Book Reviews: "Exercise After Pregnancy: How to Look and Feel Your Best"

Moms Favorite Stuff

We reviewed the BeFit-Mom DVD a few months back, and now, Perinatal Exercise Specialist Helene Byrne has just released the 2nd printing of her book "Exercise After Pregnancy - How to Look and Feel Your Best". If you recently had a baby, chances are you've realized that your body doesn't look exactly the same as it did pre-pregnancy. Helene's book and DVD offer safe, effective exercises that you can do post-partum and are targeted to the problem areas that new moms have.

I love Helene's approach to exercise - she spends a lot of time explaining how your body changes during pregnancy, discusses the separation of stomach muscles (diastasis), and explains when it is safe to do each exercise. The book is also set up in sequential order with some more advanced exercises towards the back. The pictures are very helpful in demonstrating the exercises, and use real post partum moms!

Another thing I love about this book is the last chapters, which explain how to carry your body in everyday activities such as carrying your car seat carrier and holding your baby, in a manner that won't hurt your body.

Parent's Press

"Exercise After Pregnancy: How to Look and Feel Your Best" (BeFit-Mom, 2nd edition)
Oakland fitness instructor, Helene Byrne has produced the must-have post-natal workout book, now in its second printing. It's a straightforward look at postpartum recovery, giving new moms a different perspective on the changes a women's body goes through during pregnancy and birth. Refreshingly, Byrne provides her readers with detailed explanations of bodily changes and how each movement she recommends affects those changes.

"The abdominal muscles stretch to an astonishing degree and become unavailable for spine support," Byrne writes. "After birth the abs look, feel and function more like pudding (no one ever warns you about this) and no longer can effectively support the spine and the internal organs."

Byrne focuses mostly on strengthening the muscles that have been stretched and loosened. There's an emphasis on Kegels and core conditioning, rather than the aerobic activity that most fitness regiments introduce at six months postpartum. The book shows real postpartum moms performing each exercise.

Unlike most postpartum fitness books, "Exercise After Pregnancy" dedicates a whole section to abdominal separation, a common occurrence in pregnancy, and offers proper posture techniques for nursing, picking up, and holding your new baby.

Byrne has also created a DVD with all the same moves and information. "Bounce Back Fast! Post Natal Core Conditioning" uses strength training and fitness cans to help new moms get back into shape. The DVD is broken into two sections, "Gentle First Moves" and Bounce Back Fast," each giving easy step-by-step instruction.


First, new moms will want to pick up Helene Byrne's book Exercise After Pregnancy. Thanks to Byrne, I discovered I have split abdominal muscles and have learned some exercises to rectify the situation. (For more tips and advice read her informative website, The book also helps moms battle lower back pain and build core strength necessary to take care of ourselves and our babies. Or as Bryne says is "Reestablish the fundamentals of good neuromuscular technique." No quick fixes here. Just a sound exercise program to get you strong and flexible.

"This really helped reduce my tummy separation"

by Ms. A. Walters, January 23, 2009
This book really worked for me. It has a good set of varied exercises, with clear explanations and pictures of how to do them properly. It grades the exercises so that you can build up to more challenging ones as your tummy gets stronger. As far as I am concerned, the proof is in the pudding, as I had suffered from a severe tummy separation for 2 years after baby number 1, which would not close despite doing all sorts of specially targeted exercises. After baby number 2 my tummy separation was 6 fingers wide. I followed the exercises in this book for six months, and the separation is now down to 1 finger wide and starting to close altogether. Fantastic book - and big thanks to the author for writing it!

"Great book"

by Shannon M. Janeczek, July 25, 2008
This book gives you the low-down on why you have Mommy Belly and truly how to get rid of it, by building muscle in the right places and which muscles to build up, in the right order. I for one HATE doing crunches because I have neck and shoulder problems as well, and the exercises in here are really easy for me to do. There's no equipment needed, which is wonderful for someone just coming off an unpaid maternity leave. I look forward to having a flat tummy again very soon.

"I Agree, Better than the Mummy Tummy book"

by Santa Clarita Mom, June 21, 2008
This book has helped my stomach within weeks. I previously purchase the Lose Your Mummy Tummy book and there was not any significant change in my stomach with that book. With the Exercise After Pregnancy book by Ms. Byrne, you get varied exercises that not only help your stomach, but your lower back and posture. It has enough varied exercises at different experience levels that you won't get bored compared to the Mummy Tummy book. After doing a few sets of the exercises in the Exercise after Pregnancy book, you can feel a difference. For anyone with diastasis recti, I highly recommend this book over the Mummy Tummy book. My lower back has felt better and is beginning to straighten out more after my 2 children were born as well as my stomach muscles are tightening up and my stomach is becoming smaller. I still have a small ponch on me, but no one has asked if I'm pregnant for the past few months.

"Better than Loose your Mummy Tummy",

by Catie L, April 10, 2008, Wakefield, MA USA 
I bought this book when I was 22 months post partum. I still have abdominal separation, and have been afraid to do ab exercises for fear of increasing it as I know doing ab exercises incorrectly can make a separation worse. I first bought Loose your Mummy tummy, but sucking in my stomach 100x at a time, up to 10x a day wasn't for me. The exercises in this book are challenging, but completely do-able, and I'm noticing that my ab separation is closing after only 3-4 weeks of doing the exercises, not even doing them every day. Great book!!

"Professionally written with excellent real-life advice"

by Lee-Ann Niazi January 28, 2008
Helene has done an amazing job with this book and has included actual postpartum women as well. The exercises are integral for any new mother wanting to get her body back into shape the right way. In society today, it is all too easy to get caught up in the new diet or exercise fads but Helene creates several easy to follow programs that focus on the core muscles that are so often overlooked. I've noticed a difference already after just a couple of weeks. Thanks Helene.

Here at BeFit-Mom, you'll find a wealth of free, in depth, expert information and advice about prenatal and postpartum fitness and exercise to help you have the healthiest pregnancy, and the healthiest baby.

From BeFit-Mom:

Bounce Back Fast
Post Natal Core Conditioning

Exercise After Pregnancy
How to Look and Feel Your Best, BOOK.

Tender Lullabies
Soothing Classic Piano Melodies, CD The Easy-Sleep Solution

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