Why Does Your Post Partum Abdomen Feel "Loose"?

March 3, 2011: Authored by: Alpha Health Asia Staff

Your body spent 9 months changing to accommodate the growing fetus, in the last trimester your abdomen was in a completely altered state, both stretched and expanded. How much was your abdomen altered? The rectus abdominus muscles can be stretched and altered by as much as 50 percent from their pre-pregnancy state.

The abdomen and pelvic floor are the basis for our strength and balance. After months in an altered state, your abdomen will need time to recover, the stretched muscles will feel “loose”, strength and balance in the abdominal area can be in a reduced condition for 6-8 weeks post partum.

Why is the abdomen loosened during pregnancy, and how? The abdomen muscles are loosened during pregnancy as the fetus grows and the uterus expands, hormones including estrogen, relaxin and progesterone are released to allow the abdominal muscles to relax and expand. Abdominal Separation (also called Diastasis Recti) and Abdominal Wall Expansion are two common terms used to describe the abdominal area in the changed state during pregnancy.

The abdominal muscles take time to strengthen and recover, many times it can take up to six months for full pre-pregnancy strength to return to the abdominal region. During the healing the “loose” feeling is the most common description and complaint.

Other conditions that can impact the healing of the abdominal area include any damage to the pelvic floor that occurred during pregnancy or childbirth and the abdominal muscles not retuning to their pre-pregnancy position (Diastatis Recti).

In the event of a Cesarean section, the Cesarean section incision will be sore, post partum activities limited and care must be taken during healing to reduce stress on the incision. Your abdominal region will be loose while the area at and around the incision is sore.

It is vital that abdominal muscles return to their pre-pregnancy position and strength in order to protect vital organs, regain necessary abdominal strength, balance and support for your torso and body. The recovery and healing is a gradual process, but there are a number of healing products and exercises that can assist you in dealing with the loose feeling of the abdomen and in making a full recovery.

About the Author