What I have in common with Kate Middleton & Kim K


Kate Middleton, Kim Kardashian and me all have that post-baby belly!  We all have it, and expectations set forth by the media are R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S.

Kate, what great class you have, you are a true princess.  And Kim K, I am sorry the media tore you apart, shame on them.

Your uterus shrinks about a finger’s width every day. In five to six weeks, your uterus will return to pre-pregnancy size. That means in that time it will from the size of a watermelon to the size of an orange. Pretty impressive, right? Your body is remarkably adaptable and your recovery to pre-pregnancy hormone levels, uterus size, etc. is postpartum miracle and your core muscles are just as adaptable.  Your body is a machine in the several weeks following birth.  But you do need to help that miracle along.

So what can you do?

A woman should not begin exercise until she has permission from her OB to begin exercise, which is usually during the postpartum checkup at 4 or 6 weeks postpartum.  Whether childbirth was through vaginal delivery or c-section exercise can be resumed gradually.  Although a c-section may take a little longer to recover, considering it is a major surgery.  But you can get your stomach back since c-sections do not cut through the muscles like the once did (doctors now perform bikini cut incisions).
 
While in the 4-6 week postpartum period a mom can do some inner core movements to activate her core muscles.  Moves that include the pelvic floor and transverse abdmoninis muscle, like pelvic tilts, kegels and transverse activation.  Check out some pelvic floor moves here.
 
If a mom gained the recommended amount of weight (which was set forward by the Institute of Medicine in 2009) she can get her body back by the 5/6 months mark.  At 6 weeks a mom’s body is back to “normal”, and mom is left with loose muscles and loose skin.  

Bouncing back to her former self is possible.  But mom has to be consistent in both exercise and nutrition.  A mom is asked to gain 15-35 lbs over the course of 9 months and that is a significant amount of weight to lose.  The good news is 7-8 lbs will go when the baby is born and over the course of the next 6 weeks a few more pounds.  But the rest is up to mom!  So I suggest when mom gets the green light at 6 weeks it is time to be consistent, work out at least 4x/week.  The good news is with all the new research on exercise you can burn a significant amount of calories in 20-30 minutes.  The first months should focus on re-training the core muscles, progressive workout routines (specific to the postnatal body) and making it part of the new daily life.  Then around 12 weeks mom should be able to get back to her pre-pregnancy routine.

Expectations of having your body back any time before the 6 month mark are quite unreasonable.  As moms we have a lot to juggle!

47 comments:

  1. How do you get your stomach back or can you if you have had old school c-sections? I had 4 vertical c-sections and find it very hard to get rid of the bloated belly look.

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    1. vertical c-sections can create a bigger hurdle. email me your current exercise routine and a 3 day food journal and i will guide you in the right direction with the proper core exercises! do you have diastasis recti?

      use the email icon at the top of my blog to contact us:)

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  2. I'm a big fan, Lindsay. Like you, I have had three children in 4 years. I can't say my stomach was anything great before I got pregnant, in fact it was always a problem area. Had 3 vaginal deliveries. My fitness regime is actually a little nuts- I am a Zumba instructor and I teach 7 back-breaking classes a week, do strength training 2x week and core work 2x week. I am still breastfeeding and I eat 1500 calories max a day. And yet, with all this madness, at least once a week someone comes up to me after a class and asks "When are you due?" I feel like I'm being punched in the gut (no pun intended). My youngest is now a year old and everyday I just feel like I want to give up and I don't know where to turn- I sought out a nutritionist but she just gave super- outdated info, and when I've tried to talk to Doctors they just ask if I need a therapist referral. I know you're not a Dr., but do you ever deal with moms like me who just make no progress ever? Is there any hope for us?

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    1. Have you checked your diastasis recti ? The baby bulge may be due to this.I am following the Tupler technique.For fat loss they say standard cardio is putting stress on us and preventing from loosing fat.I am guessing Zumba is related to cardio.Stress elevates cortisol and will get belly fat storage up...from Polikin Biosignature.I am in the same situation.

