When a doctor and a fitness coach claimed to discover an exercise that shrinks the motherhood pooch in three weeks with 100 percent success, NPR journalist Michaeleen Doucleff thought she might as well try it.
What made it even more promising was that the exercise was only 10 minutes everyday. Super doable.
"I've tried to convince myself that the pooch is a valiant badge of motherhood, but who am I kidding? The pooch bothers me," Doucleff said, on the reason why she wanted to check out the exercise to find out if it was all it promised to be.
You can't get rid of the pooch without understanding what it is
The mommy-pooch is more officially known as diastasis recti, which is when your abdominal muscles split during pregnancy and don't come back together. This post-pregnancy belly that happens to at least thirty percent of moms.
Without your abdominal muscles holding back your bowels, uterus and all your other organs in there, it's no wonder you get a little bulge. If you don't get it with your first child, it becomes even more common with each baby you have, according to WebMD.
The purpose of the exercise is to reduce the pooch.
Not only do most women hate the way the pooch looks, diastasis recti can be the cause of back pain as well.
So, fitness coach Leah Keller and doctor Geeta Sharma's researched exercises to help those abdominal muscles come back together properly. Their goal was to see if this specific exercise would help both prenatal women prevent diastasis recti and postnatal women eliminate it.
Although the study was small, each woman who was part of the study fixed their diastasis recti in 12 weeks, according to Sharma and Keller.
"We had patients that were even one year out from giving birth, and they still had such great benefit from the exercises," Sharma told NPR.
And for NPR's Michaeleen Doucleff who tried out this practice, she had similar results. After four weeks of class, they pulled out the measuring tape to see if anything has changed. One woman next to her lost four inches. Doucleff herself dropped more than an inch.
"I am quite happy with the results," she wrote. "My abs are definitely firmer. And regularly doing this exercise brought a bonus benefit: My lower back pain has almost completely gone away."
Doctors approve the Tupler Technique or Keller's Dia Method (you can pay to be trained online), but this is how the exercise was described by writer Michaeleen Doucleff, who went to a training class from Keller:
Sitting on the floor cross-legged, with our hands on our bellies, we all take a big breath. "Let the belly fully expand," Keller says.
And then as we exhale, we suck in our belly muscles - as far back as they'll go, toward the spine. "Now we're going to stay here near the spine. Hold this position," she says.
Then we take tiny breaths. With each exhale, we push our stomachs back further and further.
This exercise must be done 10 minutes everyday.
Make sure your exercise is not making it worse
Keller also warns that there are certain exercises that women do to attempt to lose that belly that are actually damaging their chances.
Amberlee is the content manager for FamilyShare.com and earned a degree in journalism. She creates beautiful things with her experience in writing, graphic design, photography, video and music. She loves her family, the outdoors, baby foxes and podcasts.