an appointment with the Consultant himself (or so i am told) at the end of the Sept. So i will make notes from this thread of the things i need to ask, and i hope they will be able to fix my saggy skin too.

whatatip Tue 19-Jul-11 23:21:42

bigjan, are you still around? How did you get on?

tilly90 Fri 22-Jul-11 10:07:38

I'm so relieved I've found these messages - and that there arent a flood of 'know it alls' claiming that this shouldnt be done on the NHS.

I have had three large babies within 5 years, the latest one a year ago and was previously a size 10. I'm now a 12 but my stomach is 18 which makes buying/wearing clothes very distressing. I have diastasis recti and look 6 months pregnant. I havent returned to work yet due to postnatal depression which has knocked me for six, I dont feel the person I used to be, and more importantly to me, I dont resemble physically the person I used to be.

My doctor has said that specific stomach excercises will do little to improve the appearance of my disgusting stomach. I walk every day once the children have gone to bed to keep the rest of my body toned, and am very happy with everything else. But, due to me being on my feet all day, and walking in the evenings, I'm getting dreadful lower back pain, my doctor has said it's due to me not having the support in my stomach.

I have to wear maternity clothes as 'normal' clothes just dont fit, and am constantly in tears when people ask when I'm due.

The NHS wont accept me due to cash restrictions, and my private health care has rejected my request as they see it as a cosmetic procedure.

I disgust myself when I catch a reflection, I dont let my husband anywhere near me, and have lost many friends due to not wanting to socialise. All this with trying my utmost to combat postnatal depression is proving too much. If I didnt love my children so much I'd end it all, I'm so low.

tracks Fri 23-Sep-11 14:29:32

I found this thread after searching and searching the web for any advice about DR.

I have two children, 8 and 4 and was diagnosed with DR and a hernia after visiting a physio at my local maternity unit. I referred myself. This was AFTER my doctor examined me at the 8 week postnatal check-up and said I was ok to start gentle exercises (no mention of DR). The physio couldn't believe I had a hernia and said I should re-visit my doctor to see if it needed surgery. He said no.

I started doing the recommended exercises given to me by the physio at the maternity unit and gradually the gap reduced to about 3 fingers width. However, I just can't get it to close any further and have recently started getting pains, some quite severe.

I went back to my doctor and he referred me to a consultant (private) and he said if I had the hernia op it wouldn't necessarily work and if it didn't, the problem would be worse than before with no chance of a further repair. I'd also be left with a big vertical scar.

I still look about 5 months pregnant, have no self-esteem and hate letting my husband see me naked. I just feel fat. I also have continuing back problems; the last bout took 3 months of physiotherapy to put right.

I'm totally fed up and just want my life back. I really don't know how to go about getting it sorted.

Any advice would be appreciated. smile

Sophie2008 Thu 29-Sep-11 22:56:55

Hi tracks.
I just found this thread.
I actually saw a surgeon today about get my DR fixed and they told me they won't do it, as apparently it won't work and i could be left in a worse position than what i am in now!
They said there is no fix for it. I would say my gap is about 5 fingers wide. It's ridiculous.
I look like i am heavily pregnant i'd say about 6-7 months and i'm not!! I'm always getting asked when the baby is due and it is so embarrassing to say no i'm not. I too can't bear my husband to see me naked and I wear a lot of lose shirts and tops that don't cling.
I have a 3 year old and I also I have twins who are 17 months old and they weighed over 7lb EACH when born!! There we a boy and girls so i had two waters, placenta etc... :-o

I am going to seek a second opinion as i just feel they didn't give a about my feelings and how it is effecting me. No mater how much weight i lose i will always look pregnant as the bulge will never go, it will probably show more!

I was a nice size 14 when i fell pregnant with twins and now i have to wear size 18 to cover the bulge and mainly maternity tops to get the length to cover it. It's so depressing.

I am going to do lots of research and find people who have had the op, so i can go back fully armed with lots of info and cases of where surgery has made a difference. I really hope i can find someone to do it.

WhatsWrongWithYou Thu 29-Sep-11 23:18:16

I hope no one minds me (as a non -sufferer of this horrible condition - well, I probably have a one-finger gap which I've never quite got around to addressing) jumping in to say that this site might be worth a look for some of you.

I've remembered seeing Julie Tupler mentioned on other threads - if you search on MN there's a lot of references to her technique.

Apologies if it's not appropriate - just wanted to flag it up in case it's of some use to someone.

