If you are a mom you will know EXACTLY what I am talking about. The dreaded mama pooch belly. It’s that stubborn area that doesn’t go away as easily as we want post baby. It seems to hang on forever and no amount of crunches or sit ups seems to make it budge. I have had two C-Sections now and I loved my midwife and surgeon on both surgeries for the remarkable job they did but there are a few things most doctors, midwifes, surgeons, etc don’t tell you or put in that post op paperwork that I think is super important. Typically, if you have a major surgery where they cut a muscle, like foot surgery for example, you are given recovery orders but also physical therapy is highly recommended to help get your muscles back to working properly. But they don’t recommend physical therapy or any beginning exercises post C-Section. They cut major muscle, tissue and nerves during a C-Section but don’t stress how important it is to re establish a working relationship between your brain and your tummy muscles as part of your rest and recovery. For me personally, I had numbness in my left quadricep and incision for a good 8 months with my first C-Section. With this recent C-Section, I have numbness along my incision and about an inch above it as well (the pooch area). It’s such a weird feeling to have that numbness but even more reason why I have to focus on strengthening my transverse abdominis before anything else. The longer your brain tries to contact and fire up those muscles without a response, the more likely you will keep that pooch and lose strength in your core area. This is where exercises that focus on awakening and force strengthening your TVA muscles are so important. The TVA muscles are the very base layer of muscle around your core that acts like a corset around your waist. Keeping these muscles strong also helps keep stress and pain off your joints. You always hear how important a strong core can be beneficial to the rest of your body and acts as stabilizer with all body movements. We are also mostly told to strengthen your core you should do typical core building exercises like crunches, sit-ups, etc. These all focus on strengthening your rectus abdomens (the six pack muscle look) which grow outward. But we aren’t told to focus on exercises that engage your TVAs. These exercises work wonderfully by drawing the muscles inwards as they get stronger giving you a leaner tighter waist look. So even if you haven’t had any major abdominal surgery you should still focus on getting your TVA’s stronger. Lack of TVA love may just be the thing allowing your pooch to hang around! Granted other factors for belly pooch are exercise and diet. But I didn’t know much about how important the TVA’s were until this last pregnancy. Did you?? You can read here for some TVA exercises that I started with once I was cleared for exercise again by my doctor.