The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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When you're pregnant, the payoffs for developing strong abdominal and pelvic-floor muscles are plentiful. “These muscles are a pregnant woman’s best friend,” says Julie Tupler, R.N., creator of Diastasis Rehab in New York City and author of Maternal Fitness: Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy, an Easier Labor, and a Quick Recovery (Fireside).
What Causes It?
The skin stretches with your expanding belly but may not shrink back to its prepregnancy state, explains OB-GYN Sean Daneshmand, M.D., a maternal-fetal specialist at San Diego Perinatal Center. Excessive weight gain can make it worse, as can a twin-or-more pregnancy; previous pregnancies and sun damage can contribute as well.
I guess it’s no small coincidence that I’ve chosen the day after our nation’s biggest food holiday to size up my post-baby body. And let me tell you: It’s not pretty.
The photo you see here is where I’m starting from. Five weeks ago, my belly was in the stratosphere. I wish I were brave enough to post a photo of what it looks like now. Because there really are no words.
Ask new moms which body part they’re most worried about getting back into shape after pregnancy and the answer is always the same: abs! We’re here to help. These exercises will work to strengthen and recondition your abdominals.
They’ve been adapted from Strollercize, a postnatal exercise program developed by Fit Pregnancy contributing editor Elizabeth Trindade, a personal trainer and mother of three.
For 40 long weeks, you marveled at your body’s transformation. You caressed your burgeoning belly and contemplated the new and mysterious life growing inside you. But now that your baby has arrived, you’re facing the reality of a less-than-svelte vessel. You find yourself constantly peering in the mirror and wondering if your once-flat, fabulous midsection will ever reappear.
Most of us want to get our bodies back after having a baby, particularly our abdominal muscles. You can, even from Day One, begin gentle exercises that will help you do just that. At six weeks postpartum, you can ease into a more rigorous workout (with your doctor’s OK, of course).
Keep my abdominals toned during pregnancy...why? After all, there's no way I'll have a flat belly, no matter how many exercises I do!
If that’s what you’re thinking, think again. Ab work serves a crucial purpose right now. Your abdominals provide a stable core for the rest of your body, and during pregnancy it’s critical to maintain that strong center.