Seven months ago, teacher Dana Goodman had her first baby and says her workouts at The Studio (MDR) transformed her pregnancy, labor, and how she feels today. “To be honest, since this was my first baby I was super careful with core exercises throughout my entire pregnancy. I didn’t want to take any risks! However, I stayed consistent with my routine at (MDR) with some modifications along the way, and I had an amazing pregnancy. I was not sick one day and I felt energized the entire time, even when I was 10 days late delivering.” In fact, Dana was still teaching 19 classes a week when she was seven months preggers (!!).

Dana gave birth to Saylor, a 7 lb, 14 oz beautiful baby girl, and her labor was 100 percent natural. “I don’t think I would have ever been able to have a natural delivery without the strength I built from the (MDR) classes,” she says. Check out Dana’s best tips on how to get a killer core here.

Tip No. 1: A strong core will make everything feel better. Working your abdominal muscles has so many benefits. A tight tummy will not only help your confidence soar, but it’ll also help easy any low back pain you might be feeling. “Since abs are attached to your back muscles, strengthening your transverse abdominal muscles can help reduce back pain,” says Dana.

Tip No. 2: Strong abs can also make labor easier. Here’s a heads up for all of you moms-to-be: “When you learn how to better control your abs, you may not need to push as much when you’re in labor,” says Dana. “When I had my daughter, I only pushed for 20 minutes, which is pretty fast!”

Tip No. 3: You’ll have an easier time post-baby, too. “The rectus abdominis can split during pregnancy in order to accommodate your growing baby—it’s known as diastasis,” says Dana. “Having tight transverse abs during pregnancy can get your rectus muscles back into place faster and therefore give you a flatter stomach sooner after pregnancy.” After you give birth, make sure to incorporate exercises that target the transverse abs, she says, which will help improve posture, reduce back pain, and create a flatter tummy much faster.

Tip No. 4: Your strength will transfer to your baby, too. “Our daughter is super active and very strong,” says Dana. “At 5 ½ months she started crawling, and at 6 ½ months she started pulling herself up to stand. These are both major milestones she’s doing very early, and her pediatrician has told me that the environment a baby is exposed to in utero can have a big impact on your baby.”

Tip No. 5: Ease back into working out post-baby. First things first: You’ll want to assess if you have diastasis recti before you begin to workout after giving birth. If you have DR, there are several exercises you can do at home to help improve this condition before getting back into your normal workout routine. Remember to start back slowly (six weeks post-baby for vaginal deliveries and eight weeks if you had a c-section), and be cautious for the first several months. “It’s important to give yourself time to heal and rebuild your strength before venturing off to new workout routine,” says Dana.One thing I constantly have to keep reminding myself is to be kind to my body! It took 10 months to create this amazing little baby, and I have to be patient and remember it could take just as long to get back to where I was physically. Whenever I get down on myself, I just look at her bright smile and know that it is all worth it!”

Dana’s MegaMamas class is on hiatus in November but will be back in full swing when we open our Playa Vista studio!