Your post-baby body isn't permanent

By Judy Silver on September 18, 2012
As exciting as delivering a baby can be, the results to your body can be equally dramatic and often even traumatic. If a look in the mirror reveals you’ve developed saggy breasts, mummy tummy, stretch marks or scarring, don’t worry – you aren’t alone! And, according to experts, there are things you can do about it.

Mummy tummy

As your baby grows, the uterus expands, often causing your abdominal muscles to be stretched and damaged. These muscles can stay stretched, resulting in the infamous “mummy tummy.” Dr. Brynne Stainsby, a chiropractor at Advantage 4 Athletes Sports Therapy Clinic and fitness trainer recommends “toning your tummy by working the deepest abdominal muscle, the transversus abdominis.” For this, Dr. Stainsby suggests the following exercise: while sitting or standing up straight with your shoulders relaxed, gently draw your belly button toward your spine. Hold the pose for three to five seconds and repeat the exercise 10 times per day. “You can begin this as soon as your doctor says you’re ready to exercise,” she says.

Saggy breasts

Saggy breasts are also a result of a multitude of situations, including pregnancy, ligament weakening, sudden weight gain and loss. Surgical procedures, such as breast lifts and/ or implants are options you might consider for fuller breasts. However, surgery aside, a properly fitted bra will help lift saggy breasts, and proper posture will help defy gravitational forces pulling them down. While exercises designed to work the chest muscles, such as push-ups and chest presses will also help the breasts to sit higher, “no study says it will help with saggy breasts,” says Dr. Stainsby. “Exercise will give you muscle tone and strengthen the muscle underlying the breast tissue. It will also help to improve posture and increase metabolism making it easier to lose that baby weight.”

Stretch marks

During periods of rapid growth, such as pregnancy, the middle layer of skin may break in places, resulting in narrow, streak lines called stretch marks. Depending on your skin tone, the marks can range in colour from pinkish-red to dark brown. Dr. Tom Bacher, a family physician in Toronto, estimates that it occurs in 50 to 90 percent of women. “Avoiding excessive and rapid weight gain may help decrease the likelihood of developing stretch marks.” Over time the marks should fade.


Scarring occurs when skin has been cut, such as in the cases of Caesarean section deliveries. Eventually, scars fade; however, scars cannot be removed completely. If the appearance of the scarring bothers you, Dr. Bacher suggests getting a referral to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon in order to see if something can be done to make the scarring less visible.

Remember, it took nine months for your body to stretch. Reshaping will not happen overnight, but with proper nutrition, rest, and exercise, you will no doubt look and – most importantly – feel your best.

Originally published in ParentsCanada: Best Wishes, Spring 2012.

By Judy Silver| September 18, 2012

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