Ah yes, I know all too well of the wonders of pregnancy and I also know the possible outcomes when it comes to your physique after the baby has been born. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t give up my children for anything, even if it meant never getting back my pre-baby body. Thankfully, as I have personally done, you too, can lose your post pregnancy belly with some simple diet and exercise tips.

Step one: Check for diastasis recti. This is what happens to many of us moms after carrying our baby (or babies) throughout the nine months of pregnancy. It is a separation of the abdominal wall due to the pressure from within our abdominal cavity and if not corrected, that sleek wash-board look you are dying for, will never be. Note: This can actually happen to anyone, even men!

The way you would check for this is rather simple. Lie on your back, with your knees bent. Place one hand behind your head and your other hand will be placed just above your belly button with your index and middle finger in a downward position. Slightly raise your head off the ground as you press your fingers into your belly.

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Feel for your abdominal wall and if you can fit more than those two fingers in between, it is likely a diastasis split. Naturally, if you are looking for a medical diagnosis, seek your professional.

Step two: Clean up your diet. You may have taken on the notion (even though it is not necessarily the way to eat while pregnant) that you were eating for two while carrying your little one. Remove those thoughts from your mind and take a look in your pantry and refrigerator. What exactly is in there? Toss those highly processed, sugar and transfat laden foods.

Replace those foods with healthier ones like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts and seeds. These are going to keep your body in top condition for its post-pregnancy recovery.

Step three: Schedule your workouts. Failing to plan will lead you down the wrong road so get started on the right track now and do yourself the favor of planning those workouts. Remember that although we are focused on our core, we also need to still be thinking about our bodies as a whole; so be sure to continue with your cardio and routines that target other areas of your body. 

post pregnancy belly_2

What types of exercises can be done to lose your pregnancy belly and heal a diastasis recti?

Heel slides

Lying on your back, knees bent, hands at your side. Beginning on one side, slide your foot out into a straightened positioned while keeping your heel on the floor, or at least close to the floor. Bring your foot slowly back to a flattened position beside your opposite foot and repeat on the other side. Do this for a total of 25 repetitions per foot.

Modified crunch

Lying on your back with a towel underneath your lower back. Wrap the towel around your waist and into a cross-wise direction. As you crunch up, slightly raising your shoulders off the ground and keeping your chin tucked in, pull on the towel to assist your abdominal wall inwards.

Breathing out on the exertion and keep the pelvis tucked, back flat to the floor. (Note: there are some experts who say to stay away from this exercise in the beginning, especially if your split is larger than 1 1/2-2 fingers wide).

Planks

These are great for nearly anyone. Remember to keep your belly button tucked in towards your back at all times, while still being able to breath normally.

You can shake up this move a bit by simply raising and lowering your feet off the ground, while still keeping that belly button tucked in nicely. (Diastasis recti modification: Begin your first few weeks of this exercise on your knees instead of your feet, even if you had been performing this exercise before).

Plie squats

Perform this basic move with your transverse abdominus in mind. Your bottom will move back, chest will be up, shoulders back and you will breath in as you squat down and out on the way back up, tucking your belly into your back. Repeat for a total of 15 repetitions.

What else should you be mindful of? When you are coughing, sneezing, picking up your children, and many other activities of daily living, please keep your inner core engaged. Also, when you are getting into a lying position, begin on your side, lie your head down and then you may roll over into a lying down position.

Upon getting up, once again, roll onto your side and push upwards with your hands (using your triceps muscles) to a sideways seated position, swinging feet around to a fully erected seated position. Do not go from lying down, directly into a seated position. This will only force your abdominal wall to split again, in these early stages of recovery.

Links to useful resources:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/post-natal-ab-training-fit-mommy-core-circuit.html

http://inspiredrd.com/2013/11/5-exercises-to-heal-diastasis.html

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