Sophie2008 Thu 13-Oct-11 16:45:28

Thank you for the link. It sounds and looks interesting. My Gp has referred me for a second opinion with a Surgeon but if i can do it without Surgery then all the more better! grin)

TZS Sun 23-Oct-11 21:29:57

I found this thread totally by accident but I have been so moved I just have to post some information as I have a good friend who had a five finger separation and she swears the Tupler Technique saved her from surgery - as I remember she had to wear a belt like thing and do special exercises for about 15 minutes everyday but when she started seeing positive results she was spurred on and the surgical alternative is so scary. I guess it's worth looking into before surgery if you can? My friend found it in The UK, from a company called Tummy Tribe. Good luck to you all xx

Staceburgers Tue 17-Apr-12 18:43:22

Hi all
Just wondered how you all got on.

I've been to the docs today after being fed up of my pointed tummy.
I'm 2 fingers separated. My youngest is almost 4 sad

Doc sending me for physio. Surgery not really an option.


SeratoninIsMyFriend Sat 07-Jul-12 21:02:17

Hi all,

I wanted to update with my experience in case it helps as I have found this thread so useful in my research.

I had DD in 2008 and though a size 10/12 had a very floppy pooch belly that hung right down and didn't go like all the other mum's tums... Nobody picked up what it was until my lovely h/v said at 2 wks post partum 'that isn't normal, go to the GP and get a referral to physio' - sounds blunt but I was so relieved to have someone acknowledge it. It hurt when I got out of bed every feed and in the morning! I went to a (male) GP who basically said i was 3wks post post partum and to give it time, his wife had had three and went back to normal (oh thanks for that!) but did the referral. Saw physio on NHS who directed me to exercises that helped minimise the gap though not recommended by Julie Tupler. I probably ended up with a 2 finger gap around and above the navel, though closed below well.

We put off having DC2 for a while as physio had told me it would happen again and worse with each pregnancy, but finally conceived DS in Aug 2010. By this time I had found Tupler technique from this thread and ordered the book to use after the birth so felt a bit positive. My bump grew to epic and uncomfortable proportions despite input from a physio in early weeks as I asked the GP to refer me when getting bad back pain, knowing it would get worse. Physio was young and obviously knew little about it; exercises were of little use once I got to 10wks and was sporting a bump.

DS came out by CS at 8lb 9oz, one midwife spotted my ginormous belly on day 2 and I said I was aware but she brilliantly got physio to come quickly and issued me a lovely tubigrip for my middle; I think they measured it as 7 finger width!!! I went home and gradually started Tupler exercises though not as much as she recommends. But soon I was feeling blue and DH made me go to a recommended private physio for help: was a great idea as he had time and motivation to help which NHS didn't... We made progress but around 12 wks I stalled and despite doing 30mins a night of Tupler based exercises and others using the core, could not improve on a 3.5 finger gap. Lovely physio referred me to a colleague who specialises in pregnant related physio, who had a quick feel and said she thought the connective tissue was stretched beyond repair with exercise and to ask GP for referral to surgeon.

GP this time was a nice lady who promptly referred me to a general surgeon who diagnosed me as possibly having a hernia and said NHS won't repair DR on it's own, but they could repair hernia with keyhole surgery and mesh. Thanks to this thread I knew not to accept that, burst into tears and said I wanted to get the whole thing fixed as it had such an effect on my life (tears were not just a ploy!). He referred me to a plastic surgeon, in neighbouring health trust.

I saw a trainee plastic surgeon as there'd been a cockup and the consultant was in theatre, so he didn't know entirely what I was on about but took notes, and photos. I left thinking I was at the start of a long battle to get the abdominoplasty (tummy tuck and DR repair): next thing I know I get a letter saying consultant feels the main problem is not the hernia but my DR and they will perform an abdominoplasty!!! Feelings of relief and anxiety, happiness that I will be fixed mixed with anger that I have to go to such extreme lengths just to return to normal after having two babies.

Got given a date pretty quickly and went in on the 28th June. They said they would try to do only a horizontal scar but in the end they had to use a vertical one to get rid of all the excess skin: they had warned me and I am not surprised, I had horrendously stretch marked skin all around the navel. I was in for 3 nights, and by day 3 was only on paracetamol. However it is uncomfortable and sleeping is difficult, I cannot stretch out as they sew it tightly, so sit, stand and lie hunched over which is killing my back. The scar is sore like the CS but worse is the bruising up and down my midline from the muscle repair. I sneezed yesterday (day 8) and it was agony. I imagine I will be off work at least 4 weeks. But I can already feel my abs working down my middle, and I look flat and pretty normal again bar the swelling and dressings! Before the op I could not steady myself if I fell backwards, push a loaded trolley round a corner, get up from lying without rolling on my side and pushing up... I had terrible backache from all the overcompensating my back muscles did, and it affected me psychologically; I hated DH seeing it and avoided swimming.

