5 reasons you still look pregnant (and what to do about it)
First of all, let me say that when I had my first baby I naively thought that the baby would pop out, and I’d leave hospital looking like Kate Middleton, in my normal jeans, but a bit tired and emotional. I did NOT expect to be leaving in my maternity wear still looking 6 months pregnant.
Obviously I hadn’t read enough, ignorance was bliss back then.
But fast forward a few months or even years and lots of women still look a few months pregnant. Have you been on the receiving end of those well meaning comments asking you when you’re due? Or the awkward ‘Congratulations!’, only to mutter something about how your kids are two now, thank you very much.
You’re not alone.
So why DO you still look a bit preggers and what are the options? There are a few causes of the forever pregnant look:
Your posture’s gone haywire - When you carry the baby, the extra weight makes you curve your spine and stick your bum out. After you give birth, you might be hanging onto this negative alignment which not only gives you back pain and stops your core muscles from working properly, it also pushes your belly out. Working on your alignment with daily posture checks and some corrective exercises is a great place to start. Ask your physio, Pilates instructor or personal trainer for some tips and practice exercises.
Diastasis Recti - which is a condition that makes your tummy muscles separate during pregnancy. If they haven’t joined up again, then they can have the effect of making you bulge even if the rest of you is slim. If you’ve not got a lot of body fat, but your belly still protrudes, this could be the cause. Only a healthcare professional can diagnose DR, you can do a simple check at home to see if this is your problem. Check out my video HERE
If you do have DR, then you’ll need to go and see your physio for an assessment and most likely undertake a special exercise routine to try and retrain your abs. In the most severe cases you can opt for a surgery to close the gap if you’re done having kids, but I’d try the exercise route first. I had (and still have) DR.
Too many crunches! - Kind of linked to DR, most women don’t realise that traditional ab exercises can cause their muscles to bulge outwards. Even lifting up something heavy without properly engaging the core and cause pressure in your abdomen that pushes your tummy out. Not good. So it’s a good idea if you’re postpartum to get a professional who specialises in postnatal exercise to train you, at least for a little bit, so that you don’t do more harm. Oh and here’s the kicker - a lot of fitness professionals DON’T have specific training for postnatal exercise. Just because someone is a personal trainer or instructor doesn’t mean they’re trained to help you. Do your checks before you hire someone.
Belly Fat and diet - yes in some cases the extra fat is down to diet. If you’ve tried exercise and not seen the results you want, the chances are that you haven’t tried addressing the nutrition part of getting lean. Honestly, getting rid of the tummy is 80% nutrition when combined with exercise, so you have to get real about this before heading for lipo! Try cutting out processed foods, sugar and the junk. You can even do a 14 day elimination diet like my 14 Day Cleanse, which will help you find out if a particular food is making you bloated. Ideally, you’ll want to take a good clear look at your diet, and if you’re not sure how you should be eating, consult a pro who can help you come up with a plan that’s going to work for your life.
Extra Skin - Sometimes the issue isn’t fat, so much as skin. After I had my two kids, I worked out hard and ate well, but the belly fat was the LAST area to go. I still have a teeny bit of loose skin, but nothing to complain about. No amount of diet or exercise is going to fix loose skin, so you’ve got a couple of options here. You can embrace your gorgeous post-baby body or you can look into surgical options such as laser liposuction or tummy tucks. I’m all for doing what makes you feel fit and fabulous, but there’s no point getting drastic if you plan on having more babies.
I’m all for loving your body and accepting how bloomin’ amazing it really is. I’m also all for grabbing the bull by the horns and fixing things that make you miserable. No judgement here! So if you feel lost and don’t know where to turn, start with a qualified professional opinion.
The Corio Method is a unique, fearlessly fun and effective fitness method and training system that creates a stronger, fitter, leaner and more agile, beautifully balanced physique. Apply now for a complimentary Corio Kickstart Session with our coaches, available globally (value $250) and take the first step towards a new you.