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The Happy New Mum Tum Part 2

posted by Joan Palmer

Happy tum

How did you get on with Part 1?  Did you pick up some points that you may need to address to help that tummy recovery?

Here are a couple more points that will make all the difference to how the tummy muscles recover and how to optimise their function.

Believe it or not, how we breathe will have an impact on how the abdominal muscles can function and if breathing is not at its optimum pattern then it will inhibit how the abdominals can work.  Your diaphragm, part of your breathing muscle system is attached to the lower edges of your ribs and depending on how the baby sits during pregnancy, the position of the baby can cause tightness in the diaphragm.  This in turn can cause a ‘flare’ in the ribs because the tight diaphragm isn’t allowing the ribs to descend properly on a breath out (you may feel bigger around the ribs and you may have even gone up in a bra size).  To help change this you need to breathing in the best way – when you breathe in you need to imagine that the start of the breath is the middle of a cut tree trunk and as you fill up with air you are expanding in all directions so you are filling up following the rings on the tree trunk.  It may also be necessary to need some soft tissue release work around the ribs, tummy and back to help the tissues let go and then allow you to breathe properly. I can do this soft tissue work with you and you will feel much freer and looser around the whole rib area which in turn will let the abdominals work optimally.

Stress levels will also have an impact on how your tummy recovers.  Having a baby can be a pretty stressful time as it has such an impact on your life and that of the family unit.  Sleep deprivation is often a big part of stress levels and there’s always a bit of that with a new baby.  Cortisol is your stress hormone, and changes in sleep and your daily routine is enough to upset the levels of cortisol in your system.  If you have a high level of cortisol in your blood stream then your body’s response will be to hang on to body fat as a defence mechanism to try and fight the stress.  Hanging on to body fat was a good thing when stress was caused by running from wild animals whilst hunting but these days it’s not such a welcome response so it’s more important to keep stress levels in check.  It may be hard to think about taking time out to get on top of this but it only takes 10 mins to do some relaxation/meditation and it could be that 10 mins that makes all the difference to your ability to burn body fat if that is what you are wanting to achieve.

Any questions or comments then please get in touch.   

The Happy New Mum Tum Part 1

posted by Joan Palmer

Happy tum

One of the commonest questions I get asked is, ‘Will my tummy ever be like it was before?’

The question is quite difficult to answer simply as there are many elements that will affect how your tummy recovers post pregnancy and birth. Here are a few pointers that will make a difference to how your recovery can be affected.

What you initially need to reassure yourself with, is that your tummy has changed progressively over a number of months, so for it to just return to how it was before overnight is setting your expectations quite high. There are always some women that this appears to happen to, but trust me, they are in the minority!

The most obvious areas thought and asked about working on, are diet and exercise.

Exercise is a big element to recovery, but if you are doing the wrong exercise you could actually be doing more harm than good particularly if you have an abdominal separation (diastasis). A diastasis isn’t a limitation to exercise, you just need to know what exercise is best and how to progress then safely. Do you even know if you have a diastasis? Have you had your tummy muscles checked? Do you know if you are exercising safely?

Exercise is not just about strengthening the abdominals, stretching and releasing is just as important to assess as muscles can’t get stronger and work hard if they are restricted in some way. A restriction or tightness anywhere in the body can inhibit how the abdominals work properly.

How do you feel your posture is since giving birth? Did it give you problems during your pregnancy? Postural changes naturally occur during pregnancy due to the growth of the baby and how the body has to adapt for this to occur. These postural changes have effects on soft tissues around the trunk in particular – they can for example become tight or weak, and because of this it can mean that the tummy muscles find it difficult to connect and work properly again unless these soft tissue changes are addressed. There may be other exercises that are necessary first before actually trying to work the abdominals.

If you would like some input in how to get your tummy muscles working again then please get in touch and look out for Part 2 of The Happy New Mum Tum.

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