Do You Suffer From Mum Bum?

During pregnancy your centre of gravity shifts and as a result, many women try to counterbalance that shift by tucking their tailbone.  Overusing the posterior pelvic floor muscles and under-using the glutes results in a flattened backside that can’t fill up a great pair of jeans or even hold that pair of jeans up!

While it may seem a bit odd, next time you are at your mom group, check out your friend’s butts – what do you see?  (or maybe the better question is what don’t you see?)  Chances are you will see a lot of flat bums, flat backs and pants that are continuously being hoisted up.  What you won’t see is much of, if any, booty! Mum bum syndrome is rampant and below are some tips and exercises to help you get your booty back!

1. Sit Less

Sitting does nothing to build the glutes and everything to make it as flat as a pancake. Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time sitting these days don’t we?  Minimizing the amount of time spent sitting is critical to maintaining a healthy backside!

2. Walk

To make up for the amount of time we spend sitting, many of us head to the gym to burn some calories while often choosing high intensity activity that may not be well suited to our body, especially after having a baby.  One of the best exercises out there is walking, particularly hill walking. Walking is low impact and when you add in the incline of a hill, it really blasts those glutes into high gear along with revving up the cardio!

3. Bridges

One of the best glute exercises out there is the bridge and this can be done during pregnancy with a wedge and as early as the 2nd week postpartum.  As your strength increases you can also add some resistance with a sandbag on your pelvis and once your pelvic stability is on track you can also up the challenge by performing the movement with one leg off the ground and extended.

4. Hip Extensions

These can be done either on all 4’s or in standing (I don’t recommend being on all 4’s during pregnancy so opt for the standing version).  You don’t need a fancy piece of equipment – you can simply use your body weight or you can tie a thera-band around your ankles to add some resistance.

5. Squats

Squatting is a great glute builder and is also a movement that will be done over and over as you bend down to pick up your babe or toddler (or their toys, or spilled food, etc.).  Squatting can be done (and should be done) during pregnancy and within a few weeks postpartum.  The range of motion can be modified but you want to aim for a nice deep squat with the tailbone un-tucked and your pelvis in neutral (keeping the small curve in your low back).

There are many glute exercises out there but these versions offer versatility both before and after pregnancy.  They help maintain and build up the glutes while also encouraging the sacrum to stay un-tucked which is key to avoiding and curing mum bum syndrome!

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Kim Vopni
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Kim Vopni The Fitness Doula – Author of Prepare To Push™ - What Your Pelvic Floor and Abdomen Want You To Know About Pregnancy And Birth, Owner of Pelvienne Wellness Inc, and Co-Founder of Bellies Inc. Kim is a mom of 2 boys and is a Certified fitness professional who also trained as a doula. She combines the support aspect of a doula with the principles of fitness to help her pregnant clients ‘Prepare To Push’ while postpartum she helps her clients optimize healing and regain their core confidence for motherhood. She has taken specialized training in 2 pelvic floor fitness programs - the Pfilates Method and the Hypopressive Method. In 2009 she created a women’s health event called Kegels and Cocktails (that is now running across Canada and into the USA) designed to empower and educate women on the importance of pelvic health. You can find her on-line at www.pelviennewellness.com and www.belliesinc.com on facebook @PelvienneWellness and @BelliesInc and on twitter @FitnessDoula and @BelliesInc Kim is also a contributing writer for the Globe and Mail's online Health section.
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