Do you have the “the mommy pouch” or “the mommy belly?”  If so, and you want to know how to get rid of it, keep reading. 

The mommy pooch or pouch refers to a small bulge in the middle of your abdomen, which may not be related to excessive fat.  The mommy pouch or pooch is caused by a separation of your abdominals, better known as diastasis recti.  (If you want more details on diastasis recti and how to check for it- click here.)

The good news is, no matter how many months or years you are postpartum, abdominal separation can most likely improve (depending on the severity) with the correct exercises. 

However, there is 1 main muscle you must focus on strengthening, and that is your Transverse Abdominis muscle. 

After mastering your breathing technique and improving your posture, learning how to activate and strengthen your transverse abdominis muscle, (along with proper nutrition and exercise) is essential to a flat tummy. Again- it doesn't matter if you are 6 months, 6 years or 16 years postpartum- it’s never too late to restore your core.

Let's quickly review this muscle and then we’ll go into more detail on how to strengthen it.  The Transverse Abdominis (TA) muscle is the deepest layer of your core.  Its primary function is to support and stabilize the spine and pelvis, acting like a corset around your waist and trunk.  It also helps to hold in all your vital organs. 

So if you can imagine your abdominals being overstretched and weakened, especially after a pregnancy for example, then it may be easier to understand why the abdominals separate and can be stretched forward causing a “pooch.”  Some abdominal separation is completely normal with pregnancy! 

Here are some exercises to activate and strengthen the TA. I would highly recommend assessing yourself first for a diastasis recti.  The exercises are in this specific order for appropriate progression from easy to more difficult levels.  

  1. TA activation
  2. Heel taps
  3. Dead bug
  4. Bird-dog
  5. Reverse crunches

Watch how to do all 5 exercises right here.

Try each of these for 10-15 repetitions.  Keep in mind, staying consistent is KEY! Make sure to keep your abdominals engaged when performing exercises 2-5.  Keep your core tight, not letting your abs push outward while performing these exercises. 

Many people do not realize that you use your core and abdominal muscles with nearly every daily activity such as reaching down to pick up a toy or baby, grabbing your coffee cup, and lifting groceries.  

If you want more tips and support, head on over to our private FB group the Healthy Mama Huddle