Article By Edna Skopljak – Medical Doctor (MD)
All new mothers and expectant mothers around the world experience numerous physical and emotional changes. One of these changes is in the body, and it’s something that almost every mother goes through during and after pregnancy.
It can be difficult to accept that your body is no longer the same. You may dislike the weight gain and feel unhappy about your appearance. It’s perfectly normal to have these concerns, but it’s also important to remember that there are mothers who embrace their new appearance. Whatever your feelings may be, it’s completely fine.
One specific change that some mothers experience is a flatter butt during pregnancy. If you’re dealing with what is commonly known as “mom butt,” you’re not alone. It’s perfectly alright to stay cool even if pregnancy has affected the shape of your butt. In this article, we will address all your concerns and hopefully provide you with some comfort.
What Is A Mom Butt?
“Mom butt” refers to flat or flabby buttocks that become larger, flatter, or saggy during or after pregnancy. This change is caused by a condition known as “posterior pelvic tilt.”
The shift in the body’s center of gravity caused by the growing belly leads many expectant mothers to tuck their glute muscles under, resulting in an overuse of the back of the pelvic floor. This, in turn, causes the hip flexors to become overactive, exacerbating the anterior pelvic tilt and shifting the glute muscles even further forward.
If you previously had a larger butt, it’s not surprising to see flatter “mommy” buttocks during pregnancy or after giving birth. While it may be disheartening to look at yourself in the mirror, especially when hormones are not on your side, it’s important to be kind and gentle with yourself. Remember, you will gradually regain your body day by day.
Does Pregnancy Give You a Flat Butt?
Absolutely! Pregnancy can indeed lead to a flatter butt. But how does this happen?
When you’re pregnant, your body’s center of gravity shifts due to the growing belly and the weight of the baby. To counterbalance this shift, many expectant mothers tuck their glute muscles under, which leads to overuse of the back of the pelvic floor. This, in turn, causes the hip flexors to become overactive, worsening the anterior pelvic tilt. As a result, the glute muscles shift even further forwards.
However, having a flat butt may also occur or persist when you carry your baby for extended periods and maintain an incorrect posture to support their weight. This can put pressure on the pelvis and lead to back pain, incontinence, and pelvic floor dysfunction if not addressed in a timely manner.
Of course, this should not discourage you from holding and nurturing your precious little one. There are ways to strengthen your weak muscles, and other factors also contribute to “mom butt.” Keep reading to learn more about this issue.
How Common Is Flat Butt After Pregnancy?
Body changes are inevitable during pregnancy. The extent and nature of these changes vary from person to person based on factors such as body weight, body type, and fitness level.
A flat butt after pregnancy is quite common. It’s important to remember that even though many people associate pregnancy with booty gain, some women experience the opposite—flattening of the butt. So, if you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
What Causes Flat Butt Syndrome During Pregnancy?
If you’ve noticed that your butt has become flatter during or after pregnancy, you’re probably wondering why. There are several reasons for this.
Primarily, it’s due to changes in posture as pregnancy progresses. The additional weight of the baby in the front causes the body to adapt by tilting the pelvis and spine forward to maintain balance. These postural changes can lead to tight hip flexors and underactive gluteal muscles. When the gluteal muscles are not active, they weaken and decrease in size, resulting in a flatter butt.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also affect the shape of your buttocks. Throughout the nine months, your body releases more of the relaxin hormone, which helps prepare your body for accommodating the growing baby and giving birth by relaxing the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around your pelvis. However, relaxin can also lead to the widening and stretching of the muscles in this area, potentially changing the shape of your butt.
Additionally, pregnancy increases estrogen levels in the body. Estrogen plays a role in where we store or lose fat, which may contribute to the shape of your glutes.
3. Low Activity
Low activity during pregnancy can also contribute to a flat butt. Many pregnant women spend long periods sitting or lounging, which reduces muscle activity in the glutes, as well as the abdominal and back muscles. Inadequate muscle activity can cause muscle loss and flatten the shape of your glutes.
While it’s important to rest when necessary, staying active during pregnancy is beneficial for both you and your baby’s health. Walking is a simple and effective exercise that can help maintain muscle tone and overall well-being. Of course, always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise routine during pregnancy.
