Why do I have a flat bum after pregnancy?

I hear a lot of post-natal woman talk about how flat their bum has become after pregnancy and they’re looking for exercises to “build it back again”. Has this happened to you after having a baby?

Before I encourage any specific type of exercise, do one thing for me…stand in front of the mirror then go ahead and really really SQUEEZE that bum. Now I want you to release it – I mean REALLY release it, all the tension – releasing it might feel weird or uncomfortable.

Take a look at it now that you’ve released it – how does it look? Does it look a bit bigger? Did you find it hard to completely release it?

If the answer is yes, then you might have a postural issue, rather than a glute issue. Due to pregnancy postural changes your glute (bum) muscles are constantly contracted. This happens because your body desperately needs to stabilise your pelvis, but because you’re lacking in abdominal strength, and let’s face it your back is probably tight and stiff (no surprises there – you’ve just carried a tiny human inside your belly), so your glutes are over compensating for weaker supporting muscles.

The good news is, just fixing your posture will help and by this I don’t mean “just stick your bum out” – this is just replacing one postural issue with another. Here’s what you can try:

  1. Check yourself sideways in the mirror and try to get your body in a line from shoulder to hip…your ribcage should be over your pelvis.
  2. Don’t thrust out your chest or let your ribs flare up, take an inhale and when you exhale draw your ribs down to your hips.
  3. Relax your shoulders, don’t let them come up to your ears (but don’t pull them downwards either). If your shoulders are rounded, pull them back slightly.
  4. Make sure you have a nice straight line from ear to shoulder – no forward head posture.
  5. Start gentle abdominal work – you need your abs to start helping with the stabilisation of your pelvis.
  6. Strengthen that upper and mid back, get these muscles firing to help pull back those rounded shoulders
  7. Stretch out your chest – these muscles will be tight and short due to slouching forward.

What does any of this have to do with my bum, you ask? Do you know your tailbone is part of your spine, and what you do to one part of the spine, you do to another? Stacking the ribs over your hips combined with fixing those rounded shoulders, is going to get your spine back into its correct curve. Strengthening the back and abdominals means they can start to help with stabilising your pelvis instead of relying on the glutes – then finally we can convince those glutes that there’s enough stabilsing muscles supporting the pelvis and it’s ok for them to let go and allow themselves to “untuck”, relax and elongate.

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