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    2. I would agree with the above, have you checked for diastasis recti? http://www.momsintofitness.com/diastasis-recti-what-is-abdominal-separation/

      You could also be overtraining. Is it possible to teach less Zumba? I know you love it and I used to teach 12 TurboKick classes a week (this was before kids when i had more time). But it only hurt me and I made no progress.

      You also may not be eating enough for breastfeeding with all that exercise. Email us and I will put you in touch with our R.D.

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  3. To give some hope to the breastfeeding mamas who are still dealing with a tummy bulge - - I found that my stomach remained soft (despite a disciplined diet and fitness routine) until I weaned my littles and my milk totally dried up. I nursed my kiddos for 14+ months, and then it took my milk a good 6 to 8 weeks to dry. After that, it seemed like my body gradually just firmed up again - - sort of like it finally began responding to what I had been trying to do all along!

    For me, despite being very disciplined, I did not get my body back in 6 months, or even a year. It was truly the 18 month-24 month mark before I started feeling like I really looked solid again.

    I will say too that I had to find that balance in calories that worked best for me. Interestingly, what I found was that if I dipped BELOW 2,000 calories a day, my body actually hung onto weight and I felt sluggish. There is no way that I would have been able to get the body I wanted eating only 1,500 calories a day. That is so individual for everyone though! I am tall - 5'10" and quite active, so I require more than the average 5'4" woman. For me, what worked best then (and still does now) is eating clean- no processed food, lots of fruits and veggies, plenty of whole grains, oily fish like salmon, etc. I don't limit my fat intake, I eat when I am hungry, and I eat plenty - - but I choose really high quality food.

    I know everyone is different- I just want to offer a bit of encouragement and tell you not to give up!!! At age 33, I have a flat stomach after 3 kids. In the midst of pregnancy and nursing, I never would have thought that possible.

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    1. Thank you for this encouraging statement...I just had my third two months ago and my body is a mess! The weight is just sticking to me this time...this gives me hope! ;)

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  4. I have another spin on the flat belly situation. I am a mom of two and for me even though I am very fit and strong, my tummy bulge comes from loose skin. It is a challenge I face everyday because clothes are not accommodating to this sort of problem. I actually have a visible six pack but no one except my hubby and I know because I wouldn't be caught dead letting anyone see it. My skin is excessively loose and my stretch marks are wretched. Sometimes after all you can do you have to love yourself the way you are. :) For me, only surgery will right the wrongs that happened to me during pregnancy and by the time I am done having kids I don't think I will want to wear bikinis anyway!

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  5. Who gives a lickety-split what you look like? Once you have kids your life is no longer about you- love who you are, set a good example, and be a good mommy. The focus on weight and looking like we idd before kids is ridiculous.

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    1. It is not rediculous. Most women can get back to either their pre baby body or something close by focusing on nutrition and exercise. Of course kids are the priority, but it's rediculous to tell women that they can't healthfuly regain their figures. The research on this proves that less than 5% of women are actually clinically unable to lose their baby weight - the rest are just not consitently paying attention to nutrition or exercise or both. Also, a moms health is CRUCIAL to her family, and the research shows, quite clearly, that even a modest retention of post baby weight increases risk of diabetes and a host of other health risks. With the research we have now, we now KNOW that mom can get sicker with each pregnancy if she tosses herself on the backburner and doesn't lose the baby weight. So it is not rediculous. No one is telling women to look like a model on the front of some crazy magazine. But from all the years I have read this website, Lindsay has been clear that even if it takes more time than it does in hollywood, we can lose the babyweight and get to optimal health and fitness if we just try to give it 30 minutes HIIT per day and do cardio as well as toning. And frankly, leaving baby weight on is a bad example to your kids! I certainly don't want my kids to see mommy being careless with nutrition, sedentary, and overweight. So suggesting that being overweight doesn't set a bad example for your kids is really unrealistic.

