Why Your Post-Pregnancy Belly Isn't Going Away - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Why Your Post-Pregnancy Belly Isn't Going Away

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    NEWSLETTERS

    How to Fix the Mom "Pooch"

    For many women getting a flat tummy after giving birth seems impossible because of a medical condition they may not know they have. Diastisis recti is the most common cause of what some call the mom "pooch." (Published Friday, Oct. 12, 2018)

    For new moms, getting back to your pre-pregnancy body becomes a top priority, but for an estimated 60 percent of postpartum women, getting a flat tummy is impossible because of a medical condition they may not know they have.

    It's called diastasis recti, a medical condition created when the abdominal muscles become separated, creating a gap between the rectus abdominis muscles.

    During pregnancy, abdominal wall muscles get stretched due to the physical growth and pressure of the baby inside the pelvis.

    This loosens the connective tissues and the space between the right and left abdominal muscles, which normally hold the tummy in, is left much wider than it should be.

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    "Any woman whose been pregnant, the odds are good that she has experienced some degree of this condition and it tends to get worse with each subsequent pregnancy," said Leah Keller, personal trainer and founder of Every Mother, an online resource for pre and postnatal fitness exercise programs.

    As a mom of two, Sarah Bowlby knows what pregnancy can do to a woman's body, but it wasn't until after baby number two when she realized the real toll it took on her once flat tummy.

    "I didn't experience it personally until after my second pregnancy and I just kind of thought I'll bounce back like I did the first time, and I didn't," said Bowlby. "Low back pain, just felt weak around my core, I was always feeling bad in my back. I would pick the baby up and I would just never feel strong."

    Keller, whose 8 months pregnant herself, says discovering if you have the problem is as easy as a self check.

    While on your back, lift your head and neck slightly and use your fingers to press down above and below your belly button.

    If one or more of your fingers fit into the gap between your muscles, Keller says it's likely diastasis recti, however, there are exercises to correct it.
    Keller says specific core exercises 10 minutes a day can solve the problem.

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    "The connective tissues will come back together, the muscles improve in tone, the pooch goes away, the waistline shrinks," she said.

    "I had lost three inches off my waist in a week so that was really a happy surprise. I couldn't believe that it was actually going to happen," said Bowlby.

    Diastasis recti can happen to people who are overweight or those who don’t exercise in the right way, but women who give birth are often most affected.

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