Friday, April 11, 2014

12 Week Picture Progression and some rambling on pregnancy tummy muscles

Another week has gone by and it's hard to believe we're already in the second trimester because it feels like that positive pregnancy test was like three days ago.  Obviously, however, it was not.  

This weeks post will be a rough lesson in pregnancy and post partum tummies (I know, everyone's waiting with bated breath now, right?  And obviously it's by me... a mom with some pregnancy experience and no medical experience.).

As many of us probably know, after you have a baby, you're tummy muscles don't magically return to their previous shape/strength.  For some people they bounce back faster than others.  Some people work harder than others.  I've found shapewear does help, both for support and to guide muscles back to some semblance of their former self.

At the same time, however, my muscles have dramatically changed.  And honestly, between pregnancy and nursing. I don't want those old muscles back.  It seriously, seriously hurt when my muscles had to expand to make room for Sadie.

Before she was born I was kind of in love with sit ups.  V-ups.  Core exercises.  My stomach was strong. I was proud of it. And when it came time for those strong muscles to expand it was not so fun.

And I haven't missed that at all in my more recent pregnancies.  So while I do try to get some semblance of my old figure back post baby, and I have gotten back to the weight I was on my wedding day each time, I don't try to get super strong abs back...

I guess I sort of have a "what's the point at this point in my life" attitude about it.  I understand the importance of having a strong core but I'm not an over achiever in this particular area anymore.  And I'm okay with that.
On the other hand I do want to clear up the misconception that was mentioned in the last pregnancy picture post, that said that if I had better posture and sucked in my gut, I wouldn't look pregnant (okay, it was worded much, much more kindly than that, but pregnant woman can be kind of sensitive about this sort of thing and that's how this particular pregnant woman takes that type of encouragement even though I'm sure it was totally well intentioned).

You see, I've had three c-sections in the last five years.  This is my fifth pregnancy in just over six years.  I can stand up straight and flex my little heart out trying to firm up those muscles and people are still going to come up to me in the checkout line and say "Oh my goodness, is this your first?  When are you due?"  No matter how much I tell them to go back, it just doesn't happen.

That's just how it is.  Major abdominal surgery changes muscles.  Repeated abdominal surgery changes them even more.  Pregnancy changes them and yes, repeated pregnancies, particularly in succession (in my experience at least) change them even more.

And that's okay.  I'm pretty excited about the changes to my body when I'm pregnant, probably because I'm pretty excited to be pregnant and these changes go hand in hand with the fact that there's a little life growing inside of me.  And at least he or she will have plenty of room to grow (I say that because a certain baby who was just under nine lbs was turning from breach to head down and then to transverse at 39 and a half weeks, so those muscles stretching does seem to have given them some wiggle room).

So there is my rambling post on pregnancy tummy muscles and how it's okay if they aren't exactly like they were before.  They're serving a purpose.  And that purpose is pretty amazing.

Even if I feel kind of gigantic for only being "this pregnant" at the moment.


  1. I firmly believe that no person should ever make a comment about what a pregnant woman looks like, except for the phrase "you look great" or some variation thereof.

    I have the opposite problem. I always look small. With my 4th baby I had someone tell me that "I didn't even look pregnant" at 7 months which nearly had me in tears because I had gained like 20 pounds, which meant that I just looked fat. Even my midwife told me that I "looked smaller than she expected" which had me crazy worried (even though she wasn't worried).

    I think everyone just carries differently. I have a very long torso, and I tend to carry more spread out, rather than all in front, so I never get that super cute, beach ball belly. On the plus side, I never have problems bending down, shaving my legs, moving around, doing stuff, driving or anything else, because I'm not way out in front.

    I also never had any abdominal surgery and tend to have a wider spacing, so that probably makes a difference too.

  2. Beautiful! (You and this post.)

  3. After three c-sections I can attest to the change in belly features. I now have a perminant apron or what looks like a peascod dublet. I'm not a fan. However, I love being pregnant and marveling at how my body adjusts to it.

  4. I always admired people, but especially women, who could do like a million situps and V-ups without even straining, and the result of looking great in their clothes, especially shorts and summer tops. But we all grow up sometime, and other things that are so much more worth while (like bringing forth LIFE!) take precedence, and something has to give. So, goodbye, you lovely old rock hard abs, and hello beautiful live squirming baby girl or boy. I trade the first for the second in a heartbeat!
    (And I honestly have to tell you, I think you look great in all your pictures, pregnant or not.)
    God Bless. ~ Bonnie
    P.S. Just read the Facebook post about Sadie saying "I love you." and then told you she was talking to the cat! Humility. God is always giving us chances to practice humility.

  5. I think you are like the cutest pregnant lady in the world... :) I just worry because you keep saying how big your bump is, are there are health problems that could come from that? Everything's healthy right?

  6. They said at the last ultrasound that the baby looks great (which was great to hear!). I think it is mostly just stretched out muscles going straight back to where they remember being last when the pregnancy muscle relaxing hormones hit!

  7. I think that you look lovely. I had the opposite problem during my pregnancies. People were continually asking, "are you sure you're really pregnant? You look so small." It is just the way I carry. I don't gain much weight, and had a lot of rude comments about me "starving" myself and my baby. My OB stopped measuring my fundal height with baby #4 because I have always measured behind despite having babies in the 9 lb. range. My OB said that as far as pregnancy weight gain and belly size go, it's mainly genetic and not to worry as long as you are living a healthy lifestyle. I think people should be sensitive to all pregnant women, regardless of their size or shape. It is hard work growing another person :-)


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