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  6. I think it's important for moms to like how they look. When we feel good then we can act and be better for our kids. I know when I am on my period and feeling ugly my home suffers. I have a hard time giving 100% when I don't feel it for myself. It can be frustrating working with our post baby bodies.

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  7. I second for the Zumba instructor to look into eating a little more, particularly high quality fat. You don't mention her energy level, but maybe track that for a week of eating, say, 1800 calories and getting 8 hours/night of sleep. Then go back to normal and see if anything changes. You're not likely to do a ton of damage in a week, even if 1800 is just too much to eat long-term, and it will at least help you play detective.

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  9. Lindsay,

    I am 8 weeks post baby and have been looking over your website and have your bootcamp dvd and core dvd. I can't seem to find a workout schedule of what to do on what days. Can you help me with locating that. Also, I've NEVER had a ripped stomach is it really possible simply doing so few moves on the core dvd? Your abs are amazing and I'd love to get my body in as good as shape as yours. I'm an avid exerciser, ran a lot of half marathons and a full but need to get tone and shape and look fit. I have about 12-15 lbs to lose. I'd love any info you have on the reality of getting into the shape you're in. You can email me at cougarfam@gmail.com

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    1. Megan, hi! Shoot Jess an email at themoms@momsintofitness.com and she can send you the calendar.

      And yes, once your core is healthy (using your inner core post-baby) you can challenge it in a number of ways to get the core you have always wanted. As you progress with the workouts and start losing some of the 12-15 lbs you mentioned you will see a difference. You can always ask more questions along the way if you feel you want to see more progress!

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  10. Hi Lindsay, I love your blog and downloaded a free trial of one of your workouts. I have a question on which DVD is the best for me to purchase. I am 7mths postpartum, had a very large baby that caused pelvic pain (still dealing with it) and I believe I have DR. I had my son via c-section. I gained only 21 lbs and am 100lbs now at 5'3". I really don't need to lose weight - I need to gain and tone and close up that DR. Which workout would you recommend? Thank you!

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    1. I would recommend Postnatal Boot Camp for Veterans or Pretty Fierce Weight Loss. Both are great for DR...and since you do not want to lose weight you can use the nutrition webinar and nix the meal plan if you go with Pretty Fierce. I hope that helps! Congrats!

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  11. I had a 3rd degree perineum tear. My doc has cleared me at my 6 week checkup, but I'm still a little tender. Do you have any recommendations of how to start getting back in shape? Is it ok for me to do your CFS method and kegels?
    Thanks!

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    1. Yes, you should be good to go with CFS Phase 1 and keels, unless of course it causes you more pain. Having 3 c-sections I never had a tear, but my best freind had a 4th degree and she was a little slower to heal. Take care.

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  12. I have two questions for you Lindsay, 1. Your older preg DVDs are in the targets where I live...when will your new ones be in stores? 2. Do you believe yoga is a good enough workout on its own or should it accompany some strength and/or cardio?

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  13. Hi Lindsay,
    Great post! I loved that you wrote it. Because (even though I didn't have a clue there was such outrage about it) it needs to be said. And if the post baby belly were more on the table, #1 many new mamas wouldn't have a shock coming home from the hospital #2 they wouldn't have to deal with the "oh, do you have another one in there?" comments from people who are likewise clueless of the existence of post baby bellies.
    thanks!

    åslaug

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  14. Oh, and I had a question:
    *the year after I had my son I used your four week challenge to get into shape (9 months pp), and in my inbox I got the HIIt workout and a written cardio, workout-plan, meal plan and an 8 minute ab exercise. I unfortunately didn't get to use them a lot due to very bad streaming, but I really liked them.

    *this year we have good streaming and I thought since the year had passed, maybe I could get another try. So I signed up again. But I was pretty disappointed, when all I got in my inbox was the "pretty fierce weight loss trial" (I did a trial for it back when it came out).

    *I was disappointed because, the last time I actually had a program to follow (for 4 weeks)with cardio abs and hiit and a plan. I could do (as I progressed)cardio and abs one day, HIIt the next.


