Rebecca Adlington has opened up about how her body has changed since giving birth, revealing she’s very proud of her stretch marks.
The 28-year-old Olympic swimmer, who is mum to Summer, two, with her former partner Harry Needs, said she didn’t feel pressure to get back into shape.
“Things like bigger hips, a flabbier tummy and more stretch marks are seen as negative, but I’m proud of my stretch marks as it means I’ve had a full, healthy pregnancy,” Adlington told HuffPost UK.
“I’ve accepted my body changes and hopefully my daughter sees her mother being a happy, healthy role model to her.”
Adlington continued: “The first few months after having Summer I honestly didn’t think about my post-baby body.
“My life had just completely changed so I had no time to think about anything else. I personally didn’t feel [the pressure] to get back in shape.
“I never felt pressure from anyone but after a couple of months I was ready to take back control of my body.”
Aside from the pressure some mums face about getting their “pre-baby body” back, some experience other bodily changes after giving birth, such as postpartum hair loss, swollen breasts or even back pain.
One of the changes Adlington experienced was bladder weakness.
“Although I knew it was fairly common I was really shocked to hear that one in three women suffer from it in the UK, it’s a much bigger number than I imagined,” she said.
Adlington added: “As a new mum, you have a huge amount to deal with and adjust to, and bladder weakness is one of the things that I think can most impact your confidence.
“I was determined not to let it affect me and my day-to-day life, so I spoke to friends and trainers to see what they advised and found there are solutions out there.
“Women tend to suffer in silence, which is such a shame when there are really effective things they can try, like Innovotherapy.”
Adlington is currently a spokesperson for Innovo, which is a device that aims to tone a woman’s pelvic muscles to prevent bladder weakness. It is a two-part garment worn on the upper thighs and buttocks connected to a handheld controller, which sends targeted impulses to activate all the muscles of the pelvic floor.
Adlington said women who feel negative about the changes that have happened to their body should not keep it to themselves.
“All new mums suffer from lack of confidence in one way or another, and we need to support one another and help each other to find solutions,” she said.
“Speak to someone and find a solution for you no matter what the issue.”
Adlington still likes to work out to ensure her body is healthy and tries to fit it in around her busy schedule.
“Once I’d settled more into life as a mum, I wanted to get my body back and be in better shape again,” she said.
“Summer is two now and attends nursery a couple of days a week so it has got a lot easier. I started with a PT again this year so I’ve created a routine and schedule to ensure I go and stick to it.
“When Summer is around, I try and fit in a little 20 minute HIIT session when I can (it’s all you need!) – I think it’s important she sees me being active and healthy and she even joins in sometimes.
“I also try and get out into the garden on my little trampoline which is a lot of fun and gets your heart rate up.”
Olympian Rebecca Adlington helped Innovo (restorethefloor.com) to break a Guinness World Record™ title for the most people bouncing on trampolines in one location to raise awareness of bladder weakness and the solution Innovo provides.