Ab Exercises After Pregnancy

by ModernMom Staff

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Women who have gone through a pregnancy often have the same or similar experiences. After giving birth they are not only heavier but their bodies are not of the same shape and size as they were before they were pregnant.

Pregnancy and childbirth can be traumatic. A woman's abdominal muscles will be both stretched and weakened after giving birth, and her body will not automatically restore itself to its original condition. However, a woman can tighten these muscles and slim down the abdominal area with proper exercise.*

How a Young Mother Can Look Great Again

Women who have recently given birth are advised to perform low-intensity exercises that will strengthen and shape their body cores. The best exercises are those that will work the muscles of the back and spine and those in the front and sides of the abdomen. It is these muscles that give shape to the trunk of a person's body, and also gives it the flexibility to twist and turn. In addition to restoring the shape of a woman's body, exercising the back and abdominal muscles will provide increased support to a young mother when carrying around her newborn baby.

Light aerobic exercises can be done only days after giving birth, but women are advised to wait some time before beginning abdominal toning. Such exercises can begin about five months after giving birth, providing the woman did not experience complications during the pregnancy. An additional factor to be considered is whether she had a normal birth or a Caesarean section.

Even before starting abdominal exercises, a woman should always make sure she is ready for them. This can be done by physically checking the gap between the abdominal muscles that spread apart during pregnancy to determine whether they have properly closed. Lying flat on her back with her knees bent, the woman should place her left hand atop the lower portion of her abdomen, pointed towards her legs, and her right hand under her thigh. As the muscles contract, the gap between them can be felt. This gap should not be more than the width of two of her fingers, and if it is, such exercising should be postponed.

The Best Types of Abdominal Exercises

The easiest type of abdominal exercise can be performed while standing. The use of small dumbbells weighing 5 pounds can enhance the exercise. Holding the weights, the woman simply turns side-to-side and bends forward during the exercise period.

Floor exercises are a fantastic way to exercise one's abdominal area. One of these involves the woman lying flat on her back with her knees bent and lifting her head off the ground, and holding that position as the muscles tighten. This exercise should be repeated 10 times. A similar technique has the woman, in the same position, lifting her tailbone while keeping her hips on the ground and tightening and releasing her buttocks. This should also be repeated 10 times. Leg slides are done in the same position and involve raising each leg separately.

Another floor exercise has the woman on her hands and knees and then lowering her pelvis towards the ground and holding that position for a count of three. This type of exercise will improve one's back muscles as well.

A woman should always consult with her health care provider before beginning an exercise program after giving birth. Any exercise that results in physical discomfort should immediately be discontinued.

Belly Binding

Another great way to drop that extra baby weight is with Tauts by Brooke Burke. Tapping into the time-tested practice of post-pregnancy belly wraps, Tauts is designed to be worn for the first 40 days after pregnancy.

As one mom wrote, "My tummy insides had a lot of help from my undying affection for my Tauts Belly Wrap that I wore morning, noon and night 40 days after delivery - and boy did it work!" Learn more about the wrap by visiting our online store, Baboosh Baby.

Want more tips? Fitness expert Autumn Calabresee shows new moms some great ab workout moves in the video below:

*Remember, a woman should always consult with her health care provider before beginning an exercise program after giving birth. Any exercise that results in physical discomfort should immediately be discontinued.

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