The enduring mystery of the postpartum pooch

( CNN) Culturally, the postpartum body is a source of biding fascination. We are enthusiastic commentators of women’s shapes after childbirth and celebrate those who shed all evidence of pregnancy a few months after having a baby. These are the women who, as tabloids put it, “bounce back, ” even though few believe that the effort involved was akin to ricochet or any such rapid and organic movement.

Medically, the postpartum body is basically invisible. In the United States, females generally have just one appointment in this period, six weeks after childbirth, and it tends to be brief.( The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently recommended changing this .) We are largely — and a little hopelessly — on our own when navigating the various aches and dysfunction that pregnancy and childbirth leave in their wake.

Not only did I not bounce back after my pregnancies, but the notion of ricochet, in any direction, voiced awful. Like many females, I had postpartum abdominal separation, known clinically as diastasis recti abdominis and colloquially as mummy belly: The connective tissue between my rectus abdominis, a.k.a. the six-pack muscles, had stretched out about 2 inches. I also was feeling quite unstable, and I assumed that these two things were related.

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