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.