Getting my tummy back!

Beyond The Bump : How to Get Your Tummy Back After Childbirth

Is It Ever Coming Back!?

As you look at your growing bump, you might wonder if you’re ever going to have a flat tummy again.  With celeb mums seeming to fit back into their skinny jeans virtually overnight, many new mums feel the pressure to shape up fast. According to Samantha Gillard, Women’s Health Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist for Fitback and Bumps, the key factor is knowledge.

“It’s not about doing a million sit-ups a day”, explains Samantha. “Mums need to understand what has happened to their body and how to rebuild it safely and effectively”.  She suggests there are 4 key areas to understand:

  1. The muscles in your tummy and the stretching they have gone through.
  2. The three secrets to gaining a flat tummy.
  3. What exercises you can do, how many and when to them.

1. What has pregnancy done to my tummy!?

During pregnancy, your waistline increases, as does the top layer of your abdominal muslces. This stretching in all directions occurs under the influence of a hormone called Relaxin (it sort of relaxes your tummy muscles!) which is released by the body during pregnancy. Most of the stretch occurs in the centreband to which the muscles attach (this is the centre dip in the middle of the six pack muslce we all dream of!).

The first step is to check that your stretched abdominals have come back together, this is called a “rec check” and can be done by your midwife or your physiotherapist.

2. The 3 Secrets to getting your tummy back!

  1. To gain a flat tummy you need to imagine that you are building a house (no you don’t need to shout at your other half for breaking things!), the most important part is the foundations! Your foundations are the deepest of your abdominal muscles which are part of your core stability muscles. It is important to exercise the deeper abdominal muscle back to full fitness before progressing onto sit ups and working those 6 pack muscles again.
  2. Muscle toning takes time and you need to do enough repititions for the muscle to feel tired. Muscle toning takes between 3 and 4 months with regular exercise – so don’t put pressure on yourself for an overnight success! Three sets of 10-15 of each exercise is normally a good guideline.
  3. Core stability exercises alone are not enough to regain your tummy if you are still carrying some ‘pregnancy weight’. It is important to eat a healthy diet and to do regular cardiovascular exercise that works your heart and lungs.  Good example are walking, swimming, cycling and jogging.

3. What exercises and when?!

Each individual is different and there is no “one size fits all” solution. The best people to advise you are specialist physiotherapists that fully understand exercise during and after pregnancy.  Fitback and Bumps qualified instructors (all our instructors are chartered physiotherapists and have taken the Fitback and Bumps instructors course) deliver antenatal and postnatal exercise programs on both an individual and class basis up and down the country, educating women on safe exercising during and after pregnancy.

A fitter, healthier body will bring you many benefits including:

  • Reduced back and pelvic pain
  • Stronger core muscles
  • Reduced weight gain (before) and improved weight loss (after)

You can find all the contact details for Fitback and Bumps here.