By Lauren Le Vine, REDBOOK.
Kate Middleton during her pregnancyKim Kardashian gave birth to daughter North over a month ago, and we haven't seen her since. According to sources, Kim's waiting until she's shed the 50 pounds she gained during her pregnancy to make her public debut. Plus, she's going to do the big reveal on her mom's new talk show, which will undoubtedly mean huge ratings for Kris. Why? Because our tabloid culture has made us entirely too focused on how quickly women can shed the weight they gained while pregnant. When Kate Middleton steps out for the first time following the royal baby's birth, you can guarantee British tabloids will write about how "new mum Kate cut a slim figure at her son's christening."
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It's no secret that the post-baby body fixation is out of control, and it sets unrealistic expectations for all women. Kim's doctors actually advised her to take it easy for a few weeks after giving birth, and that's the news more sources should spread. According to Leah Keller, an expert in pre and postnatal fitness and founder of The Dia Method, women should first address the possibility of diastasis recti, a condition that occurs when the abdominal muscles that separated during pregnancy don't come back together, before anything else. "If you dive back into strenuous exercise (like running) too quickly after giving birth, pelvic instability could cause a back injury," Keller says.
Here, Keller shares five things you need to know about the real way to ditch the pregnancy pooch and love your post-baby body:
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1. "To tell if you have diastasis recti, lie down on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor, and place your hands lengthwise along the midline over your belly button. Press down on your belly and lift your head off the floor. You should your abs flex as you lift your head off the floor, and you'll feel a gully if they've separated. The depth varies a lot - a very deep one is going to take a lot longer to heal - but it's still reversible."
2. "Those deep ab muscles are connected to the pelvic floor, and restoring tone, flatness, and firmness not only helps you lose inches, it helps with post-pregnancy incontinence. If you get that deep core functioning again, you'll tighten up the pelvic floor, which also can improve sex."
3. "The sad truth is that most people who set out to tone their abs actually end up separating the muscles. Exercises like crunches and Pilates can cause your abs to bulge forward, which can lead to them splitting. I've seen this happen to everyone from moms to male body builders."
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4. "The basic therapeutic exercises to reverse a pooch or separation only take 10 minutes a day."
5. "You can recheck yourself in the same way you did to see if you had a separation. I'd recommend doing so every three weeks, but some women will check every six to eight weeks. You should also measure your waist to track progress."
So to Kim, Kate, and all the new moms out there: Now is the time to relax and enjoy the new life you created, not rush back to the gym for power yoga.
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