Say Goodbye to the “Postpartum Pooch” without Surgery

Diastasis recti is a common condition in pregnant and postpartum women. It occurs when the rectus abdominis muscles (the six-pack ab muscles) separate during pregnancy from being stretched. It’s usually most noticeable right after delivery. The separation can make a person’s belly stick out or bulge months or even years postpartum. Most of us call it the “pooch,” and about two-thirds of postpartum women have it…especially those delivering high birth weight babies or multiples. To rid themselves of the pooch, many women undergo tummy tucks. Today, there’s an easier way: lymphatic massage.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage Therapy (LDT) certified therapist and local True Recovery Lymphatic Massage owner Delmie DePuma-Aparicio explains, “Lymph fluid is necessary for the body to heal, but trauma to the body can block the lymph system. For many years, I’ve utilized lymphatic massage to help plastic surgery patients recover and reach optimal results. Lymphatic massage opens up the lymph nodes, allowing the lymph fluid to flow freely throughout the body…helping it heal. When my daughter Jenise was pregnant with her first child, it occurred to me that lymphatic massage could also be used to heal the postpartum body after the trauma of pregnancy and childbirth.”

Jenise gave birth to Delmie’s first grandbaby, Easton, in 2018. Delmie put her idea into action. One day after her c-section delivery, Jenise received her first lymphatic massage. Then, Delmie put together a plan of regular lymphatic massages for Jenise, and had her wear compression 24/7 until the sessions were finished. “The results were amazing!” says Delmie. “Jenise’s skin retracted, and the diastasis recti (the pooch!) retracted and healed. Jenise was back to her pre-pregnancy body in five weeks!”

When Jenise became pregnant with her daughter Ellie, she knew exactly how she wanted to bounce back. Delmie says, “Jenise called and said, ‘You’re gonna come do my lymphatic massages when I deliver, right Mom?’ Of course I did! I also massaged my daughter Kristie after the vaginal births of Josie and Jordy, and my daughter Katie after giving birth to Geo via c-section this summer. For each, the recovery was different. But all were back to their pre-pregnancy bodies at five to eight weeks postpartum. My girls will never need a tummy tuck!”

Jenise, Kristie, and Katie showed off their post-pregnancy bodies to friends and mommy groups. Not surprisingly, these other moms were also interested in an easier way to get rid of the pooch. Delmie added postnatal lymphatic massage to her list of services at True Recovery Lymphatic Massage. “Lymphatic massage is so beneficial,” says Delmie. “The sooner new mommies start, the better. I started my girls one to three days postpartum. It’s optimal to set up the plan before you deliver, that way we can get started right away. We’ll have you back to your pre-pregnancy body in no time!”

This post originally appeared on the “Up Close Magazine” website.