I'm no expert but my mum was exactly the same as you and at 73, she STILL has a belly. She was told that it was because she never did stomach crunches or sit ups to strengthen the stomach muscles back up. Like you, she did walk a lot but that isn't going to do anything to strengthen the muscles that have been through quite a bit!
I've already started doing stomach crunches from now (I'm almost 10 weeks) in preparation!!
Don't panic! I've had three babies and my stomache looks just fine. It just takes some time and a bit of effort. I used the ellipse to tighten the muscles down the sides of my stomache and crunches for the rest, and walked with my babies to just for overall health (for all of us!) You may think this funny (cough lol) but what I did to remind myself to do my crunches was every time I had to go to the bathroom I did crunches on the bathroom floor after. Not too many at a time , around 20, but several times a day because I drank alot of water and juice. I kept a rolled up floor mat beside my sink so I would have something clean and warm to lay on while I did them. I did it that way because I found I didn't have the time or energy to plan actual work-outs so a little bit at a time like that worked wonders for me. Your belly right now is normal. It just needs a little boost is all. Start with just a few and work yourself up to more each week as those muscles get stronger. Good luck! :)
Hi Anna, welcome to the forum! I'm going to be a little more realistic in my response, so please don't kill me! Most women will never recapture their pre-baby belly they had prior to pregnancy. Our bodies do what they have to do to accomodate a baby. If you are small framed and had an admirable middriff before, chances are you will not have it again, unless you have lipo or altered surgery (or you're Halle Barry, Heidi Klum or Brittney Spears). Once the muscles and ligaments are stretched in our belly after having a baby, they remain loose and soft...leaving your belly feeling giggly and doughy, and even protruding. I'm not saying targeted sit-ups/crunches won't help, but chances are they won't be the sure fix to recapture your pre-baby belly. Also, you didn't mention your age...if you are in the +35 group, it takes much longer to regain and maintain that youthful edge we all so desperately cling too : ) Best wishes to you! Pam
anna - I'm having the same exact problem! i thought i was the only one - I only gained 18 pounds, had an uncomplicated pregnancy at age 44, but this is my 7th pregnancy (5 live births) and my stomach still looks pregnant too. It's so depressing!
I asked my doctor about this not too long ago - he said some of the same things as Pam did but he also mentioned a combination exercises of cardio & toning. He especially said cardio was good as it was more fat burning while toning, well you can imagine, tones.the troubled area.
Walking is good as long as your heart rate is fairly raised but may not be enough to get a sweat. One thing I'm trying is hip-hop abs. it's fun way to get some cardio in while trying to tone the abs area. I started back in February but was terribly inconsistent so I haven't had much success yet but I work up a pretty good sweat and my belly definitely feels like it's gotten a workout.
I'll let you know my success - I truly thought I was the only one who struggled w/this problem. As Pam said, age has a LOT to do w/this problem - when I was in my 20's and early 30's and pregnant, my stomach area returned pretty much to its pre-pregnancy size (depressing) after the baby was born - drats.
Hang in there and maybe try this combination - let me know how things go!! - jen
Thanks all for your responses. I am 37 for those who asked (was 36 during the pregnancy). I am fairly small at 5'2 and actually my belly was very flat in my 20's but in my late 20's and 30's it was constantly bloated, but when it wasn't it looked pretty normal. I'm guessing it was weak since I didn't do a lot of crunches or targeted stomach exercises (I did a lot of yoga, but my belly never felt particularly worked out) so this and the fact that I was bloated so often must have left the muscles weak and then with the pregnancy (in which my belly got HUGE) it really left it 'broken'!
Although I don't expect it to go back to flat and perfect looking or anything, as Pam noted, I was hoping at least I could get it to where it won't stick out so obviously when wearing normal clothes... I find myself sucking in my stomach all the time so it doesn't look like I'm pregnant again!!!
Well, like most of you said, I will be doing more stomach exercises.
Jen, let me know how you progress with those hip-hop abs, I may try that too. It is hard to be consistent, I know, being quite busy with the baby and everything, but t is something we should make time for!
Suze and Magda, thanks for your encouragement, as all of you say I HAVE to work those ABS! Thanks for the inspiration. That's what I needed to know, if I know that exercise will help somewhat, it gives me more incentive to do it and stick with it.
Anna, it may be that we won't get to pre-baby bellies again but I'm sure we can get close, at least, with a little exercise. Good luck!