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.
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.
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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