A Guide to Reclaiming Your Pre-Pregnancy Body
Mommy tummy is something most pregnant women and new moms know about. Even if they have not experienced it themselves, they probably have friends who have.
But what exactly is it? And how can you prevent it while pregnant and after giving birth? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Mommy Tummy?
Mommy tummy usually refers to something known as Diastasis Recti. This is essentially where the abdominal muscles become separated and the gap between the two sides widens. It is also known as DR or DRA.
This is incredibly common, and many moms suffer from it at some point. It can occur as early as the second trimester, and a lot of women still experience it months after giving birth.
Your tummy expands during pregnancy as intra-abdominal pressure increases, and this splits the rectus abdominis muscles and stretches the linea alba, the connective tissue in between the muscles. As a result, the linea alba becomes weaker and thinner.
When you have your baby, the gap often remains because the linea alba is still weak, and it does not have the tension to hold your abdomen back.
You may notice the tummy doming when you sit up or exercise, or you may suffer low back pain, pubic pain, or loss of bladder control.
Do You Have a Mommy Tummy?
It can be hard to know for sure whether you have mommy tummy. One way to check is to lie on your back, lift up one of your legs, hold it straight, then lower it. Do the same with the other leg.
Do you experience back pain or pubic pain?
Do you notice a gap of the rectus abdominis or bulging in the abdomen?
Perhaps a pushing sensation in the vagina?
These are indications that you might have mommy tummy.
Reduce Mommy Tummy During Pregnancy
Mommy tummy is mostly something that bothers women postpartum. However, you can start working on it while you are still pregnant to reduce its impact and help it to resolve sooner after you give birth.
Pelvic floor exercises are simple exercises that you can do a few times a day. Start by relaxing your body and breathing out, then gently squeeze the muscles by trying to stop yourself farting and peeing at the same time then imagining lifting up a marble inside your vagina. Release the hold and relax, and repeat this several times. After a while, you can start holding the muscles to a count of 10 before releasing.
Try to do a set of eight exercises three times daily to start strengthening your pelvic floor and work on reducing mommy tummy.
Avoid Certain Exercises
As well as sitting up by rolling onto your side, avoid exercises that cause the diastasis recti gap to get larger and stretch the linea alba, including exercises like planks and ab curls.
You need a strong core and pelvic floor before you do these, and you should also avoid running, jumping, or similar exercises before you are ready.
Will I Be Stuck with Mommy Tummy?
There’s a very good chance it will go away with the right exercises, even if you start months after giving birth. You can talk to your Doctor or Women’s Health Physio if you are concerned, but it is usually sorted out by doing specific exercises.
Start sooner rather than later if possible, and carry out daily exercises to heal the diastasis. These exercises are short and convenient, lasting just 10 minutes, and you may see results in a few weeks or months.
Get Started with Our Program
You may want to start with our programs at Health2Mama both when you are pregnant and after having your baby. The Pregnancy Safe Exercise Program includes exercises that help you engage with your pelvic floor and improve core function helping to prevent Diastasis Recti being severe.
And then we have different postnatal programs like the Pelvic Floor & Core Program and the Abs Fab Program, which give you all the exercises you need to heal mommy tummy in a safe and gentle way so you can get your pre-mom tummy back.
To work out which of our Core Programs Are best For you complete the quick assessment below.