Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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Gaining weight while expecting was the easy part. Now that your baby has arrived—and you’ve finally gotten used to the endless diaper changes and lack of sleep—it’s time to tackle the remaining baby weight. If you’re not sure how to begin, here are seven steps and four of the most effective abdominal moves for working your way back to your prepregnancy body.
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.
My babysitter, Sonya, loves junk food just as much as I do. Which is why I was surprised to see her walk in my door this afternoon clutching a tub of fruit salad for her lunch. I was busy making myself a plate of cheese-laden nachos, and as I assessed her much-healthier dietary choice, I have to admit, I felt a little betrayed. My jaw must have dropped, because she started making excuses immediately.
"I'm trying to lose my belly," she explained. "LL Cool J says you should shop on the edges of the grocery store, because all the processed junk is in the middle."
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.
Your body is recovering from childbirth and needs a steady supply of vitamins and minerals to heal. What’s more, with a new baby in the house, you’re undoubtedly fatigued, and you need healthful foods to refuel your body. And if you’re breastfeeding, your baby is relying on you for crucial nutrients.
The eating patterns you set in the first six months after having a baby can help you lay a foundation of healthful eating for the rest of your life, says Eileen Behan, R.D., a dietitian in Portsmouth, N.H., who specializes in weight management for individuals and families.
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.
Name a movie star, model or neighbor who looks fantastic and who is also a new mom. Got someone in mind? Well, there you have it: proof-positive that getting back in shape after having a baby is possible. With a little healthy know-how, there’s no physical reason why you can’t have a great postpartum body — even a flat belly. In this special section, we’ll give you a progressive workout to get your body, especially your abdominal muscles, looking better than ever. We’ll also provide tips on changing your eating habits to meet your postpartum weight goals.
If you've had a Cesarean section, wait eight weeks or until the incision has healed. But always check with your doctor before you start this or any new exercise program. Begin with one move; once you can complete 15 reps, add a second move, finally progressing to three moves, 15 reps each.
Progress report at 10 months
Starting weight: 165 lbs.
current weight: 153 lbs.
Yesterday, Truman, now 18 months, had one of those days: He just wouldn't eat anything. Believe me, I tried. I started the day offering him a banana, raisins, a slab of whole-grain toast with almond butter and apricot preserves—no, no, no. Having failed that, then fresh sliced strawberries with yogurt and honey. Uh-uh. Multigrain toaster waffles? Forget it.