You jump into your fave pair of (non-maternity) jeans a few months after having baby, excited to explore life beyond yoga pants.
They’re fitting pretty good until you turn around and notice that you’re not quite filling them out in the backside section as much as you used to.
Could it be? Is the dreaded flat mom butt not merely a myth but suddenly your reality?!
The truth is you’re probably a bum tucker.
In fancy anatomy terms this is called a posterior pelvic tilt – where your butt tucks in and your lower back flattens.
Here’s what it looks like…
It’s super common for this to happen during pregnancy because there’s a lot of baby sticking out the front of you so – if you’re not working on corrective exercises throughout your pregnancy – the pelvis tucks under to balance that weight.
And then you’re stuck with the flat #mombutt after baby joins the outside world because your muscles have actually changed length and weakened after being in that position for months and months.
Then – even though baby is out of the womb and your body no longer has to compensate for the extra weight out front – because you’re still sitting with a tucked bum, walking with a tucked bum, standing with a tucked bum and exercising with a tucked bum, what do you think happens to your bum? Right! It stays tucked! (You smarty-pants, you 😉 ).
And this is actually a big issue – beyond the tragedy that your fave pre-pregnancy Guess jeans give you the saggy butt look.
Two of the most important reasons it’s an issue for you, my mama friend, is because…
Reason #1 a Tucked Bum Is Harmful: When you tuck your bum your pelvic floor is no longer in proper alignment under your ribs. And when this happens your pelvic floor doesn’t have to do as much work. This may seem like a good thing – you’re just giving the little gal a break, right? But it’s not.
When your pelvic floor isn’t able to engage like it should – like it does when your ribs are properly aligned over your hips – that misalignment can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction. In lay-man-ese: there’s something wrong with your pelvic floor.
And when your pelvic floor isn’t working like it’s supposed to (like when you’re a booty tucker) you could end up getting or contributing to nasty things like hip, back and pelvis pain, prolapsed pelvic organs (where you pelvic organs – like your uterus, bladder or rectum – fall down into your pelvic cavity where they aren’t supposed to be) and incontinence (peeing and/or pooping yourself – or just not being able to hold a fart in when a hot guy jumps in the elevator with you. Yikes.)
So if you’re experiencing any of these issues you’re not doing your postnatal rehab attempts any favours by keeping your butt tucked.
Reason #2 a Tucked Bum Is Harmful: You’re not able to properly engage your glutes (booty muscles) when you tuck your butt under so this means that more pressure is being put on your other leg muscles and your back to pick up the slack.
So all those squats and deadlifts you’re doing with a tucked booty aren’t properly activating the right muscles – your glutes. And since your glutes aren’t being properly activated they’re not going to get stronger/bigger/more bootylicious (it had to be said at least once!)
And I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that tucking your bum makes it more likely you’re going to experience some aches and pains and possibly even an injury (or recurring injury) because your muscles aren’t being worked like they’re supposed to.
So it’s pretty clear at this point that having a flat booty post-baby isn’t just a bummer because you can’t fill your jeans out anymore, it’s also causing a lot of stress on your body and making it harder for you to rehab your pelvic floor and core.
So go ahead, set those glutes free!
How do you know you’ve fixed the issue and you’re not tucking your booty?
Check yourself out in the mirror.
Tuck your pelvis under, then untuck it. See and feel the difference.
It may feel weird at first – like you’re overly arching your back since you’re so used to being tucked. Just play with it. It’ll start to feel natural pretty soon.
And keep in mind that the idea is to find neutral – where you aren’t tucked, but you’re also not arching your back like crazy to stick your bum out. That would be an aggressive anterior pelvic tilt and we don’t want to fix one problem by creating another.
It shouldn’t be a huge effort. Just a small shift in your pelvis so that it’s truly neutral.
You can imagine that there is a piece of string attached to the top of your butt and someone is gently pulling it upward so that you have that slight, natural curve to your low back and your pelvis isn’t pushing forward.
Sitting, standing, walking, squatting and doing all your movements with a neutral pelvis will not only help your booty fill out your fave jeans again, it’ll also save you from experiencing those nasty aches and pains associated with misalignment and getting injured.
So tell yourself throughout the day, when you sit, stand, walk, exercise… “When in doubt, booty out!”
P.S. Have a friend who’s complaining about her post-baby flat butt? Send her this post and make a deal to point out when either of you are tucking in your booties during your afternoon walks.