    *this time it feels like I'd have to find another exercise program to put into the missing days, and then I don't feel I will find out if the program is "working", even if it was just for a week or two.

    *I'm asking partly because I've been recommending you to my friends who just had babies (mostly your book, which I used the first 6 months pp), and told them if they wanted to check you out they could try the 4 week trial on momsintofitness. I'm a little disappointed it's not longer there.

    *Oh, and before I give myself away as miss ungrateful.. I do think it's GREAt that you give out free trials. Because some of us, just DON't have $60 to buy a weightloss system, however much we need it, and you helped me lose ALL the baby weight from #1 and get to my lowest size ever, (which is still higher than I'd like). So thank you!!

    *Now, here's my question:

    #1: How do you make a "plan" with just a cardio (tabata) and a core workout?

    åslaug

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    1. Aslaug, I have not heard from you in a while! Hiya!

      You know what, I totally agree with you. I will definitely take it back to the drawing board. The reason it changed is we had several abusers and copyright infringements. While technology is great it also hinders how much we can give. I hope that makes sense. And I promise to see what I can do.

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    2. Hi ;)

      I totally understand the technology hindrance, internet gives so many opportunities, but ever so much more responsibility.

      Thanks for hearing my argument! You are the best for encouraging moms to get back or just into shape; we have the very best reason, but it's hard in a culture that seems to expect minivan jeans or tent dresses for anyone ever having gone through pregnancy. Thank you!

      I recommend your programs, because if I could do it, who in the first moths postpartum spent 12 hours a day in a truck with my trucker husband (and baby, of course), and could squeeze in your workouts, then ANYONE can ;)

      And thanks for seeing what's to be done!

      åslaug

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  15. What I can't believe is that common knowledge doesn't come into play with the post baby bump! To me it just makes sense that if you put 40 lbs on in your mid section it wouldn't disappear overnight. Are there really women who walk out of the hospital and their stomachs are flat?!? Does that exist? If so how did that become normal thinking? Me and Kim k and Kate Middleton have that in common!

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  16. I check your blog all of the time nd it sucks when there's no comments or new posts from you! Love your perspective.

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  17. Hey! First I would like to say you have a rockin body and would do anything to have my tummy look like yours!!! I have a little belly fat to loose still but have recently realized I suffer from D.R. Did you have this issue? Is it really true you can fit it without surgery? I have a 3 finger gap, my baby girl is now 1. I'm just wondering which video would help me most with fixing the D.R

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    1. You absolutely can get down to 1-2 finger gap without surgery. But we need to make sure you do DR specific Core Work.

      I did not have DR, but I sure did have a post-baby belly:)

      Try our Free Trial, it will set you up with DR specific core exercises:
      http://www.momsintofitness.com/squeeze-customized-workout/

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    2. Hey, I tried this link but it says it count be found...

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    3. Maybe try it again…I just checked and it is working. Maybe we had a temporary hiccup.

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    4. yup back up again! thnx

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  19. Hi Lindsay I'm brooke....I had my 2nd baby thru emergency c section at 33wks she was flown to st.Louis children's hospital in Missouri...I'm from Marion Illinois.... I had an awful recovery from csectio I suffered hematoma ....my lower stomach still looks like I'm prego I can't seem to tighten them up :(

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    1. Also I'm 9mos post

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    2. Brooke, wow you went through the ringer! But I am glad you are both home and healthy. I am assuming all is good now! Let's start here, try a few of my Pretty Fierce workouts - it will test your for Diastasis then take you through a core recovery. Then we can re-evaluate in a few weeks!

      http://www.momsintofitness.com/shop/pretty-fierce-weight-loss/
      click free trial

