11 Months Post Partum What is Wrong with my Stomach? (photo)

I had a baby last december, gained 23 pounds, all belly. I am a very physically fit person, before baby had a six pack. My stomach still has a weird shape to it. I have lost all my pregnancy weight and then some. Is this split abs?? I try to check for that and only one finger goes in, not two..so if it is a diastasis, I'm thinking it can't be that bad...I don't have much loose skin there, what to do about this?

Doctor Answers 7

11 Months Post Partum What is Wrong with my Stomach?

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WOW! What a great post partum abdomen you have. You are so lucky. I would not recommend a thing. 

Diastasis, post partum

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  You are obviously in good shape.  Your pregnancy did the typical wear and tear on your body but you are still in good shape.
  You are holding in your stomach as seen in the subcostal dimpling.  This is where the muscles give the telltale signs of not relaxing your abdominal muscles.  If you let out your abdomen muscles, you will see more of a "potty" look but that is not too important.
  Right now, with your past history of a  "6 pack etc", you have the ability to gain tone in the vertical direction and this is  very likely.  This will tighten vertically and give more support to your abdomen in spite of the diastasis that you have.  You might relate to the moms who compete in body building competition...."how do they get that abdomen after pregnancy?"  The answer is that they work like crazy to get it.  However, you will see pics of some of these contestants with diastasis rectii.
  If you find you cannot get the contours you want through exercise, then there could be some suggestions that a qualified plastic surgeon would give.  It is great that you are this small and have only these changes (although it is disturbing to you as you had the very  tight abs). 
  Good luck with it all,
       Steven M. Lynch, M.D.

What is Wrong with my Stomach?

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It appears that during your pregnancy you have lost some muscle tone, and may have had some separation of the rectus abdominis muscles, which formerly contributed to your six-pack. This is a very common occurrence after pregnancy. This can be improved with surgery, and that is best done after you have completed your family. No harm will come to the pregnancy if you have a correction, but another pregnancy would likely compromise the outcome leaving you once again with a decision you are facing today.

The operation is a tummy tuck or some variant thereof. The abdominal muscles would be tightened, and any excess skin re-draped and trimmed. 

When you ready for an in person consultation, RealSelf has listings of surgeons in your area. You should consider cross referencing the listings from the The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (plasticsurgery dot org). A listing in the ASPS website assures you that your surgeon is not only board certified,  but also is a member in good standing of the major plastic surgery organization in the U. S.


Thank you for your question, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

You Do Have Split Abs, But It's Fairly Minor

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Looking at your photos, you're still in great shape since having a child! You still have fantastic muscle definition. You can certainly tell that you were very fit prior to having a child. However, because you mentioned that you used to have a six-pack, you probably feel that your current state (as you are in your photos) isn't satisfactory. Unfortunately, it appears that while you don't have much fat, you may have some amount of rectus diastasis ("split abs" as you stated).  This is what may be causing the slight bulge in your lower abdominal area.

Please refrain from doing intense abdominal workouts, because it can worsen diastasis. You can wait a few more months to see if this will resolve itself. If it doesn't, the only way to repair this with plastic surgery is a tummy tuck. Please speak to a plastic surgeon to find out if a tummy tuck is appropriate for you. The best of luck!

Post-partum abdomen

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Give yourself more time. Walking/running is best exercise, as well as crunches. The key is to give yourself at least a year to recover.You will probably still have some loose skin, and surgery can help if you can't get back, but give yourself time.

What is wrong with tummy?

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Great you have become so fit after your child! If I saw a picture of you before children it would help! My best guess is that you have lost some skin elasticity an have a component of rectus diastasis. Good Luck

Gregory T. Lynam, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Post partum stomach

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Thank you for your question and for providing the photos. While it is impossible to make a precise diagnosis without an actual exam, it does look like you have some muscle laxity. You are clearly in great shape and have lost all of the pregnancy related weight. However, there are changes that occur to the abdominal wall musculature which are impossible to correct with diet and exercise alone. This creates the lower belly bulge that you are seeing.

During the pregnancy, the rectus muscles become both separated and stretched. Further loss of tone can occur if a c-section is needed. The only way to correct this in many cases is with surgical tightening of the muscles. In your case, this may be possible with a mini tummy tuck.

If you are concerned about your belly, I would suggest consulting with a plastic surgeon. They can examine your abdomen and discuss the options with you.

Best of luck with your belly.

Jeff Rockmore 

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.