How to Get Your Butt Back After Pregnancy
If you’re dealing with the so-called flat butt syndrome, don’t worry. There are steps you can take to regain your pre-pregnancy glutes, although it won’t happen overnight.
Start by incorporating an exercise plan and consider adjusting your nutrition to support muscle recovery and the development of strong glutes. Here are some exercises to help you build muscle and strengthen your butt muscles while enjoying your postpartum journey:
Note: Before attempting any of these exercises, consult with your doctor or OB-GYN to ensure that your postpartum body is ready.
1. Walking and Standing Up
Minimize the amount of time you spend sitting and prioritize walking and standing up. These basic steps are essential for maintaining a healthy backside. Remember, “use it or lose it.” By staying active, you can prevent your buttocks from reducing in size and losing their function. Hill walking is especially beneficial as it activates your glutes and improves cardiovascular health. If possible, include your little one in your walks using a hiking stroller with proper suspension and hand brakes. When your doctor permits, you can also consider jogging with a specialized jogging stroller designed for this activity.
Squats and wall sit squats are excellent exercises for building glute muscles. Squatting is a movement that you’ll naturally repeat as a mother when you bend down to pick up your baby. You can modify the range of motion during pregnancy and the postpartum period, but aim to squat as deeply as possible with your tailbone untucked and your pelvis in a neutral position. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly turned out. Start by bending your knees as if you’re sitting on a chair and then press through your heels to stand back up. Do three sets of 15 repetitions.
3. Glute Bridge
The glute bridge is an excellent exercise for activating and strengthening your glutes and pelvic floor muscles. Perform this exercise when it’s safe to lie on your back, as it encourages glute activation. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips off the ground, holding the position for three seconds before slowly lowering your hips back down. Aim for 8-12 repetitions in three sets. As your strength increases, you can add resistance with a sandbag on your pelvis.
4. Leg Extension
Leg extensions are great for targeting the glutes both during and after pregnancy. Begin on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips, maintaining a straight back. Activate your core and pelvic floor muscles for stability. Extend one leg straight out behind you, making sure not to lift it higher than your back. Return the leg to the floor and repeat with the other leg. Aim for three sets of 15 repetitions on each leg. You can also alternate between arms and legs during these glute exercises. If desired, you can use a resistance band around your ankle for added intensity.
5. Hip Thrust
The hip thrust is an effective strength training exercise for the glute muscles. It requires a bench or couch. Sit in front of a bench or on the edge of a couch with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. With your core engaged, squeeze your glutes and extend your hips, pressing your upper back against the bench or couch. Pause at the top and then slowly lower your hips back down. Choose a surface that allows for a 90-degree knee bend when your hips are fully extended. Perform three sets of 15 repetitions.
Other Tips for Getting Rid of a Flat Butt After Pregnancy
In addition to these exercises, there are other ways to gradually regain your pre-pregnancy glutes.
Diet: Maintain a balanced diet that provides adequate nutrition and calories to support your muscles, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, lean protein, eggs, and high-fiber foods in your diet. Avoid foods high in simple sugars, solid fats, whole milk, alcohol, highly processed foods, and refined carbs. This type of diet will also contribute to weight loss.
Stay Active: Remember to stay active, even if it is just walking. Walking can help you lose fat and aid in postpartum weight loss. Choose exercises that suit you best, but consider avoiding cycling as it may not benefit your glutes. There are many other exercises, such as deadlifts, fire hydrants, and elevated clamshells, which can help rebuild your glutes. Patience and consistency are key on this journey to regaining your glutes.
Maintain the Right Ergonomic Posture: Improving your posture, especially when carrying your baby, can help change the strength and size of your glutes. Take a look at your side profile in a mirror to identify any flaws in your posture. Strength training and glute exercises can also assist in improving your posture. Additionally, using a good baby carrier that evenly distributes your baby’s weight across your body and supports your lower back can help maintain a good posture while carrying your child.
No matter what, always remember that you are perfect in your baby’s eyes. It can be challenging to maintain your appearance and self-esteem at times, but seeking support from healthcare professionals or fitness experts can help you achieve your desired results. You are never alone on this journey.