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  20. Hi Lindsay...i'm Lindsey :) I recently bought The Post Natal 2 pack advanced DVD set. I am 3 months pp and I am SO ready to have my clothes fit and have my body back. This is my 2nd child and they are 10 years apart. My first I had at 19 and I bounced back no problems (only gained 30 lbs). This time I gained 46 lbs and I'm still carrying 20 lbs of the weight (mostly in the belly and thighs), however I had miscarried prior to this pregnancy and I had gained 10 lbs with that pregnancy that I never lost. I have used the calculator to determine my meal plan and I am nursing, however I am on a dairy free diet do to my son having issues with dairy products. Do you have any recommendations for me as far as alternatives to the meal plans and work out routines for me? I work 40+ hours a week, have crazy evening schedules due to my daughters sports, so Dinner and workouts are very limited with time. I have been getting up at 5am to get the workouts in however Its killing me ;) I have faith that you can help me given you are a very busy and "real" mom. I do not feel other workout DVD's/websites can help. Thanks :)

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    1. Hey Linds! Email Jess at themoms@momsintofitness.com and she can send you our dairy free, vegetarian and gluten free options!

      Congrats on #2!

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  21. Hi Lindsay. I am doing your Pretty Fierce Lean Out workouts, which I absolutely love! Obviously I'm looking to lose body fat and gain lean muscle. I was wondering if there are any supplements that you recommend, pre or post workout formulas? Or is that stuff just for the birds? I did your pregnancy DVDs throughout my pregnancy, and I really feel like that helped me to stay in good shape and get my body back quicker. Still not quite where I want to be. My weakness is chocolate chip cookies. :( Or really just all things chocolate. Bleh. Anyway. Thanks so much for what you are doing to help moms! I feel like I'm in much better shape now than before my pregnancy, and I thought I was in shape then. Oh by the way.........Shaun T and Tony Horton aint got nothin on you!!!

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    1. Jesse, hi! So glad you love the workouts! I am not one that recommends supplements, but whatever you think works for you! I do know the only way to get lean mass is by toning, no supplement can give you lean mass.

      I know this is not what you want to hear but I would watch the chic chip cookies and keep at the workouts:) I am not sure supplements would give you the results you are wanting.

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  22. Hey Lindsay. I stumbled upon your website about a week and a half a ago and have visited it multiple times since. I was on the verge of buying P90X when I borrowed it from a friend and I am currently realizing it isn't for me. Your workouts on the other hand seem like something I would really enjoy. I am a mother of two little boys 1 and 2 years old. When I saw your 10 minute tabata core workout I have fell in love with it and actually have done it every day since (adding different core workouts in). I have done workout videos for years and actually lost 90lbs before I had kids, I am only abut 15lbs away from pre-baby weight. In the week i have been doing your core workout I have seen results so I am definatlely saving up to purchase your pretty fierce weightloss dvd set. You have a very powerful energy in your workouts and it is very contagious. Thank you for making a workout system geared to mothers. Im already a big fan.

    Audry

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    1. Audry, golly gee thank you for your post! I am so glad you are seeing a difference!

      You can always check BabySteals.com archive for the Pretty Fierce sets at 50% off. And for now go on youtube and do some of those workouts and/or do our Pretty Fierce free trials - you can do both the Weight Loss and Lean Out:

      http://www.momsintofitness.com/product-category/dvds/superfit-weight-loss/

      Just click on free trial!

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  23. Hi! I first read this post a few weeks postpartum and it really helped me when I was feeling low about how I looked after baby #2. I am 34 also and you are such an inspiration! Thank you!
    Now 4 months after baby I haven't lost any of the 30 lbs I gained during pregnancy. I was recently prescribed a thyroid medicine which I hope help and work out 3-4x per week (mostly mat work). I am really looking forward to starting the pretty fierce weight loss DVDs but I noticed that it is recommended for women 6+ months after baby. I am still breast feeding but I was wondering if I made sure to keep my calories healthy if the 6 months was a guideline or a hard rule?
    Either way I love what you do for women and moms and I can't wait to try the weight loss and lean out sets! Xo

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    1. Congrats on #2! 6 months is our recommendation, but if you feel your body is ready for it you should be ok. And as long as your doc is good with it and your new meds. There are calorie recommendations for breastfeeding so you can follow those.

      Keep me posted!

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    2. Yay! Looking forward to it. Will keep you posted :)

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