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After I had my son, one of the things that I focused on was postpartum exercises for tummy. The biggest fear that comes with exercising is getting diastasis recti. If you don’t know what that is, the abdominal separation of your stomach muscles happens after childbirth.
While it’s common, it’s serious. So it’s important not to start exercises until you determine if you have and to what degree.
As new moms, it can be hard to figure out the best postpartum exercises. You can do a test with your belly button and put your fingers on your stomach. The separation of the abdominal muscles is a severe condition, but it’s treatable.
I started exercising around three months postpartum after receiving clearance from my doctor. It would help if you always waited until you were medically cleared before doing any exercise. It’s for the safety of yourself and your overall health.
Youtube has an exercise program dedicated to helping women get back to their pre-pregnancy weight.
Still, make sure you consult a doctor before doing any exercise, especially if you aren’t a person who actively works out all the time.
After talking with your doctor, if you have concerns that your tummy is still not where you want it to be, a physical therapist can also help by providing you with the correct abdominal exercises. I share my personal experience with my postpartum journey, which you can read on the blog.
This post is about postpartum exercises for tummy.
Pregnant Women Workout Plan
You want to be thinking about your pre-pregnancy shape while you are pregnant. This will help you visualize where you want to be after your baby.
Developing good habits while your growing baby is still in your belly can also help you adjust to other aspects of losing belly fat, such as a diet.
Having a good exercise routine while pregnant will also help decrease that mommy pooch and keep off the extra weight you gain with pregnancy. The following exercises are safe exercises to do while you are pregnant.
- Tabletop Position
The best way to get some additional stretching is to get on a yoga mat and do some light stretching. It’s a good idea to not overdo it and do as much as possible, especially as you get further in your pregnancy journey.
This is also a great way to gear up for exercising after pregnancy. Starting while pregnant is safe, as long as you are cleared by your doctor.
Never begin working out unless you consult with your doctor first to avoid injury. Getting injured while pregnant is not fun.
If you are currently pregnant, you will understand how pregnancy hormones affect your weight. Even after you give birth, pregnancy hormones will be present in your body for months afterward. Planning out your postpartum exercises for tummy in advance will allow you to be prepared for changes that happen during your pregnancy.
During your postnatal check, your health care provider will go over everything you need for newly postpartum women, including how to manage the hormonal imbalances you will face.
You will find that doing a simple exercise like walking will help solve many of your hormonal imbalances in the beginning when the movement is limited.
If you decide to breastfeed, your pregnancy hormones might affect your weight gain or loss. Make sure to always discuss how you are feeling with your doctor.
I wrote about the must-have baby items for first-time moms that you can read here. Your doctor will also go over baby development milestones that you want to ensure you are also looking out for but can also play into your postpartum depression and anxiety.
All of these are normal, but it is something to be mindful of as you navigate your new life as a mom-to-be.
Easy exercises postpartum
After the birth of your baby, you want to start feeling like yourself as soon as possible. You will notice that your tummy will still look like you are pregnant for the first few weeks and months after pregnancy.
It can take up to 18 months to be rid of all the baby weight, so don’t feel pressured to get back into shape immediately.
Walking is the easiest and top recommended exercise after having a baby. If you had a vaginal delivery, you could start walking a few days after birth.
The goal is to start off slow and increase over time. In the beginning, I would walk for 5 mins and increase it to an hour.
You can put your baby in the stroller and walk with them. The fresh air will do you and the baby some good.
Make sure to walk at your own pace. You don’t need to walk fast; walking at an average speed is good enough.
This exercise is something that you were probably doing but didn’t know you could do it. If you had a cesarean, check with your doctor before doing this exercise. This requires movement in an area your procedure was done. To do this exercise, here is what you need to do.
Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly. Hold for up to 10 seconds. Repeat.
- Lie on your back on the floor (you should bend your knees)
- Make sure your back is flat against the floor
- Tighten your abdominal muscles
- Move your pelvis up slightly.
