Post-Baby Pregnancy Pooch? How To Get Rid of Post-Pregnancy Belly Fat
Are you one of those women who carries a post-baby pregnancy pooch - years after giving birth? You’ve lost the weight gained during a pregnancy, but now carry a permanent baby bump that has people constantly asking when you are due? As it turns out, there is a medical reason for your baby bump Dr. Oz tells viewers as he explains how it happens and what you can do about it.
“We are not talking about people who cannot lose the baby weight. I’m talking about the folks who have lost the baby weight and still feel like that they’ve got a little bump going on down there,” says Dr. Oz who brings “Denise” a mother of a 17-year-old onstage. Denise tells Dr. Oz that her belly problem is that people look at her and ask her when she is due because she has a permanent baby bump that followed the birth of her 17-year-old.
Dr. Oz tells viewers that you can test yourself for a pregnancy pooch by lying flat on your back and placing your fingertips above and below your belly button while tensing your body.
“People can do this at home,” says Dr. Oz. “People who lie on their backs can put their fingers on the space above their belly button or right below their belly button. You push in there and bear down like you are having a bowel movement, and you’ll actually feel a little bulge there—that’s what comprises the pregnancy pooch.”
Dr. Oz explains to viewers that the medical term for having a pregnancy pooch is “Diastasis recti”—a condition where the two halves of the rectus abdominis (your 6-pack muscles) are stretched apart during a pregnancy that often will not bounce back to their original pre-pregnancy condition.
While stretching of the rectus abdominis is a natural and normal function that aids a woman during her pregnancy, it can lead to serious health consequences such as making delivery during additional pregnancies difficult and can cause back pain problems because it weakens the support of the back.
Dr. Oz tells viewers that the biggest mistake women make in trying to get rid of their pregnancy pooch is that they start doing abdominal exercises like sit-ups and crunches that only worsen the pregnancy pooch problem. The reason for this is because the 6-pack muscles become stimulated from the exercise and then bulges out the overlying tummy.
“The problem with a lot of those poses is that…you actually bulge the muscles apart,” says Dr. Oz.
The solution Dr. Oz offers to women is that rather than building up the 6-pack muscles, they should be strengthening their deepest abdominal muscles called the “transverse abdominis” that lie below the 6-pack muscles.
To do this, Dr. Oz shows one exercise called “The Split Ab Towel Move” where you lie down on the floor on your back with a towel folded lengthwise and placed under the shoulder blades just below the arms. You then reach crosswise with both arms under the breasts and above the stomach, and grab the ends of the towel—a crisscross hug type of position. Next, you will then bend your legs at the knees and then use your abdominal muscles to pull your navel in while lifting only your head and neck and look toward your knees.
“You are going to do this 20 times in a row and you are going to repeat it 3 times daily,” says Dr. Oz. “As you do this you will feel your transverse abdominis muscle—the deep muscle under your rib cage―tighten up.”
By strengthening the muscles below your 6-pack, you should eventually see that pregnancy pooch become less pronounced while at the same time enjoy the benefits of having a strong core.