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Does the "postpartum tummy" ever go away


mathnerd
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I am very, very slim to the point of strangers kindly advising me to eat more. I have a high metabolism, work out and eat healthy. I  had a child 6 years ago and had a great big postpartum belly. Now, everything is back to its old shape and size except the tummy. After 6 years, should I give up hope that it will ever go back to looking normal?

 

I have a bunch of coworkers who had babies recently and their tummies seem to have gone back to normal (they wear a lot of form fitting clothes, so it is obvious).

 

Thank you for your opinions in advance!

 

ETA: my doctor told me to do more crunches. I cannot do them because of back problems.

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I'm not sure of you are referring to just extra skin or your stomach muscles not being tight enough. If it's the skin, I think that would require cosmetic surgery, right? If it's the muscles, core work in Pilates can help - unless you have a medical condition like Diastasis Recti.

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The skin...no.  It may shrink a little, but it's likely the muscles, fascia, and skin is irreperably damaged.  (They never told us that in sex ed, did they???)

 

You can do work on correcting a diastasis recti which can cause bulging of the stomach muscles in some women.  You also need to work on your transverse and deep core work.  I would NOT jump into any "Core" DVD as it doesn't properly address post-baby bellies...even years later.  You can do more damage by jumping into things like crunches.  I would look into Jill Miller (Yoga Tune Up and other videos), Katy Bowman's website, and Hab-It Pelvic Floor-even if you don't have pelvic floor issues, she works on the core and supporting areas. 

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Yes, this. Traditional crunches will make DR worse and DR can contribute to back pain as well.

 

 

Exactly what I was going to say.

 

My abs are awful!  I've got DR and an incision site where the muscle hasn't healed properly.  Aside from cosmetic issues, there is the back pain and loss of balance & endurance from it all.  A brief hijack, but it kills me that women (ME) are sent away from the hospital after having major abdominal surgery with no real check up on the incision site and no physical therapy for recovery.  

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Exactly what I was going to say.

 

My abs are awful!  I've got DR and an incision site where the muscle hasn't healed properly.  Aside from cosmetic issues, there is the back pain and loss of balance & endurance from it all.  A brief hijack, but it kills me that women (ME) are sent away from the hospital after having major abdominal surgery with no real check up on the incision site and no physical therapy for recovery.  

:iagree:  I didn't have a c-section but I had a myomectomy that left a scar slightly bigger than a c-section scar in the same spot.  They never told me anything about it.  I now have bad adhesions that have led to a number of medical issues and a really really horrible looking stomach.  

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After #1 and #2, Pilates and Lotte Berk/Callanetics/Bar Method style work helped flatten my stomach. #3 did permanent damage. It isn't DR and my core is strong underneath all that stretched-out skin. If we had the money, I would totally get a tummy tuck (along with a b00k lift).

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Thank you all for the answers. I think that I may not have DR, but I will ask my doctor to check that one out on my next annual exam. I beginning to think that I have to live with what I have and be glad that I can stay at a healthy weight :)

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My abs went right back after the first, not so much after the second and no hope of ever going back after the third child. I am in the best shape of my life right now but have always been slim. The pooch is worse when I sit. It's a big roll and I hate it but I am happy for my health and I try to focus on aging gracefully now and try not worry about the sagging bulging parts.

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I have stretched out wrinkly belly skin going back to my first.  And I had him in my mid 20s, so it would have been nice to have more skin elasticity since it is better when you are younger usually.  I do carry huge, and am petite with a short torso.  So lots of wrinkly skin.  Have considered a tummy tuck, as that's the only realistic option for my skin situation, but I am concerned with the risks of a voluntary cosmetic procedure, and would struggle to deal with the downtime.

 

I had a diastasis dating back to my first pregnancy, and despite knowing about it and being a physical therapist, didn't do much about it.  I finally did after baby #3 (no more planned).  It has been a long and slow road, but I definitely saw much improvement with the Tupler technique.  I've considered taking her training and doing post partum diastasis rehab professionally, but it just isn't the right time in my life.

 

The splint really does help bring the two sides of the rectus abdominus closer, and then you work on strengthening your transverse abs from that position.  It definitely helped flatten my stomach  (always lose the weight after a year or so, but my organs basically bulged out through the diastasis by the end of the day), and my diastasis (3-4 finger widths in my case) shrank, and where I still have an opening, it is much shallower.  My core is way stronger, although I could still improve considerably.

 

If you do have a diastasis, as PPs have said, traditional crunches and abwork can actually make it worse, as can certain pilates moves.  About 1 out of 3 women who have had children have a diastasis.

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I asked my Dr about my loose skin and was told cosmetic surgery was my only option. I hate it but can't afford the procedure. I had 4 kids in 3 years and just did permanent damage. My skin said "whoa nelly ENOUGH!"

Yup.  Mine gave up after kid #4.  It wasn't great after the first 3 because of my myomectomy scar, but it was a lot better than this. :/  

 

Momof3littles-which splint do you use?

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I used the one tupler sells with the 3 "arms" to it.  I had tried compression style ones briefly before that but I do find you get more approximation of the two halves of the rectus using her three arm splint.  I HATED wearing it.  HATED.  But it did help considerably.  I lost several inches and had to size down to the next size after maybe 6 weeks, which I believe she says is fairly common.  Not fun wearing it though, but the results those first weeks really were encouraging.

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I used one after kid #5 for just a few weeks.  I liked it, but it was the wrong size and got uncomfortable.  I've seen differing opinions on whether it can exacerbate or cause a prolapse, so I've stayed away since, just in case.  But I really should look around.

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I am very, very slim to the point of strangers kindly advising me to eat more. I have a high metabolism, work out and eat healthy. I  had a child 6 years ago and had a great big postpartum belly. Now, everything is back to its old shape and size except the tummy. After 6 years, should I give up hope that it will ever go back to looking normal?

 

I have a bunch of coworkers who had babies recently and their tummies seem to have gone back to normal (they wear a lot of form fitting clothes, so it is obvious).

 

Thank you for your opinions in advance!

 

ETA: my doctor told me to do more crunches. I cannot do them because of back problems.

 

I would investigate whether there is a link between your back problems and weaker core muscles. Would strengthening your core (safely and without increasing your back pain) have a twofold effect in relieving/preventing back pain and increasing core muscles of the entire torso (including back muscles, abdomen and lateral sections). I'd go to a sports doctor or physiotherapist.

 

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I would investigate whether there is a link between your back problems and weaker core muscles. Would strengthening your core (safely and without increasing your back pain) have a twofold effect in relieving/preventing back pain and increasing core muscles of the entire torso (including back muscles, abdomen and lateral sections). I'd go to a sports doctor or physiotherapist.

 

I have weaker core muscles, so you might be right. I need to investigate this further. Thank you!

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Yes-properly working your core includes working your back.  Have you had an injury or is it just chronic pain (often a symptom of core weakness)?

 

Just a few quick links. 

http://www.fitpregnancy.com/exercise/postnatal-workouts/ab-rehab-workout/slide/4 (all the slides)

Thank you for the links. I spent 15 years in a desk job working long hours - I think that was a contributor to my back pain. I am doing yoga now. I will check with my instructor about core strengthening exercises.

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