Why Do I Still Look Pregnant?
Why do I still look pregnant? How long will I have a mummy tummy? What is this postpartum pooch? There are lots of names for this but when it happens to you, there is no name that really gives you comfort. We just want to know what it is and how to get rid of it!
We’re talking about when your stomach sticks out farther than it used it before pregnancy. People still look down at your tummy and wonder why you still look six months pregnant. And some strangers even ask when you’re due. That’s a question that really gets to you.
It is really noticeable when the rest of your body is relatively lean, but your mummy tummy hasn’t gone away. What you may notice is that feels firm and sticks out, literally like when you were pregnant. Hence, why people may think you’re still pregnant.
Are you doing this?
What most mamas do is they try to exercise the belly away by doing dangerous crunches and planks and other similar exercises. And you know what?? They are actually the WORST type of exercises you can do. In fact, they will possibly only increase the gap.
What to do
I want you to stop doing these exercises until any potential diatasis recti is fixed. You should only be including safe medically recommended postpartum exercises into your workouts. I want you to feel strong, happy and confident so that you can be the happiest and healthiest mama you can possibly be!
How long you might look pregnant
From the moment your baby is born, hormonal changes cause your uterus to contract, shrinking it back to its pre-pregnancy state. As a result, it may take six to eight weeks for your uterus to return to its normal size.
All the cells in your body that swelled during pregnancy begin to release the extra fluid, which is eliminated from your body through urine, vaginal secretions, and sweat.
And the extra fat you put on to nourish the baby starts burning off (especially if you’re exercising).
The speed and degree of this transition depends largely on:
1. Your normal body size
2. How much weight you gained during pregnancy
3. How active you are
4. Your genes.
If you gained less than 30 pounds (13 kgs) and exercised regularly during pregnancy and have had only one child, then you are more likely to slim down quickly.
What about stretch marks?
Stretch marks usually become considerably less noticeable six to 12 months after you have your baby. Their pigmentation fades and they typically become lighter than the surrounding skin. The dark color of the linea nigra will gradually fade over a year.
So Why Do I Still Look Pregnant?
1. Diastasis recti
Well, yes you are probably still carrying a few extra pounds after your pregnancy and that is normal. But what you need to know is that one of the biggest contributors to mummy tummy is diastasis recti.
Diastasis recti (abdominal separation) is when your ab muscles called the rectus abdominis separate. I have written an in-depth post about diastasis recti you can read here >
This abdominal separation occurs during pregnancy and it is completely normal. It is necessary for your body to make room for a baby.
What happens is that after the baby is born, your stomach muscles gradually come back together. There are various options available to you but my postpartum workouts will help you naturally heal diastasis recti.
2. Food and Your Diet
Certain types of food contribute bloating which will make your tummy look bigger. There could be excess sugar in your diet. Or maybe you have developed an intolerance to certain foods. All of these will cause swelling and bloating, as undigested food in your intestine is literally ‘pushing’ your stomach outwards.
What I want you to do is to try an eliminate the ‘unhealthy’ foods in your diet. The main culprits are processed foods which include items that contain a lot of sugar.
Try and replace any sugary drinks with water and eat plenty of fibre such as whole fruits and vegetables.
3. Postural Alignment
How is your posture? During pregnancy you tend to attain a certain pregnancy posture that pushes your tummy outwards. This is where you are over-arching your back. As a result your pelvis is not optimally aligned, and there is outward pressure on the rectus muscle as well increased downward pressure on your pelvic floor.
4. Incorrect core exercises
Are the postpartum exercises you doing engaging the transverse muscle correctly? It is often to my horror when I see new mamas being shown potentially dangerous exercises.
Some exercises will increase intra-abdominal pressure which causes the muscles to push outwards. Ideally, when you engage your transverse muscles correctly, the lower abdomen should ‘go inwards’ as the muscle contracts.
Breastfeeding helps, especially in the early months after childbirth. Women who breastfeed burn extra calories to make milk, so they usually lose pregnancy weight more quickly than women who don’t nurse.
So what to do?
This is where I have helped thousands of women through their postpartum recovery. And now I want to help you. You see, there is no need for drastic diastasis recti surgery (unless you doctor recommends it to you).
Your recovery starts with progressive postpartum workouts that have been created to specifically heal your ab separation.
IF LEFT UNTREATED, DIASTASIS RECTI CAN WORSEN
AND CAUSE LONG TERM DAMAGE