September 22, 2009,
E.C. asks from Elk Grove, CA on September 21, 2009
Asymmetrical Abdominal Muscles After C-section - Hernia Prone?
I've had 3 VERTICAL C-sections and I've noticed a gap between my ab muscles when I exercise them. Does this mean that the muscles were not stitched back together, or that they are just too weak and damaged? Will I suffer a hernia since I work out my abs as much as I can?
Any input is appreciated.
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So What Happened?™
Thank you, Laura F., my doctor didn't give me a specific straight answer. Maybe I need to seek answers out of Kaiser. I'm glad you're happy with your tummy tuck. May I ask about the expense?
Thanks a whole bunch, Justine W. and Sabra S. What an eye opener! Your responses are a wealth of information I've been searching for some time.
J.W. answers from San Francisco on September 22, 2009
I had this same problem after my second C-section. I am no doctor, but it sounds like you already have an umbilical hernia, which is what I had. I had two in my ab region. I mentioned that I had a C-section, but for me it was actually a result of the pregnancy, not having a C-section. I had surgery at the end of May this year where my surgeon (Dr. Michael Baker - Walnut Creek) inserted some plastic mesh to fuse the muscles together. If your insurance allows it, I would go directly to a general surgeon to discuss. If not, your regular OB can refer you to one after s/he determines that is indeed what you have. For an umbilical hernia repair, uou can still do all the abdominal exercising you want after you heal post surgery so no need to worry about that.
I hope this helps.
S.S. answers from San Francisco on September 22, 2009
hi E.! i'm happy to respond to your post and tell you about my experience: i had two vaginal births, over 20 yrs ago ago, and never worried about getting my abs in great shape after that; i've always struggled with my weight so there've been times when i've been 100 pounds overweight, and times when i've been in good shape (it's a lifelong rollercoaster), then i had another baby by c-section nearly 4 yrs ago and got very big again, had the abdominal muscle separation you're talking about (where if you're laying down and contract your abs, they pop up in the middle), and did in fact develop an abdominal hernia, sustained for over a year, which ultimately had to be repaired; having the c-section - since it is an abdominal surgury - is considered a risk factor for developing an abdominal hernia, however you don't sound overweight, so that helps you out a lot (not having fatty tissue pushing behind the weak muscle and hanging off the muscle is a big plus for you)...when my hernia had just started, a doctor thought it was just the seperation of muscles you're talking about, and advised me to strengthen my abs w/exercise: ultimately i increased the size of my hernia doing that, and as it really is nearly impossible to get those muscles back together like they were pre-babies/surguries i wish i had been more careful and i wish the doctor had caught my hernia earlier...so i guess my advice would be to be careful! as the other mama mentioned, doctors don't give us the "extra care" of stitching back our birth-seperated muscles, they just sew up what they've cut (not considering that the whole is now weakened by the surgury and could USE the extra stitching!!!). now, i am aware of my abdomin in ways i never was before: i can tell that it is different/changed, that there is stress at the hernia-repair site, and i know that i'm at high risk for re-herniation...not fun...so take it easy on those abs! pay attention to any minute changes! respect what those abs have been through!
and, best of luck to you in alllll your endeavours!
w/ a smile,
L.F. answers from Sacramento on September 22, 2009
i had a csection w/twins 3yrs ago and did all of my recommended abdominal exercises as soon as permitted and to this day. my tummy returned to pre-preg appearance very quickly BUT i still have the separation to which u referred...i can put a chopstick into the vertical groove down my abdomen! MD sd YES i'm susceptible to hernia, so i cont. to do daily abd exercises as well as others. sometimes during situps, something actually knots up and pops out! a ball about the size of a golf ball....feels like a cramping muscle so i turn over on my belly and stretch and it goes back in! those muscles are pulled w/ GREAT force during a csection and do not ever get stitched. good luck!
L.F. answers from Sacramento on September 22, 2009
Check with your doctor, but this might be diastasis. I had 2 sections and wound up with a very floppy ab area. No matter how hard I worked out, my midsection stayed the same. I don't think c-sections include stitching your abs back together neatly. I wound up getting a tummy tuck last month and love the results.
L.H. answers from San Francisco on September 22, 2009
I think you have diastasis too. I am a petite woman (just under 100 lbs) and had 3 c-sections. My tummy looked big & was told I had a hernia AND this condition. I had a tummy tuck 6 months ago and am so happy! No amount of sit ups would fix it. I would just go to a dr to find out for sure what is wrong.