One of my thoughts around pregnancy was about my recovery. I have been looking forward to the next one, not because pregnancy is fun (yikes!), or because I just had to have more babies (…eh), but because I was looking forward to using pregnancy as a sort of natural nip and tuck (Say what!).
When people think of pregnancy, they think of expansion and not shrinkage.
This is my rational:
Two months after my first birth, I still looked pregnant. That was when I started doing a little more research on what I could do to help get my belly back. I read on the belly bandit website that our bodies contain a hormone called relaxin. It’s the hormone that helps our bellies expand quickly during pregnancy. This hormone also helps our bodies’ contract easily, if we apply some kind of compression. It remains in high levels in our systems 6 – 8 weeks after pregnancy, so women who take active steps to shrink during that time, shrink a lot more rapidly than those that don’t.
At the time I was read this, it was already past the 8 weeks mark. So, losing my belly was a really stiff battle, but it did go down eventually. Looked back, I realized that the times I did wrap my belly during the 8 weeks, it did shrink. In fact, it shrunk so well, it looked like I had the potential of acquiring an even smaller waist line than pre-pregnancy. But it was too painful a process for me to do consistently.
Another body part that could benefit from compression will be the chest area. I got a big surprise after I was done breast feeding. As I described in an earlier post, my chest looked as though someone let the air out, deflated and defeated. With relaxin in abundance in our system, if we don’t hold things firm during pregnancy and after, they are also susceptible to the effects of the hormone. They have since improved, but I learnt that that area should also be under consistent compression.
What to do, what to do
Anyways, since that time, I have been contemplating how I was going to use my next pregnancy period and post-partum to take advantage of this hormone. I have devised all types of contraption in my head and I will be trying them out. After all I have nothing to lose. In the meantime, I will be wrapping up and compressing as much as I can, and after the birth, I’ll kick that into high gear.
These are the things I’m doing currently:
Wearing sport bras to bed:
From now, until forever… I started sleeping in my older worn out sports bras and the results were almost immediate. My chest area definitely looks more lifted. I picked sports bras that were not too tight because I don’t like feeling too constricted at night. I ended up buying the bra genie and that has been working out great. The have all around support and compression effects.
The sports bra only went so far, so I resumed doing some chest exercises I used to do a long time ago. These help strengthen the muscles around the chest for an even more lifted and sculpted look. The exercises I do are sort of invented and I’m sure there are more effective ones out there. You can search online for different variations and figure out what works for you. I’m still working on finding a good combination.
Belly toning exercises:
With this pregnancy, my belly looks huge, it’s been looking like I’m 2 months ahead of what I really am. People said this is normal for baby number two, but I wasn’t sure that could account for how much bigger I looked.
With the first pregnancy my midwife had scolded me for doing core strengthening exercises. So this time I didn’t. Then another midwife scolded me for not doing ab-exercises. So, one day at the gym, I did some crunches on the ball and my belly looked much, much smaller. When I first walked into the gym, I could barely zip up my jacket, but afterwards, it zipped up fine. So that was what was really making the difference. Core workouts were back in play. With a stronger core, I was carrying my baby better, stronger and smaller.
Sitting on a ball at work:
Inspired by the results at the gym, I started sitting on a ball at work instead of a chair. It keeps my core engaged, which keeps me tucked and makes me carry my belly higher, with strength in the lower belly, not low and weak. More importantly, I am doing things that trigger muscle memory and trigger me to tuck and strengthen my core instead of letting it all hang.
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