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.
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 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.”
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.