The post-pregnancy belly problem that nobody tells women about

There’s surprisingly little research on diastasis recti, which affects at least 60 percent of postpartum women

(Allison Yarrow / Vox) — After Jenna Angst gave birth to her second child, she noticed that her midsection didn’t look right. “I was frustrated that my stomach looked so pudgy, even after I got back to my normal weight,” Angst, 37, says. So she asked her OB-GYN in Atlanta to take a look. The doctor brushed her off, telling her it was purely aesthetic.

But Angst wondered if it might be something she’d heard about in a yoga class once that went by the name of “mom pooch,” “mummy tummy,” or “baby belly.” So she went to doctors, specialists, and physical therapists in search of an answer. Finally, one told her that, yes, she had diastasis recti, a condition where the abdominal muscles separate so much that the stomach protrudes.

“I found it appalling that I had to go on such a journey to get answers — talking to friends, to my OB, to a [physical therapist] and four plastic surgeons,” said Angst, who eventually got treated for the condition. “The information is not readily available. It wasn’t until well after my son’s first birthday that I had some answers.”

Angst’s struggle to understand this postpartum condition is not unusual. Though research suggests that at least 60 percent of women have DR six weeks after birth and 30 percent of women have it a year after birth, most women have never heard of the term. (…)

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