These exercises encourage the two rectus abdominus muscles to draw back together and reduce separation following pregnancy and childbirth. You can do these exercises after the birth.

exhale_inhale_breathingBelly Breathing

Most people don’t give much thought to how breathing can help them work their abdominal muscles, and if you’ve just had a baby, whether a natural or caesarian bith, it’s a good way to re-gain sensation in the deep transverse muscles. Correct breathing comes from the rib cage, taking air in and out from the part of the belly right below your ribs and feeling the inner most abdominal muscle move forwards and backwards. Deep controlled breathing is also an exercise in relaxation, perfect for a new mum who feels overwhelmed or stressed out.

Babies breathe deeply and correctly – just watch when they are sleeping their abdomen goes forward and backwards, which demonstrates my point!

1. Stand and place your hands on your lower abdominals, just around your belly button.
3. Breathe in through your nose and blow out your stomach – your stomach is filling with air so watch it expand! (see second photo, closest to this text)
4. Breath out through your mouth, empty your lungs and draw your belly button back in towards you and towards your spine. (see photo far left)
5. You should feel your muscles going in and out, forward and backward.

When? When feeding baby, driving, sitting.
How many? Thirty breaths drawing your belly button back x3 times a day.


The ‘nod’ neutral crunch

1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your stomach with your fingers pointing down toward your pubic bone.
2. Breathe out as you slowly lift your head and ideally shoulders, if possible. At the same time pressing down with your fingers aiming to avoid any ‘doming’ of the stomach rather drawing our belly button inside you. Imagine your rib cage coming together.

The towel crunch

1. Take a long towel and wrap it around your torso.
2. Lie on your back and with knees bent and feet flat to the floor.
3. Hold the ends of the towel in front of you just above the belly button. Lift your head as if nodding ‘yes and pull the ends of the towel towards each other in front of your belly button.

Leg Slide

1. Lay on your back with knees bent. Place a towel in the small of your back. Keep your lower back pressed against the towel.
2. Tighten abdominal muscles and hold.
In one continuous move, slowly straighten left leg, pause, and then bring it back to the starting position. Do the same with right leg. Let your heels slide across the floor.
3. Maintain tightened abdominals as you alternate legs.
4. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

You can do these exercises daily. After one week, re-check for separation. Since you are only one month postpartum, you will probably find that the separation heals within a couple of weeks. At that point, you can resume normal abdominal exercises.

Avoid any Full sit-ups or oblique cross-overs until your separation is just less than two fingers.

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Consult your doctor or health professional and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program. Results may vary. Exercise and the correct nutrition are necessary to achieve and maintain muscle tone and weight loss. Bump and Beyond by Vicky Warr is a registered trademark of Bump and Beyond by Vicky Warr Ltd., ©2023 Bump and Beyond by Vicky Warr. All rights reserved.

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