As any mom will tell you, giving birth and having a child of your own is one of the most rewarding and special experiences life can offer. That said, carrying a baby around for nine months inside of you and then pushing them out isn’t exactly easy on your body.
In fact, it’s quite common for pregnant women experience a vertical “splitting” or separation of the abdominal muscles after giving birth, otherwise known as diastasis recti — a condition moms have taken to calling “mummy tummy” or “mommy pooch.”
Unfortunately, the condition can cause more than self-consciousness about your tummy: it can lead to lower back pain or even a tear in the abdominal wall, as the muscles have weakened over the course of the pregnancy. Fortunately, it can be reversed.
In a piece written for NPR’s Morning Edition, reporter Michaeleen Doucleff wrote about her own attempts to flatten her post-partum belly, including enrolling in a class taught by Dia Method founder Leah Keller. The fitness guru promises that in three weeks, every woman in the class will “achieve full resolution.”
Here’s her simple exercise you can practice at home, and as you can see above, the results really speak for themselves:
1. Start by sitting on the floor, cross-legged, and make sure that your core is fully engaged.
2. Put one hand on your belly button and fill your midsection with as much air as you can. While exhaling, visualize your navel going as far back to your spine as possible. Hold this position as long as you can, retracting your belly further with each short breath. Do this for at least two minutes.
3. You can repeat the exercise in a few different positions: sitting crossed-legged, sitting on your knees, standing with knees slightly bent, on all fours, or laying on your side in the fetal position.
Try this for three weeks and you’ll more than likely be stunned by your results.