5 Secrets your OB/GYN Never Told You

Every obstetrician’s highest priority is to safely deliver a healthy baby. But what about mom? Very few OBs have time during prenatal visits or that one, brief postnatal appointment to guide women through self-care steps to recover well. Here are five essential tips that you need to know.

1. It’s possible to get rid of that “mommy pooch” without surgery.

Welcome to motherhood! You’re the proud mama of a beautiful baby… and perhaps a not-so-beautiful “mommy pooch.” No, your stomach doesn’t have to be a casualty of pregnancy and you are not condemned to spend the rest of your days in empire dresses and “roomy tops.” Believe it or not, it’s possible to lose the pooch with a few important changes to your exercise routine. Forget sit-ups, crunches and bicycle crunches – in fact, skip any exercise that bulges your abs forward. Whether you’re a new mom or a grandmother these exercises do more harm than good because they fail to engage the deep core muscles, and the bulging action worsens the pooch! Pregnancy can cause the abdominal muscles to separate, a medical condition known as diastatis recti. Instead of exercises that bulge the muscles forward, pulse your belly up and in throughout the day to reverse that separation and bring your muscles back together.

2. Kegels are crucial – both for a great sex life and to fix unwanted “peeing accidents.”

Yes, you can enjoy great sex again. And no, you don’t have to keep carrying an extra pair of panties with you out of fear you might laugh, sneeze or cough at an inopportune moment. The hammock of pelvic muscle that stretched and expanded during pregnancy and childbirth is remarkably resilient. Everything ‘down there’ really will return to normal – but not without a little effort. Do your Kegels! Those deep core exercises are key to restoring both both bladder control and pleasurable sex after pregnancy.

3. Say goodbye to hemorrhoids (the dirty little secret no one talks about).

Ouch! They hurt. They’re embarrassing. Many women won’t mention hemorrhoids to their doctor, husband or closest friend. The truth is, hemorrhoids are really common during and after pregnancy, and they can linger for a very, very long time… Don’t despair! A few easy changes in your pooping technique can alleviate the stress of bowel movements (constipated or not) and allow your body to heal. Simply prop your feet on a step stool or wastebasket, lean forward, and gently pulse the belly up and in until the poop happens. Never bear down!

4. Once you give birth, your metabolism has fundamentally changed.

It goes without saying that women experience a surge of hormones during pregnancy. One effect of pregnancy hormones is weight gain and fat storage – a positive sign of a healthy pregnancy! However, sometimes hormones remain elevated after the pregnancy is long gone, and these regulatory chemicals can wreak havoc in the body of a previously slim woman. If you’re struggling to shed leftover baby weight, the most important change you can make in your diet is to reduce carbohydrates.

5. You can banish the dreaded “C-section muffin top”!

Recovering from a surgical birth poses unique challenges, and a lingering “muffin top” is among the chief complaints. The good news is that you can eliminate scar adhesions, the underlying cause of muffin top, with daily scar massage. Even if you underwent a C-section decades ago, massage will effectively release scar adhesions and banish the muffin top.

As a mother, you have given so much to your children. Now is the time to give back to yourself, to nurture your own amazing, life-giving body.