Mom's belly: what are its causes and how to get rid of it
If when you see yourself in the mirror you have noticed that your stomach has a protruding shape, it is very likely that you will suffer from "mama's belly". What is this? It is a very common characteristic in mothers or pregnant women. This does not mean that you are overweight, but that your body acquired a different musculature from the one before your pregnancy.
That protruding belly is actually a medical condition called diastasis of rectus abdominis. The term refers to the separation of the superficial muscles of the abdomen. The good news is that there are specific exercises that can help reduce it, not only for an aesthetic issue, but also to prevent back pain.
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What causes the "mommy belly"?
The rectus abdominis or rectus abdominis is a pair, long and flattened muscle that goes from the ribs to the pubic bone. It is vertical and acts as a kind of corset for our body, giving support and protection to the back.
During pregnancy, those two parallel muscles are usually separated in the middle to allow the growth of the fetus in the uterus. Hormones and labor can also contribute to this separation.
After pregnancy, these muscles can return to their original position, but often they do not: they stay stretched, weakened and separated by a gap of up to 5 cm.
This vertical separation gives very little support to the stomach and other organs, so the belly of many mothers tends to excel in a peculiar way, different from the usual fat that is concentrated in the area of the waist.
One third of the female population has diastasis of rectus abdominis
According to> British Public Health Service (NHS, for its acronym in English) the abdominal muscles usually return to their usual position naturally around eight weeks after delivery.
However, in a Norwegian study of 2016 it was estimated that approximately one third of the mothers have diastasis of rectus abdominis one year after giving birth.
What happens if it does not return to its place?
The resulting gap, added to the weakening of the muscles, increases the risk of suffering back pain in the lower back and acquiring bad postures.
There is also an increased risk of an abdominal hernia. That is why it is important to take control of that separation and try to reduce an excessive protrusion of the abdomen.
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How to know if your abdominal muscles are separated
The rectus abdominus muscles should be side by side, on each side of the navel. Normally there is not much gap between them.
A simple way to check if you have diastasis of rectus abdominis is the following:
- Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor
- Lift your shoulders and head slightly, and look towards your belly.
- With the tips of your fingers, feel the edge of the abdominal muscles, above and below the navel. Look how many fingers fit in the gap between the muscles.
The size of that separation varies from one woman to another. If you decide to exercise to reduce that gap, you can regularly do this test to measure your progress. A gap of one to two fingers after having a baby is considered normal.
How to reduce the abdominal cavity
Exercise the deepest abdominal muscles, As the transversus abdominus, can help Close the separation from inside of the rectus abdominis, the most superficial. As a result, many women also notice a reduction of your waist circumference.
A more basic exercise than NHS Physiotherapy Service of Wales recommended for their patients to help reduce diastasis is as follows:
one. Lie on your back with your legs bent, your feet flat on the floor and your back in a relaxed and neutral position, neither too flat nor too arched.
two. Feel the bones of the pelvis with your hands and move your fingers about 2 cm towards the center and another 2 cm down towards the feet.
3. As you exhale, draw the navel toward the spine. You should notice how the muscle under your fingers tightens. Make sure you do not move the column.
Four. Keep the contracted tummy in that position between 3 and 5 seconds while you breathe normally and then relax. Proceed to maintain contraction for 10 seconds before exhaling.
5. Repeat this exercise 10 times, at least once a day.
Important: It should be clarified that Bioguía does not give medical advice or prescribe the use of techniques as a form of treatment for physical or mental problems without the advice of a doctor, either directly or indirectly. In the case of applying for this purpose some information of this site, Bioguía does not assume the responsibility of those acts. The intention of the site is only to offer information of a general nature to help in the search of development and personal growth.