We all know that pregnancy can come in different shapes and sizes.
Some women carry lower, some show sooner than others and, heck, some women even carry their baby backwards. The important thing, no matter how a pregnant woman may appear to others, is to resist the urge to say anything at all about her body, because it's no one's business except her own, and every mom bod is beautiful in its own way, hmmkay?
But if your bump looks more like a cone, you might want to take note.
Popular mom blogger Laura Mazza recently posted a photo of her bump, which is decidedly cone-shaped, along with a PSA.
"This will seem so obvious to most people but for me I had no idea. When your stomach goes to this cone shape, it's muscle separation," Mazza wrote on her Facebook page, Mum on the Run.
"Muscle separation in pregnancy is normal but when your stomach looks like a real big cone, it's actually signs of a big separation, and something that isn't bad but something you should watch I guess."
"If you have kids and you do a plank and notice it droop or lean back, and you still have the cone, it means your muscles are still separated," Mazza continued.
"This has been a public service announcement brought to you by me, who clearly spends too much time looking for her feet (and her vagina)."
What is muscle separation?
The abdominal muscles can separate during pregnancy, a condition known as diastasis recti. This happens when the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen, sometimes causing the two large parallel bands of muscle that meet in the middle to stretch apart by an "abnormal distance," according to the Mayo Clinic.
This can also cause a bulge in the middle, where the muscles have separated, and might only be noticeable when the muscles are tense.
Hello Pregnancy old friend I've come to talk with you again. Because when I sneeze I feel creeping And suddenly I realise I am peeing And this vision, is still planted in my brain In the supermarket check out lane Where everyone looked at me, with the sound... of silence. I waddle when I walk alone And stabbing in my uterus makes me groan I'm so tired I feel like a drone I just wanna sit here and play on my phone heartburn, low in iron and vitamin d, with a baby kicking inside of me. Why do these little people demand so much of me? All I want, is the sound of silence IBS has been on speed Great that's all I need Either constipated or running down my leg One day it was like a free flowing keg Couldn't get to the toilet so used the kitty litter instead Not my finest moment , it wasn't sane And my husband saw, much to his dismay, his face hasn't been the same... and he gave me the wells, of silence. I can't see my vag or my feet Untied shoelaces, getting dressed, I am defeat Can't stand the smell of meat I involuntarily fart around new people I meet And I manage to disturb the sound...of silence. Have another three months to go Feeling like I'm ready to blow Vaginal or cesarean I don't know It is all without warning But my obstetricians opinion is forming I know when I walk down those halls Into the place of white walls Where a baby will be bore They'll whisper three kids under four? She can kiss goodbye, her days of silence.
Women who have carried multiples, a large baby to full term, are small and fit, or over age 35 might be more likely to develop diastasis recti, the Mayo Clinic noted.
The telltale sign during pregnancy is a cone or dome-shaped bump when you activate your ab muscles, personal trainer Elizabeth Parsons told Today's Parent.
"The fact that you get a diastasis is not in itself so awful — it's what your body is supposed to do to accommodate the growth of your baby," Parsons said. "It's bringing it all back together and restoring function in those muscles [postpartum] that's important."
Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you have diastasis recti, the Mayo Clinic said. Physical therapy and certain exercises can help regain abdominal strength after childbirth, the clinic noted. Surgery is another option.
"Now I know."
"I honestly used to think that it was my baby's back lol and showed people saying look, you can see it! (Now I know)," Mazza wrote in her Facebook post.
I've have read things said about mothers who have had cesareans before. They said: "It's the easy way out" "Matter of convenience" "You didn't really give birth" "Your baby will grow up obese" "I don't want to see that" These are quite literally things I've read and seen said about these mothers with no exaggeration. Today I learned, after two vaginal births, I will become a mother who is going to have a cesarean. I have placenta previa, which means my placenta is fully covering my cervix.. and that even if my placenta moves away from my cervix, it won't be enough to give birth vaginally. There is literally no other way, no other choice. It is life or death for me and my baby. Imagine going through a life or death situation, only to be told "you didn't really give birth". Imagine you are 36 hours into labour and your baby's heart is stopping, only to be told it was a "matter of convenience", imagine learning you could lose your baby if you didn't go through major abdominal surgery and be told "it's the easy way out". Imagine being ready to birth in a pool with essential oils and having a strong dream and desire about giving birth a certain way only to have that ripped away from you and for people to discard your warrior scar with a "I don't want to see that" I say, fuck those people. For the woman who has had a cesarean, you are strong, and not only for you, but for your child as well. For the woman who had birthed vaginally, you are strong. In fact, we are all strong, we are beautiful, and we all have the right to say we birthed our children. these kids all grow up, at some point they'll pick their nose, eat dirt, grow up, fall in love - all the while their mothers watching them with so much love, being everything for them, sacrificing their body so they can get their first breath. A stretch mark doesn't define a mother, a belly doesn't define a mother, and a scar sure as hell doesn't define a mother. They are just reminders that a mothers love is one of the toughest and strongest incomparable type of love there is, so wear your scar with pride.
Responses to her post have been positive, with other women noting that they, too, thought their cone was just the baby poking out.
"But I think I want to still think it's the baby (30 weeks pregnant with 2nd) and it just seems cooler saying it's the baby rather than muscle separation lol," one woman wrote.
Others noted that physical therapy helped them with their muscle separation.
"Run don't walk to a Physiotherapist who specializes in pelvic care for women post partum!!!!! Even if it costs all the money do it because they can help you heal and most likely fix it. It does require a lot of work from you as well meaning they will likely give you a set of exercises/ strengthening exercises to do. I know it will feel like the last thing you want to do. But if you are vigilant the more likely you will heal. Good luck keep us posted," one woman wrote.
Mazza, who is pregnant with her third child, had also previously shared that she has placenta previa with this pregnancy (when the placenta covers the cervix), and will need a C-section for this birth after two previous vaginal deliveries.
On Instagram, she challenged anyone who might think a C-section is "the easy way out."
"A stretch mark doesn't define a mother, a belly doesn't define a mother, and a scar sure as hell doesn't define a mother. They are just reminders that a mothers love is one of the toughest and strongest incomparable type of love there is, so wear your scar with pride," she wrote.
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