Many women have distended abdominal muscles years after they have given birth. This quite frankly is unnecessary.
But what actually happens to the abs when a woman is pregnant?
The abdominals go through a unique lengthening process. As the baby grows there's an increased stretch on the abdominal wall.
That stretch forces the body to add functional units to the ab muscles which makes them longer.
Naturally after childbirth the stretch force is reduced and the muscles should return to normal length. This should take around 8 weeks.
Now, as life happens this isn't always the case and the natural rebounding may not happen as quickly, if you become pregnant soon after giving birth, gain excessive weight or have a cesarean section.
Don't panic! That's not to say you can't get pregnant quickly again, enjoy eating that chocolate bar or worry if you've had a cesarean. That's not the case at all. It's actually a great starting point to look at how you feel in your body, to be mindful and kind to yourself as you navigate through your own individual post natal journey.
Check in with how you feel. There is no one size fits all return back to pre baby bod nor should there be. You've just grown and housed a human for the last 9 months. You did good girl.
To restore the abdominal muscles I would recommend the following:
And the first thing doesn't even involve a gym (yay)!
Nutrition - that's eating high quality foods and drinking adequate water.
Core work - working on core stabiliser exercises and strengthening your pelvic floor.
Plenty of sleep - I know, I know...you just had a baby, you're thinking, "what sleep?!" But we all know our bodies are built and restored when we sleep so try and sleep as much as baby will permit.
And finally, listen to your body - this might sound like an obvious one but it's amazing how often we don't pick up on the queues that our body is giving us.