BY CARLA WALSH
During my pregnancy, I loved my growing tummy. I imagined how my baby was slowly taking form and putting on weight inside me. A true spectacle of how amazing the human body is. But the tummy is also undeniably the body part most battered by pregnancy. The growing fetus stretches, not only the tummy skin (causing those stretch marks and loose skin) but also your core muscles. Like a loose corset around your trunk, a weakened core can cause many problems, such as weakness, constipation, incontinence, backaches and a stubborn tummy bulge, which often refuse to back down despite returning to your pre-pregnancy weight.
To find out more on the latest approaches and technologies for tackling the mummy tummy, I spoke to three mummy doctors from SW1 Clinic, one of Singapore’s largest medical aesthetic and plastic surgery centre in Paragon Medical Centre.
Prevention Is Key
Medical Director and beautiful mum Dr. Low Chai Ling explains that it is crucial to prevent over-stretching of tummy tissue by maintaining a steady and healthy weight gain during pregnancy. She added that, after delivery, a diet high in ‘healing’ nutrients such as protein, vitamin C and zinc, may help your body to reverse skin and muscle changes.
Guided exercises after delivery will help re-tone the mummy tummy. Dr Low advised to seek the help of physiotherapists and trainers experienced in managing diastasis recti, the medical term for mummy tummy, because many women unknowingly do wrong exercises, like planks and sit-ups, further WORSENING their split tummy muscles.
Read more: Eat for Your Body Type. Here’s How
The Core Problem
Diastasis of the Recti Abdominis Muscle (DRAM) refers to the separation of the six-pack tummy muscles down the centre and it occurs in all women as the baby grows during pregnancy. The good news is it does improve after delivery. The bad news is that it springs back only partially after pregnancy and mummies complain that their waistline is not as tapered as before, even though they are back to their pre-pregnancy weight.
Mother of two, Dr. Chia Hui Ling, Consultant Plastic Surgeon explains why an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck surgery is the solution many mummies are looking for. “My unique “multi-tasking” abdominoplasty technique repairs the diastasis, removes excess skin, tightens the core muscles, contours the tummy, defines the waistline, beautifies the umbilicus and removes excess fat using liposuction.” She added that the surgery does leave a scar. The larger the bulge and skin excess, the longer the scar. A short scar mini-abdominoplasty is suitable for women with less tummy changes, where the diastasis is repaired endoscopically. “Because I conceal the scar by placing it very low below the bikini line and start scar therapy early,” she added, “many women who were afraid of the scar initially found the final scar appearance acceptable.”
Dr Chia sees have many ladies with stubborn pockets of fat that are exercise-resistant, especially the flanks and the lower belly. LipoSculpt uses Vaser ultrasound technology which melts and gently removes the fat with less downtime and discomfort than traditional methods. Another key benefit of LipoSculpt is its skin tightening effects of the overlying skin, ensuring that your final results are beautiful and defined.
Read more: These exercises torch some serious calories
Non-Surgical Tummy Contouring
Afraid of going under the knife? Dr Michelle Lim, Aesthetic Consultant from SW1 Clinic, a lean and stunning mother of two, reassures that there are non-surgical options for contouring the tummy. “Coolshape uses cutting edge technology to reduce fat by cryolipolysis over a few sessions and is ideal for stubborn areas such as love handles and muffin tops.” Dr Lim added that radiofrequency energy, or RF, which powers popular skin tightening devices like Thermage, are effective for wrinkly abdominal skin. Profound Body uses fine microneedles to deliver RF energy more directly and effectively into problem areas and is best for smoothening out the abdominal skin.