I care very deeply about helping mums regain their figures after delivery. For me, that includes understanding human anatomy and how the pelvic structure changes during pregnancy. During gestation, the hormone relaxin is produced by the ovaries and placenta, and helps the body prepare for childbirth by relaxing the pelvic ligaments and softening and widening the cervix. I have learned that it is possible to shrink it back up using binding techniques (more passionately called tummy wrap or abdominal binding in South East Asia) by leveraging the relaxin, which is still present in the body two months post-delivery.
While I understand that it is natural for a woman’s hips to widen during pregnancy and delivery, I have also observed that women who did not have a child also experienced widening hips as they aged. This plagued me for some time until I read this article.
A study lead by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found evidence that, even though you no longer grow any taller during adulthood, your pelvis does continue to widen between the ages of twenty and seventy-nine years. By the age of twenty, most people have reached skeletal maturity and until recently it was assumed that any further skeletal growth had stopped by then.
However, results of the study suggested that the pelvis continues to increase in width after skeletal maturity and cessation of longitudinal growth.
Of course, it is common that people find themselves wider at age forty or sixty than they were in their twenties. We are used to women’s hips ‘spreading’ with age, which had been previously been assumed was linked to weight gain over time. Surprisingly, the researchers found that the pelvis can experience up to a one-inch increase in diameter, which can translate into three inches of increased waistline.
In the above illustration, a twenty-year-old’s pelvis is represented in pink, and a seventy-nine-year-old’s pelvis in black, showing an approximate difference of one inch in width. Image created by Laurence Dahners, MD.
It’s good to know that if we don’t fit into our twenty-year-old jeans when we’re in our forties, it may not be our appetite or overindulgence to blame, but instead our pelvic bones have grown naturally.
Karen Loke – Founder and Practitioner, Restoring Mums