A friend mentioned the “muffin top look”. What is it?
The “muffin top look” is a term introduced by Australian comedians Kath and Kim. While it occurs unrelated to post pregnancy, it is most prevalent in women who have had a baby. It is the look when a woman wears especially low-rise/hip-hugger pants and jeans that makes her loose abdominal wall tissues (“her flab”) spill out over the waistband, just like the top of a muffin sits over the edge of the paper case.
In every pregnancy, there is stretching of the abdominal wall including skin and abdominal muscles. This is more so with a large baby and with multiple pregnancies. All women will have a loose abdominal wall immediately after childbirth. How quickly and indeed whether at all they go back to their pre-pregnancy shape depends on factors such as the natural elasticity of her tissues, how well toned she is, her build and the amount of adipose tissue (“fat”) in the abdominal wall. Developing the muffin top look postnatally is a risk all woman take when they become pregnant.
What can be done?
- Try to get trim and tone up your abdominal wall muscles pre-pregnancy.
- Try to limit your weight gain in pregnancy by being careful with your diet and exercising as appropriate.
- After you have had your baby continue to pay attention to your diet and particularly try to reduce the amount of adipose tissue in your abdominal wall.
- After you have had your baby start walking regularly. Especially to do this while pushing your baby in a pram with brisk walking. While you are pushing your pram with brisk walking you are tightening up the abdominal wall muscles. Consider enrolling in an exercise programme or getting the help of a personal trainer with a particular focus on strengthening your abdominal wall muscles.
- Try to avoid wearing low-rise pants and jeans and mid-riff tops.
- But while you can lose weight and tone up your abdomen muscles, this will not help overstretched skin with poor elasticity and which won’t return to its pre-pregnancy condition. The only help is appropriate abdominal wall reduction surgery (abdominoplasty or a “tummy tuck” operation) by an appropriate plastic surgeon. I suggest you don’t get this done until your family is complete because another pregnancy could have a negative impact on a good surgical result.