Even if you keep your pregnancy weight gain under control, you may find that you’re left with a post-baby belly. Some of this is loose skin; only time and genetics will help correct that. Muscle weakness and fat can also contribute to your not-so-flat tummy. Incorporate a plan for your belly into your post-partum diet and fitness regimen. While we won’t promise that your life or your belly will ever be the same, you can regain a toned tummy.
Eat a reduced fat diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Breastfeeding moms may burn 300 to 500 calories more a day than women who do not breastfeed, according to the Baby Center website. Save a reduced-calorie diet until at least 6 weeks postpartum to allow your body time to recover from the birth.
Make time for regular cardiovascular exercise. Ask your doctor when you can begin exercising after the birth. Typically, you can resume light exercise a few weeks after a vaginal delivery, but the recovery period is somewhat longer after a C-section. Try walking while pushing the baby in a stroller or front carrier, working out at home with videos during nap time, or taking an hour to yourself and leaving the baby with a caregiver while you go to the gym.
Integrate crunches into your daily routine. Start with one set of 10 crunches and work up to three sets of 20, advises the MSNBC website. Standard crunches will help tighten abdominal muscles.
Slim your post-baby waistline with bicycle crunches. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and elbows behind your head. Raise your right elbow to your left knee, then your left elbow to your right knee. Start with a set of 10 three times a week; work up to three sets of 20 bicycle crunches.
Use nurse Julie Tupler’s technique to strengthen your transverse muscles. Sit straight in a chair or against a wall. Use the abdominal muscles to pull the belly button back toward the spine and pulse. Aim for five sets of 100 pulses in the first six weeks after baby’s birth and then 10 sets a day thereafter for a toned and strong tummy and back. This exercise can also correct diastasis, or a separation of the abdominal muscles common in pregnancy, according to the Medicine Net website.