Mom bum. You know the bum I'm talking about, right? A little saggy, a little flat, a little wider than what it used to be. Mom bum. The fact is the body changes, often permanently, during pregnancy. With each subsequent pregnancy, it can change more and more.
Here are just a few of the changes you may have experienced:
- Once you're done breastfeeding (if you chose to do so), you're probably down a cup-size
- Although your cup-size is down you still may not be able to button up your tops without the buttons pulling
- Your feet may be 1-2 sizes bigger
- Your favorite jeans may not button up, even if you are back down to your pre-pregnancy weight
- Your bum may be wider and a flatter
Why do all of these changes happen? Hormones (in part).
Relaxin plays a large part in changes to the body during pregnancy. We need to make room for baby and relaxin causes ligaments to relax. When ligaments relax and loosen, our skeletal system may shift and widen to accommodate for the room your little nugget needs. Once your baby is born, skeletal changes often remain.
Think wider rib cage, wider hips, flattened arch in the foot. It all leads to a wider body and stretched out ligaments. Things just aren't as "tight".
What can you do about it? Skeletally? Not much. But, we can strengthen and build the muscles. We can make muscles larger and stronger. We can work on getting your butt back through exercises that include both cardio and strength training. We cannot change your skeleton, but we can change the muscles attached to it!
Here are our recommendations for combatting mom bum:
Cardio: Hill or stair climb workouts. Find a good route in your neighbourhood with lots of hills, or up the incline on your treadmill. The secret: slow your pace a little bit and lengthen your stride. Concentrate on engaging your glutes as you step. 20 minutes of incline cardio work will get you started! You should be breathless and sweaty by the end of the 20 minutes. If you're not, increase your intensity Mama, make that booty burn.
Strength Training: Complete the following circuit 2-3 times per week to help build your glute muscles and develop that round(er) booty your post-pregnancy body is fighting against:
15 Reverse lunges (each leg)
15 Step-ups (each leg)
Repeat the above circuit 2-3 times, depending on your fitness level. Need to challenge yourself? No problem, add dumbbells to the first 4 exercises. New to exercise? Great! Go through the circuit once and build from there as you get stronger.
If you combine the hill/incline cardio workout and the booty circuit 2-3 times per week, you'll be on your way to combatting mom bum. Just remember to always watch your form, take breaks when form falters and listen to your body. And Mamas, before you start, check with your doctor or midwife to make sure that your body is physically ready for exercise. Safety first, Mamas. Safety first.
This article was previously published on the Hot Mama Health & Fitness blog.