After you have a baby and are ready to take your body back one of the most difficult things to work on is the mommy pooch and healing your postpartum core.
It seems like weight falls off every where except the belly. In reality, this is one of the last areas that you will see changes in when you trying to lose the baby weight.
The harsh reality is that our core will never be the same after carrying our babies. I have had three babies now and with each one my body has changed. With each pregnancy and postpartum it has held on to the reminders of the power and miracle my body achieved to produce life.
The skin on my stomach has become loose and protrudes more with each baby. My abs are softer and more rounded than chiseled. No matter how much I “suck it in” I will never have the abs that I had pre-baby.
That doesn’t mean I will look pregnant or have “the mom pooch” forever. If I want my belly to shrink down I have to heal my postpartum core FIRST!
Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT has developed a course, Postpartum Ab Rehab, that is designed to walk you through each step of healing your core and getting your body back after baby!
She is a doctor of physical therapy and a mom of 4. She know exactly what it takes to get you back into shape after pregnancy!
Why is it SO HARD to get rid of the mommy pooch?
During pregnancy as the uterus grow it puts pressure on the two long vertical muscles (rectus abdominus) that run from right under your chest to your pubic bone.
Along with hormonal changes that make connective tissue looser so your body can accommodate a growing baby, this causes an abnormal separation in the muscles.
This is the reason that months after your are carrying your baby on your hip people may ask when you are due. SO RUDE BTW!!
Most all women experience some degree of diastasis recti after delivery. This is the number one complaint among women and their postpartum bodies!
There is good news! With these tips and a little patience you can heal your postpartum core.
Related Content: My Postpartum Fitness Journey.
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The views on this website are personal opinions only and do not represent the opinions or policies of any provider or institution that I am affiliated with. I am not giving medical advice. Information on this website is not intended to diagnose, or treat any form of any disease. This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only. I am only telling you what my experiences are. ALWAYS refer to your own provider when making medical decisions for yourself and your baby.
1. DON’T GO BACK TO YOUR OLD GYM ROUTINE.
I thought all I needed to do to get rid of the mommy pooch was just hit the gym HARD and cut those calories.
Not only is that a good way to loose your milk supply if you are nursing but you are probably doing more harm than good.
There are certain exercises that cause increased abdominal pressure, therefore increasing diastasis recti,making the problem worse.
- Crunches or sit-ups
- Bicycle crunches
- Leg raises
- Hanging leg tucks
- V- ups
This is not a comprehensive list to be sure but these are the types of exercises to avoid when healing your postpartum core.
This were the first workouts I did to get a flat belly again after my first baby. I didn’t know they were causing more of the problem I was trying to eliminate!
Invest in a Postpartum Recovery Program.
After the birth of my third baby I knew I was going to need help retraining my core. All of my babies were over 8 lbs and it had taken a toll on my body.
I am so glad I invested in a program that told me exactly what I needed to do, what was safe and what wasn’t.
This postpartum fitness guide is made for moms who want to heal their core and get back into shape safely after pregnancy.
This program was perfect for my first workouts post baby. There were easy to follow workout guides and postpartum core work, how to check for diastasis recti, guides for nutrition, belly wraps and c-sections.
The best part is it includes a section of what you can safely work on before the 6 week recovery period is up!
You can take this program at your own pace, there are options for traditional as well as advanced levels of recovery.
2. DIAL IN YOUR NUTRITION.
This is always the hardest for me.
Being a breastfeeding mom I have to be really careful with my nutrition postpartum and achieving the right balance to maintain my milk supply.
I have to make sure I am still consuming enough calories to make breast milk (recommended 500 per day) while not consuming to many calories to prevent fat loss.
I recommend consulting a postpartum specialist or nutritional expert to find the right range of calories for your specific situation.
Also, let’s just be honest, I like food. Like a lot. Postpartum is just dang hard anyways (up all night/leaky boobs/fussy babies) and eating is one of the ways I comfort myself (not the healthiest but come on . . . honesty people)
However in order to see abs you have to loose the belly fat. You cannot out train a bad diet. No matter how much you workout, if you are eating like crap, its going to show.
Moves by Madeline calculated my macros and helped me understand the proper nutrition to achieve my goals! She really broke down each component of nutrition and made nutrition do-able and fun!
3. PRACTICE TVA BREATHING.
You have to crawl before you can walk.
I wanted to jump right into the hard stuff. Push myself and do the things that made the biggest impact. But, this type of thinking will trip you up when it comes to healing your postpartum core.
You have to heal and strengthen your core first. Often that means practicing exercises that are very low impact and leave you thinking “Will this really make a difference?”
One of the biggest differences I can see and feel in my core strength is due to TVA breathing (belly breathing). This breathing technique teaches you how to properly engage your core.
This breathing technique can be started as soon as you feel up to it after birth.
4.THREE IMPORTANT EXERCISES TO HEAL YOUR POSTPARTUM CORE.
Start healing your core with these simple yet effective moves combined with proper core engagement can help bring your abs back together and flatten your tummy.
You can begin these moves in the first few weeks postpartum after feeling up to it. However, only begin these moves after being cleared by your physician to do so.
Start to incorporate these into your daily routine consistently and you will start to see a huge difference in core strength and healing!
5. GIVE YOURSELF TIME.
It took 9 months to grow your sweet baby and it may take that long for you to see the changes you are working so hard for.
Be patient with yourself and acknowledge any successes big or small. It is hard being a new mom, for the first time or the fourth. There are so many demands for your time and attention in the fourth trimester.
Keep the important things first. Taking care of yourself and your baby always come first. There will always be more days to work towards your postpartum body, but babies don’t keep.