Post baby tummy, Post Natal, Pilates, Epping, Essex, Post Natal Fitness
What is a post baby tummy?
The post baby tummy, mummy tummy or #mumtum.
That jiggly little (or large) bit of fat or loose skin that clings around the middle regardless of well intentioned efforts to shift it.
Fitness trainers love it: ‘Join me and lose your mummy tummy.’
Ladies like to share theirs on social media: ‘Hey look at my #mumtum!’ Or perhaps, ‘Look! No post baby tummy, find out how I did it.’
Celebrities or royals who fail to adhere to strict ‘perfect’ standards of post baby, flat tummy protocols are pictured and apparently fair game for speculation as to why they might look … recently pregnant!
Could she have abdominal separation? Could she just be carrying extra baby weight?
In defence of the #mumtum
I’m speaking out in defence of the post baby tummy. But more than that, that we stop selling it or making it such a marmite entity. Love it or hate it. Embrace it or be vain. How about we just accept it’s a thing and move on with our lives?
How about we stop giving it so much exposure and let it just be a part of our bodies?
Before giving birth to my eldest, I was anxious about my post pregnancy tummy. Would I ever get my smooth tummy back with a neat tummy button?
Isaac came, grew and was squeezed out – nearly nine pounds of him in my 5’ 3” frame. Miraculously I only got stretch marks in the last month of my pregnancy but my mum tum was born. A little bit of loose tummy skin and fat that had a mind of its own when I moved anywhere quickly.
Then came my baby girl. By this time I was considered an ‘older’ mum. Pregnant at 36 and delivering at 37. My skin was older and therefore less elastic. My bump grew quickly, the stretch marks stretched some more and got stretch mark friends. The resulting mum tum was more loose skin that now resembled the more mature cast of Benidorm whenever I leant forwards.
But what of it? Why should I be ashamed of it? Admittedly I’m not overweight but I’m certainly not lean. My mum tum is a separate entitity with a life and a mind of it’s own. But I’m quite proud of it.
It’s my badge of honour.
Every roll, wrinkle, wiggle and jiggle is proof that I grew my beautiful babies. Proof that I was stretched just beyond my skin’s limit to grow two human beings. Proof that my soulmate (aka husband) and I were blessed beyond human understanding to conceive and have responsibility for two beautiful human beings on this earth.
It is a part of me. It doesn’t need a badge or an opinion (other than mine or perhaps that of my kids/husband – who happen to rather like it because it’s just a part of me).
Will it ever go away?
You cannot exercise away genetics. If your skin has over-stretched, it is unlikely to ever return to its pre pregnancy state. As you age, your skin loses elasticity – which means having babies younger would increase your chances of a better return to your non-pregnant state. But unless you are really lucky, a C-section scar, stretch marks, or big babies will leave their mark.
- Having twins, multiple-births or big babies;
- Having your babies close together (getting pregnant again before baby number one is two);
- Having your babies older (your skin loses elasticity);
- Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation); and
- Being overweight before or during pregnancy
Accept your new body
My kids have learned that blowing raspberries on mummy’s tummy makes a much fruitier noise than blowing raspberries on daddy’s firm tummy. They don’t see it as fat or a thing, as something good or bad. It hasn’t been labelled and it isn’t political. It’s just a part of mummy, which they grew in, and which jiggles (which they find really funny).
It doesn’t stop me from doing anything. Yes I had a small abdominal separation but that’s almost fixed now and yes if I ate less sugar, slept more and worked out with weights at least three times per week I’d probably have less tummy fat. But I struggle with anxiety over my kids and my work. I fit in just enough exercise to be a treat without becoming a chore and I’m not perfect.
My #mumtum is part of me and it’s real and I don’t ask for your opinion on it.
How about letting yours just be a part of you too?
Karen Laing is a pre and post natal exercise specialist, writer and speaker. Karen teaches Pilates (including pregnancy specific classes) in Epping, Essex and London and blogs about fitness, women’s health and wellbeing.
Karen co-directs Fit School with her husband Chris. They run fitness classes, ladies only training camps and Pilates classes in Epping and Essex.