I dared not ask why they cleared me for the full abdominoplasty when so many get told no; I know the hernia meant I needed fixing to a degree but I am guessing I got lucky in being passed along to a plastic surgeon who believes they are necessary. I know he has a private clinic and does lots there. Maybe he thought it was a good learning procedure for his trainee! But I hope some of this is useful to those at the start of the 'getting it fixed' journey, whether by exercise or surgery. I totally second the Tupler exercises but also felt having a physio show me just how to do them, and other exercises, useful. I have also found a Facebook group for people with DR which is useful, so worth finding.

I have spent many hours being upset about this and will never forget what it was like even if my new tummy is pretty perfect: I passionately want more people to know about this because the number of health professionals who are ignorant of it is unbelievable: be prepared to be the expert and do not be fobbed off! I hope you all find things that help, and enjoy those little buggers babies who left us with such a gift! hmm

babyblabber Sun 08-Jul-12 02:18:11

Girls for anyone reading this that thinks they might have this just want to say get to a physio! DS was 11lbs and I had 6 fingers of separation. Had to wear a tubigrip 24/7 for about 3 months and if I left it off my back felt so weak I was afraid to lift the baby. I also developed SPD a week after he was born and had to get a serola sacrocilic belt, without which I couldn't walk unless I was bent over and holding on to the wall.

Physio gave me exercises but with a new baby I found it hard to find even 10 mins twice a day to do them. She also recommended Pilates which I started when DS was about 4 months. Kept it up for 2 years and all through my next pregnancy. At 6 months pregnant I could see that the muscles had separated again so went to a specialist physio who said not much I could do til baby was out.

DD was born 3 weeks ago and u could not believe it when physio told me separation was only 1.5 fingers!!! Like a normal person!!! She credited the Pilates. Obviously a hernia needs surgery and some cases are much more serious than others but just wanted to say if Pilates helped me it might work for some of you too. I will have to do it for the rest of my life (obviously haven't been in a while and already my back feels a bit weaker) but it has been a lifesaver for me!

showtunesgirl Thu 20-Sep-12 10:05:45

Just found this thread. DD is now 10 months old and I'm still 3 cm separated. What are the steps I need to take?

MerryM Wed 10-Apr-13 13:15:34

Hi all

I have read this article with interest almost a year later but am exactly in the same position or at least I think I am.
I have had epigastric hernia surgery in 2000 after my 2nd child and it was a disaster as the surgeon(whom I was told was too junior and should not have been allowed to undertake the surgery) messed up. 13 years later and after 3 other children I have 2 hernias' the old one which is bigger and an umbilical hernia. I have an operation scheduled for next week and am weary because I have a huge (four finger gap) in my abdominal wall and understand this alone can make the hernias keep recurring, so repairing the hernias may simply be treating the symptoms rather than the underlying cause.
I know the NHS are vague on this as they are keeping an eye on their budget but don't I need to get my abdominal walls repaired as a matter of necessity as against cosmetic. I am a size 8/10 and have a flabby tummy(five kids) not big but when I am bloated I look 7 months pregnant.

Can anyone help. What are my options?

Kazilou Sun 09-Jun-13 11:06:47

Hello! So wish I'd found this 8 years ago!!! My eldest is 8 youngest is 2 with an almost 5 year old in the middle, with various other complications from the birth of my first the one that still remains is my stomach. Only last night I was congratulated for being pregnant again sad I was on a bit of a high before this as I saw the consultants on Friday to discuss surgery, my only problem now is childcare but can sort that somehow!!!
I've been doing Pilates & fitball for some time now which has definitely improved my core, as well as running & swimming so I'm not unfit about a size 12 but buy size 14-16 tops to hide my tum but then I feel like I'm wearing a tent! It wasn't until last night that I realised exactly how depressed this was making me, I was sat in the corner at the a party, wouldn't dance & that was before I was congratulated!!
I wouldn't change having kids for anything but I do think, especially given all the comments I've now read, that this should be something discussed during pregnancy & as part of post care with informed information & care.

Loopytiles Mon 02-Sep-13 22:29:46

Sorry for resurrecting an old thread. Have realised I have the separated abdominal muscles 3 years after the birth of DC2 (second C-section).

Am shock about some of the things women on this thread have been through.

I'd like to try exercise, like the Tuppler programme or MuTu Mama. The tuppler one recommends wearing a £50 belt thing at all times, over a camisole, which think could be embarrassing in the summer at least! Has anyone tried specialist exercise?

Don't want to go down the surgical route (cost, risks, and don't have any health problems relating to the problem, it's cosmetic really, but looking pregnant does get me down!)

Artggonzalez Tue 24-Jun-14 09:05:14

Sad that such a common complaint has been ignored or taken advantage of by general surgeons and plastic surgeon.
The first only offers repair through a midline incision
The second group repair with full abdominlo plasty with the usual upgrades breast lift, lipo etc.
If pt has a small amount or redundant skin a laparoscopic day surgery can be offered with great results.

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