- You can hold for as long as you can (usually seven seconds is good)
- Release and repeat.
For more information about how to properly do this, you can read about it at Mayo Clinic.
Pelvic Floor Muscles
Pelvic floor exercises are something that you can do all the time, even when you are pregnant. If you don’t know what pelvic floor exercises are, if you have heard of Kegels and heel slides, those are the exercise that assists with keeping your pelvic floor intact.
Kegel exercises are something you can do multiple times a day. The benefits of them include:
- decreasing your chances of urinary incontinence
- supports the weight of the baby, which is a great way to keep a stronger core during pregnancy
- reduce the risk of hemorrhoids.
If you are looking for a workout routine to help with your pelvic floor, Leah Keller is an expert in this space and has on-demand programing for busy mamas like us. Keller’s programs are designed for postpartum exercises for tummy.
Best Exercises for Postpartum
After a few days of recovery, you will start thinking about getting back into shape. While it can be tempting to start working out, the first days and weeks of postpartum are essential to you and your recovery.
After finding out if you can do stomach exercises, your abdominal wall is not having any issues is when you can really start to exercise.
Besides walking, Kegels, pelvic floor, and pelvic tilts, other exercises are also great for postpartum moms.
- Cardio Workouts
- Abdominal Crunches
- Twister exercises
All these are great to do and don’t require a gym membership, so you can start at home and work your way up as needed. The goal is to regain your core strength in your abdomen, so these exercises focus on getting you back to where you were pre-pregnancy.
It will take a while before you start to see some improvement in your postpartum belly since your body is still healing, but within 3-6 months, you should see the results if you are working out regularly.
Even after doing all these exercises, you still have some loose lower tummy muscles that may not go away, which is ok. The goal should be to get the tummy back to a manageable size, and you can tone it later after you are finished having children.
If you start any exercise and fill any abdominal pressure, stop and see if physical therapy is needed. As we are excited to start working out, we might break, crack or fracture something unknowingly, so it’s important to always seek medical attention if you feel something is wrong.
Stepping up Your Workout Program
If you feel you are ready (after talking to your health care provider) to take on more rigorous activity seeking a more regular exercise might benefit you.
Typically after eight weeks postpartum, as long as you have an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery, you can do exercises that focus on the ab muscles since that is what most moms what to fix first after baby.
Losing the mummy tummy is hard work, but following general guidelines can make postpartum moms feel enough.
The first thing you want to do is think about if you are trying to lose just the belly fat or if you have extra fat in a place you want to work on more. There are lots of programs you can do at home or take outside or to the gym.
Before committing to a gym membership, make sure you are consistent with your program since it’s expensive to join and keep up.
I found an online program and showed you firsthand what it looked like. On my youtube channel, I share a routine that I did while I was in the early weeks of postpartum. You will see that I am doing postpartum exercises for tummy because I too wanted to get back to myself. You are not alone.
Asking yourself these questions ahead of time can help determine if you need a personal trainer to achieve your goals or if you need to do specific exercises on your own.
Physical Problems Might Arise
In your journey to pre-baby, you might run into some medical conditions you haven’t heard of before. Since all women’s bodies are different and recover differently in your mission for the ultimate belly, you might develop some complications.
When exercising, you always want to ensure that you are in a good starting position. If you struggle to maintain good posture while exercising, the general rule is to stop and seek professional help before continuing. Medical advice is always essential to make sure you are not going anything to injure yourself.
During pregnancy, internal organs shift, so making sure you are taking it easy is imperative right after the baby. Low back pain might also arise while you are starting to exercise, so that is something to be mindful of in this process. At the end of the day, take a deep breath.
It might not look like it now, but what you do is vital to your self-care as a woman and a new mother. Regardless if this is your first child or your tenth, ensuring that you can feel and be yourself is essential, but not at the expense of not feeling good or being healthy.
If you are looking for tips on improving your mom’s self-care life, check out my blog post, where I talk about what I’ve been doing to get my self-care game on point by clicking here.