Regaining hourglass figure after birth
January 23, 2007 8:55 AM   Subscribe

My wife recently had a baby and is looking for tips on how to regain her hourglass figure - specifically, how to put back the ribs the baby moved for comfort.

Her shape is/was traditionally hourglass, about 5'8' and 140 lbs. Small in the waist, bigger in the hips and chest. About 7 months into the pregnancy she felt the baby wedge tightly on one side and a rib pop out slightly [later confirmed by the doctor]. Now that the baby is out she's looking for ways to regain her waistline - losing the weight isn't an issue, but once the weight is off she'd like to be closer to her original shape.
posted by true to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps a chiropractor could help? Mine has been working on some misaligned rib issues I have and it's helped considerably.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:20 AM on January 23, 2007

I don't have any experience with dislocated ribs, but I now weigh about 10lbs less than before I got pregnant (5'5", 130) and still have what I call "haunches" and the oft-referred-to "pooch" in front. Most women I've talked to don't seem to be able to get back the same shape, even though they have taken the weight off. I know some women must be able to (Heidi Klum springs to mind), but part of the process of pregnancy and birth is a structural shifting of the skeleton.

If she's going to go for it, I suggest a lot of weight training and something like yoga or pilates, with a lot of focus on lateral moves. This will help define muscles, which in turn define shape. Good luck (and congrats!).
posted by cocoagirl at 9:45 AM on January 23, 2007

Thank you for this extremely interesting question. I have been wondering for years what good all those floating ribs are, but the thought they could be the way they are to accomodate pregnancy
had never previously crossed my mind. It's interesting to note that there is considerable genetically determined variation in their number, and that males typically have bigger ones.

According to the linked Wikipedia article:

Their position can be permanently altered by a form of body modification called tightlacing, which uses a corset to compress and move the ribs.
posted by jamjam at 9:49 AM on January 23, 2007

Time is probably the only thing that's going to do it.
posted by padraigin at 10:39 AM on January 23, 2007

Do you belong to a gym? If you can afford it, a personal trainer (particularly if they have any experience with post-baby-bodies) would be how the model-people do it.
posted by desuetude at 10:51 AM on January 23, 2007

(Because personal trainer sessions are so expensive), if money is something of an object, she could join/go to a gym, pay for some sessions with a personal trainer (and explain exactly what she's trying to achieve), and supplement those sessions by subscribing to some of the women's fitness magazines that give tons of tips for getting into shape. Examples include Women's Health (my favorite), Fitness (also good), Shape, and Self. I've found good prices by buying one magazine, and then sending in the little, ubiquitous sign-up cards. She can also watch how trainers teach others at the gym (but shouldn't learn from watching others doing their workouts on their own - very likely to be using bad form.)

Breastfeeding also helps women regain their pre-pregnancy figure to some extent - burns lots of calories and releases hormones that help the uterus shrink.

And don't let her get too down if she compares herself to all these celebrity moms who get skinny incredibly quickly. For one thing, they have time, personal trainers, and great metabolisms for the most part. I also think some of them are using speed-like products. Just a hunch. Apparently it's healthy to lose average baby weight in 8 - 12 months.
posted by Amizu at 11:21 AM on January 23, 2007

I suggest a course of progressively tighter corsets. If she wears it religiously, and tightly, she will achieve a permanent readjustment of her ribcage.

In fact, people use corsetry to reduce their (uncorsetted) waist measurement down to single-digit figures.

For initial information (although not a lot), go here.
posted by Netzapper at 11:31 AM on January 23, 2007

For a healthier alternative to corseting, try Bellydance. With it's isometric movements, it really alters core shape, and it feels wonderful!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:41 AM on January 23, 2007

Netzapper writes "For initial information (although not a lot), go here."

FYI, that link has some NSFW images.
posted by chiababe at 12:41 PM on January 23, 2007

Corsety is probably the only way to move the ribs back, but the weight probably needs to come off first. An appropriate corset for this purpose will probably be a bit tough to find, the delicate ones they have at Victoria's Secret aren't going to do it.

Tightlacing isn't really what she wants to do, but she will be using the same techniques used by tightlacers. Expect to spend $300 or more having a custom corset made, preferably by a local, experienced corsetmaker who can have her in for a fitting or two while it is being made.

In my local area, there is a custom corseter who sells some of her work through a small high end lingerie shop, so that might be a way to find someone to make the corset. It is also possible to make one yourself if you are a fairly advanced sewer and patternmaker, but since she will be trying to alter her shape it might be best to go with the most experienced person she can find.

On preview -- since she needs to lose the weight first before having the corset made anyhow, and it sounds like the rib has only moved a small amount, go with an enjoyable form of exercise that tends to improve body image (my fave would be bellydance with a good teacher, but this is highly individual). She might decide it looks just fine. Of course you, as her husband, should refrain from making any negative comments about how the rib still sticks out.
posted by yohko at 2:03 PM on January 23, 2007

Oh, here's (NSFW? no nudity though I wouldn't want my boss to catch me reading about ladies' lingerie at work) a link to general information on corsetry (not tightlacing specifically).

BTW, a friend who makes her own corsets has plans to use corsetry to get her old rib shape back post-baby, for what that's worth. She seems to find her corsets much comfier than bras.
posted by yohko at 2:22 PM on January 23, 2007

I hate to be nasty here, but your wife didn't recently have a baby, she had YOUR baby, there's almost a distancing element in the way you describe this that makes me uncomfortable. Even if you ae not the biological father, this is YOUR joint baby.
1. She will never get back the original shape, BUT she may get back the rough proportions with proper corsetry.
As has been pointed out above, it's a bit more than Victoria's Secret, progresseive corsetry will help. Take a look at this thread
posted by Wilder at 5:03 PM on January 23, 2007

For the good of her bones, I would suggest she see a chiropractor first, then perhaps proceed with corsets if she wants to go for a dramatic hourglass. Chiropractors are trained to adjust your vertebrae, ribs and many other joints. If she has health insurance a good chiropractor can be very cheap.
posted by bobobox at 6:05 PM on January 23, 2007

3 years ago, I had an accident that broke several bones in my back, shoulder and ribs. They healed but I always had problems. I looked into how to solve this and had great success with something called Bowens Therapy. Its seems, to me anyways, a cross between chiropractics and massage therapy. Anyway, I had 3 ribs out of place and my therapist was able to solve the issue in a couple of sessions. See if there is a therapist that does this in your neck of the woods.

A linky for you
posted by Country Dick Montana at 11:26 AM on January 29, 2007

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