6 Tips to Help You Reclaim Your Body after Birth!

So, you just had a baby...congratulations! We checked in with fitness expert Phoenix Carnevale to find out how to lose those pesky extra pounds.

Stay on track with your diet & keep exercising while pregnant

Carnevale says that the very best thing you can do is to stay on track with your diet while you are pregnant. You should only gain between 25 -35 lbs in those 9 months and the majority of that weight is actually the baby, fluids and the placenta. Consuming an extra 300 calories a day is recommended during pregnancy, that way when you give birth there won't be as much left to lose. Exercising during pregnancy is also recommended. A moderate strength training plan that is specific to the changes happening in your body is ideal. Swimming and prenatal yoga are great choices.

Develop your core muscles

During pregnancy there is an expansion of the transverse abdominus, the muscle that goes around the entire mid section. It is very important to regain the integrity of the core to get a toned and flat stomach back. Having a strong core will also help you avoid lower back pain and excessive sway back posture, Carnevale says. The pelvic floor muscles are like a sling of muscles that support your internal organs like your uterus, bladder and kidneys. Kegal exercises and crunches as well as moves like the dead bug and the plank should help get these muscles back into shape.

Keep your energy up & your mood elevated

The amount of energy you will have will really increase with exercise, and believe me you’ll need as much energy as possible to keep up with your new baby! Exercise will also help relieve stress and release endorphins (the "feel-good" chemicals in your brain). Most importantly, Carnevale says, you will help to set a good example for your child since he/she will be growing up in an active healthy household. You'll be healthier and you'll be around for graduations and grandchildren.

Wait 6 to 8 weeks before starting any strenuous workout

This is important ladies! Carnevale says you should wait 6 weeks before returning to the gym; unless you have had a C-section in which case you should wait 8 weeks. Once you begin your fitness plan you can expect to lose a healthy 2 lbs per week. Moderate and steady weight loss it what will really help you keep off those extra pounds!

Scheduling time for you is the hardest part

Fat is fat. What is harder is getting to the gym when you have a new life to take care of. Carnevale says that scheduling seems to be the hardest thing for new moms. That's why she recommends getting at-home exercise videos and delegating tasks to your significant other.

Go au naturale!

Carnevale says that processed foods are counter productive for any woman nursing and trying to lose weight. The more natural the food you consume is, the better it is for you and your baby. You should shoot for whole grains, fresh fruit and lean proteins while avoiding raw meats and seafood, especially fish high in mercury such as tuna, mackerel, and swordfish. You should also avoid foods with strong spices as it will alter the flavor of your breast milk. Your doctor should prescribe a prenatal vitamin with extra b and folic acid. Remember, women should always consult their physicians with any dietary concerns.