What to Expect After Rectal Diastasis Surgery (Postpartum Dog)

Of all the physical humiliations associated with having a baby – childbirth, breastfeeding, mesh panties that made me feel like a huge injured sea creature trapped in a tiny net – the postpartum dog in my belly is one of the worst. For many of us, a bloated belly eventually deflates if it takes time and perhaps a little exercise. But for everyone else, the dog remains a resilient … puppy, an unpleasant relic of difficult times, like Paul Wolfowitz . This condition is called diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles, or separation of the abdominal muscles, and, at least in my case, after giving birth, I looked good in the sixth month of pregnancy.

If you google “rectus abdominis diastasis,” you will find a ton of information on exercise programs you can do to try and tie those muscles back together. According to the internet, these exercises work for many, but they did absolutely nothing for me (and I was very diligent). My obstetrician, who is not one of those who insists on surgery, told me that she has not seen such a large gap as mine, which would come back only with exercise. But she didn’t have a lot of information on what the recovery was like, and there isn’t a ton of information on the internet other than a few gruesome blog stories. So, here it is: what to expect after surgery for diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles.

1. Your postoperative belly will not look like your belly before childhood.

My surgery, which included umbilical hernia repair and abdominal wall reconstruction, left me with a thin scar from hip to femur and a small perimeter scar around the navel. It’s not particularly pretty. So if you have a small dog that does not physically affect you and is not visible through your clothes, I would advise you not to worry. You are swapping one bare problem for another. It’s only worth it if you want to feel better (and look better in your clothes).

2. Your insurance may cover this.

Mine did this after my obstetrician wrote a letter to the surgeon that it was affecting my daily life (difficulty lifting weights, including children) and that exercise did not help.

3. Ask cautious questions if your surgeon offers tummy tuck.

I gave up TT as soon as I heard the words “ten thousand dollars out of pocket”. (I’m in vain, but not in vain 10k.) But I saw pictures of a tummy tuck on the net, and when I woke up in recovery and looked at my stomach, I asked the nurse (a very cheerful person who used to be an actor)) “How is this not a lift belly? ” he folded his hands in jazz and shouted, “Uh-uh-uh, tummy tuck!” So maybe it is impossible to carry out an abdominal wall reconstruction without a tummy tuck? Or at least something so close to it that it doesn’t matter to you. Ask your surgeon.

4. Before surgery, lose any weight you want to lose.

This is done so that during the procedure they can cut off the loose skin. I know ugh . However, I didn’t even try to lose the baby’s weight before the surgery because I knew I would just put him back. I can handle what’s a little heavier than preschoolers, but I can’t handle the ledge.

5. You must stop giving birth.

You cannot repair the abdominal wall and then purge it again in another pregnancy. Learn the ironclad method of birth control before even considering surgery.

6. Recovery is pretty unpleasant.

It’s worse than a cesarean. You will stay in the hospital at least overnight and then go home with the wastewater, which in my case had ten days left and which requires some general maintenance. But worse than drainage is back pain: because the abdominal muscles are sewn together so tightly (think of a corset that is tied in front), your back will be hunched over. The hunched back was much more painful than the abdominal incision, although I was able to relieve the pain with Advil and Tylenol after a day or two. Difficult to explain, but the feeling of tightness in the abdominal muscles is very eerie and lasts six to eight weeks. A year later, there are still spots on my stomach, which are only now regaining sensitivity.

7. You will need free time from work and childcare.

You cannot raise your children (or anything else) for eight weeks. An operative at the hospital told me that she waited until her youngest child was four before fixing the dog. I waited until my youngest son was two and a half years old, and even that put pressure on me. My husband took care of him mostly, and I didn’t pick him up, but every time he stumbled or jumped off something (which happens every ten minutes for a two-year-old), I involuntarily rushed towards him, which was shocking. painful. (And by the way, you really, really don’t want your toddler to kick you in the stomach when you read or snuggle up to your chest, unless you want him to learn a new string of selected swear words.)

In terms of work, I took one week off and worked at home for one week, but I would say the best plan is rather one week off, two to three weeks at home, depending on the roughness of your commute and your level of fatigue. … Two weeks later, I was on the bus or subway, and it was murder. And since your core is not working until you heal, you will tire of even minor physical exertion and need to lie down.

8. Don’t schedule this during allergy season.

If you have seasonal allergies, wait until the season ends. In March of last year, I underwent surgery and almost got an overdose of claritin because I was afraid to cough and sneeze.

9. It’s worth it.

If your separation and / or hernia causes the same discomfort as mine – I could not build any back or core muscles that would affect my posture; I ran awkwardly and slowly; and my belly was the first thing that touched my husband when we hugged or danced – and you just can’t come to terms with how your body looks after pregnancy, it’s worth it. I refurbished mine for reasons that were 50% physical discomfort and 50% vanity, but vanity and being physical are not separate things: I can now run easily (no longer heavy), and strength training and yoga are really feel like they have an effect so that I feel better in my appearance. Of course, your mileage may vary. Talk to your midwife and do your own cost-benefit calculations. And stock up on Claritin.

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