Hi Hayley,

I'm 9 months postpartum with my second baby. I'm pretty much down to my pre-pregnancy weight but as most women say, things just aren't fitting the same. I feel this much more now that the first time around. I carried my second baby much higher and I feel so much wider in my ribcage. Dresses I've had in my closet are hard to zip up once they hit that part of my body. Is there anything I can do? Because my ribs are obviously bones are they just stuck where they are now or are there some breathing and/or strength training I can do to get my hourglass figure back? I've looked online but there seems to be a lot of confusion on this subject. Any feedback would be so helpful.

Thanks so much.


Your body has birthed 2 beautiful babies but you are now carrying weight (your kids) throughout the day, and without even realizing it you are building a lot of strength and muscle in your upper body. You are also spending much of your day bending over and getting yourself down to the level of your children which can be contributing to the change of shape in your body as well as how your body is carrying itself. 

The good news is that there are things you can do to help get yourself back to a body that you feel comfortable in. Learning how to diaphragmatic breathe is important because if you want to retrain your core it must start with the breath. Learning how to re-engage your external obliques is also key as creating this muscular connection can help to support and reshape your ribcage. You must also focus on stretching the muscles of your low and mid back as well as your leg muscles that attach to your pelvis (hip flexors, hamstrings, quadriceps, and adductors). When these muscles become tight they can affect your posture, and could affect the shape of your body. Tight back muscles pull you into extension, which can push your ribs out and make them seem wider. Tight hamstrings and hip flexors will pull your pelvis anteriorly (forward) or posteriorly (back) which can also attribute to how you hold your upper body. Finding length in these muscles as well as functional strength in your core can give your body the support it needs to hold its skeleton and hopefully fix your posture. 

This isn't easy though, and takes a lot of focus and dedication as well as time. What I suggest you do is invest in some private Pilates sessions with an instructor who is trained in post-natal care. I am about to become certified after two long years of intense training and studying, so I promise you'll be in good hands. Pilates is not cheap, but it'll be worth it. Go once a week for 2 to 3 months, supplementing the workouts with your own mat Pilates and strength workouts at home as well as weekly yoga classes. Once you have competed the private sessions then you can go into group classes, which are much more cost effective, but you really need to completely understand Pilates before you join a class.

You can also try bar fitness classes. Class sizes will be a bit larger so you may not have the instructor attention that you need, but they are an option.

Our bodies change and will continue to change as we have different experiences throughout our lives. We will never be perfect, nor should we expect to be, but we can always strive for whatever our best is in whatever stage of life we are in.

Keep sending your smutty fitness questions to me here!!