Ask An Expert: Tommy, I Want A Toned Tummy After Having A Baby! Please Help!
Q: I have two children and one is only 4 months old. I have a super healthy diet based on eating every 3 hours. The foods I eat include: Chicken, turkey, tofu, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, very little whole wheat bread, vegetables, almond milk, almonds, eggs, fruits in a morning, etc. I have gained about 45lbs while pregnant each time and I lose it fairly quickly. After the second baby was born I was 175lb , now 4 months went by and I am at 149lb. I do cardio walking, yoga, zumba, medicine ball routine and a weight routine. I try to work out at least 3 times a week in the morning before i eat to burn fat. My concern is my waist is shrinking im at about 28 inches but i want to make sure its tight. I'm almost 5'7 and i am still breastfeeding. I would like to know what is the best exercice routine to get my tummy toned? Thank You! ~ Karolina
Hello Karolina, thank you for a great and timely question. Congratulations on birth of your latest, at that age it is quite the adjustment. I know all too well as I’ve just entered “parent land” myself with a 4 month old daughter. It is awesome that you are breastfeeding as that is also one of the easiest ways that you can lose weight. Everything that you are doing is great, you have a lot of variety in your workouts and exercises, and your diet look “iron tight”. Now, my question for you would be… How difficult was your last pregnancy? Were there any complications? I ask this because I have recently had the opportunity to work with a few women who suffered from Diastasis Rectus Abdominis.
It is defined in Wikipedia as:
Diastasis recti (also known as abdominal separation) is a disorder defined as a separation of the rectus abdominis muscle into right and left halves.  Normally, the two sides of the muscle are joined at the linea alba at the body midline. In pregnant or postpartum women, the defect is caused by the stretching of the rectus abdominis by the growing uterus. It is more common in multiparous women due to repeated episodes of stretching. When the defect occurs during pregnancy, the uterus can sometimes be seen bulging through the abdominal wall beneath the skin. A diastasis recti may appears as a ridge running down the midline of the abdomen, anywhere from the xiphoid process to the umbilicus. It becomes more prominent with straining and may disappear when the abdominal muscles are relaxed. The medial borders of the right and left halves of the muscle may be palpated during contraction of the rectus abdominis.  The condition can be diagnosed by physical exam, and a ventral hernia may be ruled out using ultrasound.
For those of you who don’t have kids yet here’s the real deal: What tends to happen to some women who return their fitness routines post pregnancy is that they will lose the baby weight pretty quickly. Now to the good stuff, while their stomachs will contract back to the regular size, their bellies may remain really soft, leaving no trace of a hard stomach or abdominals at all.
It is very important for post pregnancy women to really focus on the core. You will have to introduce some core exercises to gradually harden and tone your abdomen, and if you are having problems with this I would suggest seeing a physiotherapist who specializes in post pregnancy pelvic issues. If this has happened to you I can understand your frustration, you will basically have to retrain yourself so that your TA’s (transverse abdominals) turn on and stabilize when they should.
You should be doing a variety of exercises such as the plank, side plank, reverse crunches, leg lifts, etc. If you combine those exercises with your cardio routine, Zumba, and medicine ball routine, you will be well on your way to a “hard again” stomach.
Play safe and have fun,
Written by: Tommy Europe, host of The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp and Bulging Brides
For more information, check out http://www.tommyeurope.tv/
Check out previous health related Ask An Expert blogs written by Tommy Europe!
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