As much as my inner feminist wants to protest this concept, at the end of the day I do think "mom butt" is a real thing.
According to google, mom butt is a butt that is "larger, saggier, or flatter than before."
But it's not necessarily the aesthetics I'm worried about when it comes to mom butt.
The underlying cause for mom butt postpartum is a lack of glute max activation during pregnancy.
What Happens To The Glutes
During pregnancy the pelvis widens considerably to make room for baby and to prepare for birth. This changes the length-tension relationship of our largest hip extensor muscle, gluteus maximus.
A healthy glute max provides your butt with a firm and shaped appearance. Without it, we get a much flatter look, often with a heart shape at the bottom where we are wayyyy over clenching the pelvic floor!
Why It Matters
Although many women will undergo this transformation during pregnancy without any pelvic pain or pelvic floor dysfunction showing up, a lack of glute max will certainly create increased strain on other muscles.
For example, I often see the pelvic floor attempting to stabilize. This is problematic because it can affect bowel movements and ultimately your ability to relax the pelvic floor to allow for birth.
You might also experience proximal hamstring tendonitis, inner thigh tension or pain, hip flexor over activity, and/or low back pain when your glutes are not online.
If you don't notice much in the way of discomfort but you DO notice a new pancake butt postpartum, you definitely want to address it because without proper rehabilitation, you will develop issues overtime.
Can We Prevent It?
Yes, but it takes a LOT of work! We need to be working daily to keep our glutes active and healthy.
You may be wondering, if pregnancy is such a natural event, why does everyone seem to get mom butt?
This probably was not as much of an issue for our ancestors as they were moving the majority of our day...
But for us modern-day pregnant mamas, we will have to make a concerted effort to keep active and perform high-quality glute activation exercises to keep those glutes online.
But the reward for this effort is an easier pregnancy physically and less rehabilitation work to do postpartum!
I think mom butt is pretty real if it goes unaddressed during pregnancy. I had it, and most of my clients that walk in the door have it.
But fear not, you CAN avoid if intentional and aware. It's worth it to work on keeping glute max on through pregnancy to help stabilize your pelvis and create an easier recovery.
Healthy glutes will also help you keep your pelvic floor healthy.
But if you're like me and didn't even notice your mom butt was developing, fear not. There is plenty you can do postpartum to restore your booty!