The Triple Threat Of Being A Mother
Women not only get to experience the miraculous beauty of carrying, birthing, and nursing a child, but they also often get to carry the “battle wounds” after doing so. Often the aftereffects of child-birth can leave a woman with sagging or deflated breasts, separation in the abdominal muscles, and the dreaded “pouch” of loose skin or fat in the lower stomach. These issues may not go away without intervention, which means a proactive approach is the only line of attack. Let me steer your efforts in the right direction.
Although it may not be the most comfortable for a woman to experience the extra weight and pressure of their breasts full of milk, I will speak for the men and proclaim…it sure does look good! Unfortunately, the nice appearance of full firm breasts often disappears when the milk does, sometimes leaving you with a sagging or deflated appearance. Exercises to firm the muscle under the breast tissue will certainly firm up the foundation and improve the appearance of your breast. The area of your upper chest seen between your neck and boobs can be filled out dramatically with exercises targeting the upper chest. But exercises will do nothing for the actual breast tissue itself, so to rid yourself of the sagging boobs you have to stand on your head or look into a breast lift. I have included video footage from a local cosmetic surgeon that appeared on my TV show talking about breast lifts, and this will give you welcomed guidance.
Another unwanted gift that childbirth can leave you with is a vertical separation of your abdominal muscles. This condition is called Rectus Diastasis, and it affects a surprising number of women. Although more commonly seen with women who have given birth multiple times, you are not immune if you carrying a larger baby or twins. Sometimes this gap, or ridge, down the middle of your stomach can be minimal, while other times it can be quite wide and need the intervention of specific exercises or even surgery to improve the condition. If the gap in your abdominal muscles is more than 2 fingers wide, you should seek help from a physician or physical therapist.
Probably the most common problem women struggle with after childbirth is the dramatic loss of muscle tone in the abdominals, the extra fat stored there, and/or the loose skin that is seen in the lower abs. In order to conquer this issue, you first have to determine exactly which of these are actual contributors to your problem. Plenty can be done to improve your muscle tone or to eliminate the fat in the lower abs. I have given you a taste of specific exercises to flatten the stomach in past articles, and you can see these and more by browsing through the archives of the Sensible Fitness TV program at on this website.
But now the bad news, not much can be done for loose skin. If you have lost the elasticity of the skin, there are no easy fixes. Some women have considerable amounts of loose skin, and surgery is about the only option.
I have been a physical therapist assistant and professional fitness trainer for many years, and get frustrated with the inaccurate information given by unqualified trainers or web sites that not only leave women with false hopes of improving the above-mentioned conditions but also leave them busting their butts with unnecessary exercises. This leads to great disappointment and adds to any issues of self-esteem or depression that may be present, when the goal is not reached. The aforementioned issues are not something that a weekend workshop will qualify a personal trainer to work with. If you seek outside help, please do your homework and make sure they are formally educated and qualified!