Your weighing scale says you’ve returned to your pre-baby weight but your body just doesn’t look it. The bump refuses to budge no matter what you do.
Anika Parashar Puri, head of maternity services at Fortis Healthcare, explains why the post baby bump has a tendency to stick around and how you can get rid of it.
Why it doesn’t go away
Pregnancy can be traumatic on abdominal muscles and post-pregnancy muscles need time to realign and tighten up.
“It takes 10 months to have a baby and it takes 10 months to get over having a baby – women forget that!” says Puri.
There are a lot of factors involved -- exercise, nutrition, hydration, stress. “But the reason the bulge doesn’t disappear is that women don’t take on all of these factors in a balanced manner.”
What moms usually do
“The worst thing a new mom can do is to stress about losing weight,” says Puri. “They either go on crash diets or stressful exercise regimes in order to lose weight faster, rather than losing it in a way that keeps them healthy and able to care for their babies.”
A manic, unsupervised rush to get back to your pre-baby figure can cause more harm than good and lead to “a host of physical problems, anxiety disorders and maybe even postnatal depression."
What moms should do instead
“In order to get back into shape post baby, women need to work with the right diet, the right exercise, the right massages, remain well hydrated and of course be de-stressed!” is Puri’s advice across the board.
“Breastfeeding also helps to contract and tighten the uterus and thus the bulge,” she says.
But a well-planned exercise regime, specifically designed with the needs of the new mom in mind, is your best shot at getting anywhere near post-partum flat abs.
Puri recommends the 3-2-1 Baby Bulge Be Gone program by celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza at Mamma Mia (currently only available in Delhi) which is delivered by trainers who are qualified to and experienced in looking after postnatal moms.
It’s a three phase program: Phase 1 is a 25-minute workout to strengthen your core muscles and flatten your post-baby stomach; Phase 2 progresses to a 45-minute workout to shed baby weight and boost your energy levels; and Phase 3 consists of a 60-minute workout designed to give you flexibility, strength and stamina.
If you’re not yet in that place to commit to a full-fledged workout, Puri has some quick exercise tips to help you tone up at your own pace.
Kegel Exercises: Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, imagine pulling your vaginal opening up toward the inside of your belly button. Relax as you inhale and repeat 20 times.
Tummy Toner: Inhale while expanding your belly and then as you exhale, pull your belly button toward your spine. Repeat 20 times.
Routine walking: Start out walking your baby for 15 minutes twice a day. Gradually increase your time. Eventually, try to walk at least 30-40 minutes once a day or take two 20-minute walks on most days of the week.
-Jerusha Ratnam Chande
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