Should I Wait to Have More Kids Before Fixing Diastasis Recti and Hernia?

I have a 9 month old and 2 year old, both C-sections. I would like 1 or 2 more children, but am concerned about my combination of diastasis recti and a hernia which make me look like I am 6 months pregnant.

The General surgeon wants to install a patch, and would have the plastic surgeon fix my excess skin (no abdomen fat). But I feel I should wait until I’m done having kids. It's getting worse, bigger. Maybe because I work out a lot. Any suggestions? Do I wait? Not do ab work? What are the dangers?

Doctor Answers 4

It depends on when you plan on having more children

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Although fixing a prominent diastasis recti and hernia will not interfere with future pregnancies, the pregnancy may reverse or compromised the end result. I have seen women who have had more children after an abdominoplasty without an adverse effect on the flattened tummy, but this I believe, is the exception.

Exercise and ab work will not make it better, but it should not make it worse either. The dangers on having a hernia this size are minimal. If you chose to have the tummy tuck either before or after more children, there would probably be no need for mesh, just a solid repair of the muscle separation. Plastic surgeons do this all the time. Good luck with your decision.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Wait if possible

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Obviously you should follow the advice of the doctors who have seen you however, from your photo it appears that you have a moderate rectus diastasis and an umbilical hernia. I would normally recommend that you finish having children and repair these later. In my practice as a Board Certified general surgeon as well as a Board Certified plastic surgeon, I would plicate the diastasis in 2 layers, avoid any mesh and repair the umbilical hernia at the same time. I would advise that you find a plastic surgeon who also wears both hats so the best option will be available for you. Fewer and fewer of the younger plastic surgeons have had both board certified training experiences unfortunately.

Repair of umbilical hernia and tummy tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
If you can stand it, I would wait until you are done with children.  Tummy tuck is a procedure you only want to have done once! 

If you can't stand it, go ahead and get fixed up.  I have had several patients have a surprise baby after a tummy tuck and their pregnancies went fine and their abdomens actually snapped back pretty well.  But you need to be prepared for a revision or even a full redo.

As for the hernia, I commonly repair these at the time of tummy tuck.  I slit the belly button down the middle from the center to the 6:00 position, find the hole in the fascia and stitch it up with a few stitches and sew the belly button back up.  I'm super careful with the blood supply to the stalk of the belly button and haven't lost one yet (knock on wood).  

I know some plastic surgeons like to have a general surgeon help with hernias but I did full training (6 really long years!) in general surgery prior to doing specialty training in plastic surgery so hernias don't scare me.

Aren't children the best?  I would have gone for number 4 but I was too old!

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Waiting to have a tummy tuck after childbirth

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Tummy tucks are a very popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. During this procedure, we commonly repair the separation in the abdominal muscles known as a diastasis. If you have additional children after a diastasis it is possible that future pregnancies may stretch out this repair. If you don't want to assume this possible risk, your best bet is to wait until you have completed all of your pregnancies and received a single surgery and a single muscle repair.

To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

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.