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 ok. 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 post-partum 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 post-partum 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.
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 are incredible. I saw them three times a week for about a month and saw marked improvement. She gave me several specific exercises and let me in on a little secret I wish I’d known 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! 😉