Let’s talk postpartum abs, shall we?
Every body is different—some bellies pop right back in place, others take time, while others never quite go back in. And that’s okay. I remember when Duchess Catherine showed off Prince George for the first time (the very day after delivery, she stood before an international crowd, can you imagine??) and she looked amazing. Women everywhere breathed a sigh of relief and relatability to Kate and what was dubbed her “mummy tummy”. For once, a celebrity looked realistic, and we loved her all the more for it.
There’s a time to embrace our bodies and admire with awe what God has made our bodies to do– to carry and nurture our flesh and blood. Yes, there are marks and scars and extra skin, but . . . it doesn’t have to end there! While pregnant with my first, I read up on postpartum belly bands. The reviews seemed positive enough, so I bought the “Belly Bandit” and started wearing it the day I came home from the hospital. It was life-changing! It helped with the postpartum bloat (thanks, Pitocin and Colace!) and helped reinforce my weakened abs when I lifted my newborn. I loved it so much that I’ve recommended it (and loaned it out) to friends.
My second time around, things just didn’t go back into place as easily, and I mentioned that to my doctor at my six-week post-op appointment. I figured it had to do with having a c-section this time around. Nope. It was the dreaded diastasis recti (DR). Familiar with it? Me neither. It’s where the abdominal muscles separate, and you’re left with a gaping hole and the dreaded “mummy tummy” that pooches out. Mine was FOUR FINGER-WIDTHS WIDE. In case you’re wondering, that’s bad. Really bad. And the worst part was, I was unknowingly doing all kinds of exercises that were making it worse (including planks and toting around the baby carrier. . . oops).
Thankfully, someone referred me to a physical therapist (I saw Nikki at TherapySouth in Homewood). Come to find out, in addition to my DR, I also have scoliosis. Who knew? And that’s a bad combination; if I didn’t get this hole to close and get my abs strong again, my back was going to become even more crooked. Nikki and her team were incredible! I saw them three times a week for about a month and noticed marked improvement. She gave me several specific exercises and let me in on a little secret I wish I’d known about earlier–the Squeem.
What is a Squeem? Why, it’s a
medieval torture device waist trainer, and not like some Kim Kardashian-thing; this was recommended to me by not only my OB/GYN but also by Nikki. I bought the “Perfect Waist Contouring Cincher” Squeem and wore it sun-up to sun-down for about a month. I’m not gonna lie, it was tough. My crooked back didn’t like being in a straight jacket, and my abs didn’t appreciate it, either. But it helped me be conscious of my posture and trained my abdominal muscles to fuse back closer together.
Bye-Bye, Mummy Tummy!
Apparently, many women have DR and don’t even know it. If you’ve had back pain and still have that “mummy tummy,” go have a consultation with Nikki and tell her I sent you! 😉
Did you experience diastasis recti postpartum? What helped with your recovery?
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