Flattening the Mummy Tummy
Most women who've given birth, and especially if it's not their first, find themselves with the soft, jelly-belly, "mummy tummy" afterwards. It makes one appear to still be pregnant and many moms find themselves lamenting this. While breastfeeding greatly helps reduce the tummy area in the early months, two thirds of mothers often find their tummies plateaus and doesn't shrink any further after that. They may also experience low back pain due to the decreased abdominal support in their core. There is a medical term for one of the main causes of "mummy tummy", it is Diastasis Recti, or abdominal separation.
These muscles are the ones that can give you a six pack. Pregnancy stretches the muscles and a gap is created down the middle. Sometimes the gap closes on its own after pregnancy, but sometimes it doesn't. Many women avidly turn to traditional ab exercises (crunches, sit ups, front plank, etc) to shrink their tummies but this is often as mistake as those exercises usually pull the gap further apart!
In this article, fitness trainer Leah Keller has found an exercise, done just 10 minutes a day, that is shown to help close the abdominal gap. "You can easily expect to see 2 inches off your waist in three weeks of time," Keller says. "That's not an unrealistic expectation." What is the exercise?
Start by laying on your back, as you exhale, suck your belly button towards your spine. Keep your hand/fingers over your belly button so you can feel your muscles are engaged.
While holding the position, take tiny breaths, pulling the belly tighter towards the back with each exhale.
After two minutes, change positions and repeat the above: sitting crossed-legged, sitting on your knees, standing with knees slightly bent, on all fours or laying on your side in the fetal position.
Key is to maintain a neutral back.
If you require additional assistance or have other conditions that may be related to this, like incontinence, tail bone pain or low back pain, please book an appointment with our pelvic floor therapist Jennifer Liu.