Dressing for Abdominal Muscle Separation

Following a twin pregnancy, I ended up with the “to-be-expected” diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation). Basically, my ab muscles spread apart so far to accommodate two huge babies, that they’re having trouble pulling themselves back in and up. I made an appointment for physical therapy today though (and you should too, if you have the DR).

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to figure out clothing. As anyone postpartum knows, fashion is a bit of a challenge while you’re changing size. My maternity pants are too large and baggy now, but I can’t fit comfortably into a single pair of my pre-pregnancy bottoms. So I’m putting together a bit of a checklist for myself, and thought I’d share the research effort- my finds are biased towards things I can wear during a hot Houston summer.

And I learned the hard way- don’t buy maternity dresses- they’re meant to accentuate the belly, and they’ll make you look like you’re still pregnant.

None of these are affiliate links, nor did any give me any free products to review (although, um, if any of you lovely clothing purveyors are offering I am for sale. Hit me up.)

  • Elastic waistband skirts – I love how many colors these come in, and I ordered the mint because it’s spring! (Or summer. Sprunger.)
  • Relatedly, I love how this top gathers just where I need to divert people’s attention. So many nifty colors, too.
  • This asymmetrical nursing top  – I actually have found that when I try to wear baggier tops, especially maternity tops, I look bigger. The cut of this top is really flattering on my torso with its giant paunch.
  • That said, I think tees along these lines would actually work too.
  • This link may not work for long, but there was a whole tunic category here.
  • These work / business casual pants that are also forgiving of a changing waist size (ordering a pair for summer!)
  • Basic shorts in a nice elastic waistband. Because: weekends.
  • That whole “dress yoga pants” thing? Made for us postpartum ladies.
  • More affordably, I shopped at uniqlo often when I lived in Japan. And they make so many pairs of pants that I can wear right now. Apparently they’re looking into a Houston store, which would be almost as confusing to my poor brain as the Japanese grocery going in around the corner.


  • I’m kinda eyeing some comfy shorts from H&M- and trying to decide if these would show more leg than my late 30s self wants to show. This dress might hide my tummy with its waist cinching action. Belted dresses in general could really work at the moment- ooh, I like this shirt dress too.
  • Dang, I wish these belly shaping pants would come back in stock in my size.
  • Plus: Don’t be afraid to try something tailored in the waist. I know, I know. But a lot of the large “tent garments” actually exacerbate the problem. <— I have clearly read far too many women’s mags during my maternity leave.

Ok, I need to stahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhp.

An afterword: This is in some ways a controversial topic. No, I mean it! On one hand, I don’t believe in feeling badly about my body on an intellectual level. On the other hand, I roll my eyes at the “tiger stripes” rhetoric about stretch marks. Truth: I can’t wait to heal my tummy muscles! Truth: I want to smile when I look in the mirror in the meantime AND be comfortable. Truth: the time I actually wore PJ pants to work in desperation was a day I hit peak “I am frumpy” inner monologue.

I actually don’t do well with fashion. I’ve never had much taste in clothing, and find the choices overwhelming. In some ways, having limitations is really working for me. But it’s a bit defeating to get dressed at the moment so, I guess I’d better go shopping…*

*M, if you read this, I’ll hold off for now because… vacation money




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