Many new mothers want to flatten their tummies and get into shape after having a baby. Starting post baby exercises slowly and safely will get rid of a mummy tummy safely faster without the risk of complications such as pelvic floor issues or abdominal separation. Your return to exercise needs to be progressive with specific post natal exercises. That way you will avoid any future issues, heal your body faster and minimise complications should you wish to have more children.

If you are a new mother and I’ll take it that you are which is why you are reading this blog post, you may be wondering which exercises to start with and how to do them.

To help you get started with the right kind of exercises that target the muscles that have been stretched and weakened during pregnancy follow along with my short 10 minute video extracted from my Free 5 Day Mummy Tummy Kick Start with the BEST exercises to help go from baby belly to toned tummy.

To give you a deeper insight without getting too technical when you start tummy exercises be sure to introduce these gradually. Avoid rushing straight into general abdominal exercises even if you were super fit prior or during pregnancy. Diastasis, an abdominal separation, is a common problem and many general gym exercises will make this worse.

What happened to my stomach muscles?

The abdominal muscles go through a lengthening process when a woman becomes pregnant. After having your baby you may be thinking ‘What’s happened to my stomach?” The appearance of your stomach could be down to loose skin and muscles, extra fat around your stomach or a diastasis recti.

A diastasis recti, often called an ‘abdominal separation’ is a distance or space of more than 2 fingers between the 2 parts of the rectus abdominis muscle (your abdominals or six-pack) at your mid-line.

Often the abdominal separation comes back together after the baby is born, however some women find their separation stays for some time after having their baby. The good news is you don’t need surgery, the right kind of exercises like the ones in my video above help heal and restore your tummy and the surrounding muscles of your back too.

What exercises should I do first?

Alongside pelvic floor exercises start gentle tummy exercises that target the deep transverse abdominal muscles first. By taking time to reconnect with your core muscles first with the emphasis on healing you’ll prevent future problems and if you wish to have more children. It’s also important to strengthen your back too as the impact of the postural and hormonal changes during pregnancy and developing poor posture during feeding and carrying your new baby may lead to neck and back aches and pains.

[Tweet “Start gentle tummmy exercises that target the deep transverse abdominal muscles first.”]

This is where I need to mention that general abdominal exercises such as sit-ups, crunches and crossovers and even some general pilates moves won’t flatten your stomach and may make an abdominal separation (diastasis) worse. If you’re not familiar with a sit-up, it’s an exercise where you lie flat on the floor and bend your upper body forwards to a sitting position using your stomach muscles.

If you are unable to engage your deep core muscles properly, which is very likely after having a baby, and you have a diastasis recti, the bending forward movement of a sit-up or crunch pushes the stomach muscles forward to further strain the already weakened connective tissue of the midline.

One of the best exercises to start with is the pelvic tilt exercise. It’s gentle but really essential even if your one who wants to go for it with more challenging exercises! It will also help you re-connect to your tummy again.

The Pelvic Tilt.

This exercise is safe to do after birth within the first few weeks of leaving the hospital.
1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
2. Place your hands just below your rib cage with your fingers pointing in towards your midline.
3. Breathe in, relax all your stomach muscles and feel your tummy rise.
4. Breathe out and at the same time draw your belly button in and down towards the floor bringing your fingers together at the midline. Simultaneously lift your tailbone away and up. Keep your hips on the floor.
5. Your lower back should feel as if it is lightly brushing with the floor underneath you. You want to avoid a large arch in your lower back or completely flattening your lower back against the floor.
6. Hold the contraction, breathing out for 3-5 seconds. Try to feel some tension in the lower part of your tummy.
7. Rest for 1 second and then repeat 5-10 times.
Technique Tip: You should be able to feel a contraction and your stomach tightening within a few times of performing this exercise. Keep your shoulders down and rib cage relaxed.

[Tweet “One of the best exercises to start with is the pelvic tilt exercise.”]

The good news is that whether you had a c-section or vaginal birth you will regain your strength and flatten your tummy. Although it’s not instant, it’s totally achievable with some dedication, patience and time.

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Post baby exercises here you come!

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Vicky Warr is an accredited pregnancy and post-birth fitness expert and creator of The Beez Kneez.

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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., ©2022 Bump and Beyond by Vicky Warr. All rights reserved.

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