How to get your pre-preggy body back – with Denise Louw

Today’s blog post is a follow on post from an article I wrote a few months back – How to make peace with your post-baby jelly belly. I asked Denise Louw from Core Restore a few questions to help us all learn more about our post-preggy bellies!

1. Is it really possible to get our pre-preggy bodies back or should we rather be focusing on accepting our new mommy bodies?

Absolutely YES! It is possible to get your pre-preggy body back. All you need is the knowledge and understanding of the changes that took place during your pregnancy and how to restore and reconnect to achieve a flatter stomach. With a little extra work… who knows your body may even be BETTER than before baby!

2. Tell us a little about Diastasis Recti?

Such a funny word, and unless you have a really switched on gynae or midwife, you may not even know that you have it at all. In the UK you are checked for diastasis recti on discharge from the hospital and given guidelines on how to correct it, but this isn’t my experience here in South Africa.

The symptoms are often lower back pain and general aches and pains plus a “mummy tummy” that despite your best efforts at the gym, will just not get flatter, which makes a new Mom feel very depressed and fed up with herself and the way she looks. It is simply a gap in the connective tissue in the midline of the stomach, between the 2 borders of the rectus abdominis muscles that had to stretch to accommodate a growing baby, helped along by the hormone Relaxin.

About one third of first time moms will get this and two thirds will experience it with subsequent pregnancies. Inappropriate exercises during pregnancy could also make it worse. The good news is that it CAN be healed and closed with the right programme of exercises.

3. What impact does nutrition have?

Nutrition is important on so many levels. A new Mom will be feeling very tired especially with breast/bottle feeding and sleepness nights and an inadequate diet will leave her more tired and drained. The post natal period is a time of inflammation, so the body will need to rejuvenate and heal. The diet needs to include plenty of calcium, protein, iron, zinc and vitamins A, C, and E. Hydration is vital for healing so Moms need to drink plenty of water as well as making sure to eat regularly.

4. What would you say are the 3 most effective exercises that would help us get our post-baby bodies back into shape?

This is quite a tricky question as most people would expect me to name familiar sounding exercises. I now know that the first step is to release the body of all the tension that has accumulated during the pregnancy before you can start to reconnect and restore the core, which is the foundation of building a stronger body.

The second step is to learn to breathe properly again, as due to the pushing of the growing uterus against the diaphragm, Moms forget how to breathe correctly, which impacts on energy levels, as well as posture and alignment.

Lastly start TVA (transverse abdominis) activation by learning how to work this muscle using your breathing, this will help to get the stomach flatter, combined with pelvic tilts.

If any moms are interested to learn more about this holistic healing process, I’ve come up with a programme specifically catering for this issue, which they can read more about on my website.

5. Any advice for first time pregnant Moms?

Take time to learn about what is happening to your body as your baby develops. Avoid any exercises that place too much strain onto the midline and not too much prolonged stretching. Be careful of exercises when lying on your back as well as rotational movements.

Thanks Denise! If you think you may be suffering with Diastasis Recti, Denise has a lovely video below showing you how you can check your tummy in the comfort of your own home.

Visit www.core-restore.co.za for more info.

Shannon McLaughlin

About Shannon McLaughlin

Shannon is a Mama to 4 year old Leo, who is the inspiration behind her baby carrier business, Ubuntu Baba. She is passionate about helping new Moms adjust to 'life with baby' through the art of babywearing and talking about the reality of motherhood in the 21st century.

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