What is postpartum diastasis recti?

Many women suffer from diastasis recti after pregnancy. It is a muscular surgical repair that is almost never covered by insurance for women, though it is often covered for men. It causes considerable physical discomfort for the women who suffer from it. Do you have any advocacy in that area?

Diastasis recti (DR) is much more than just a “mommy tummy” or “mom pooch,” as it is often described.

DR is a condition where the abdominal muscles separate and cause the stomach to protrude. At least 60 percent of women experience DR within six weeks of giving birth and 30 percent experience it after one year postpartum. Despite the prevalence of this condition, many women still know nothing about it and continue to believe the “pudgy” appearance of their abdomen is nothing more than excess weight as a result of pregnancy.

Women are typically not screened for DR after giving birth and if they are diagnosed, the most common treatment prescribed is a regimen of core exercises. However, exercise alone usually does not fix the problem in its entirety and can leave a woman at risk of compromised stability and core function. Unfortunately, DR has yet to be the subject of much treatment research, meaning that no strict guidelines exist for how it should be treated.

Surgery is an option, but is usually not covered by insurance since it is considered to be cosmetic; the surgical procedure most commonly used to treat DR is also known as a “tummy tuck,” used to make the abdomen thinner and firmer.

The procedure is typically not covered for men or women, unless it is deemed medically necessary. The most common reasons a DR surgical repair is covered by insurance is when it is paired with umbilical or hernia repair.

After a thorough research online of existing disparities between insurance coverage of DR surgery for men and women, we could not find any mention of a gender disparity, nor could we find any research or data surrounding the claim. Nonetheless, we support additional research into DR and treatment options, which might show that pregnancy is a medically necessary reason for surgery.

It is important to note that if you do decide to proceed with surgery, it is advised that women wait at least one year postpartum before they undergo the procedure, to give their body time to recover after birth.

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only.