Congratulations — you’re a mother now! It’s a lifelong job that has lots of perks but is also bound to many hardships. One of them is that your body changes dramatically, often requiring a lot of struggle to get back to your previous shape. If getting rid of the baby belly doesn’t come easy to you, then you might be suffering from diastasis recti, a condition caused by the stretching of the abs due to the growing uterus.
We at Bright Side feel your pain and want to suggest trying out these simple yet effective exercises to tighten your tummy and regain flat abs, and confidence!
Having a tight and flat tummy soon after giving birth is a rare case and only lucky few have it. Most women will need to put a lot of effort into getting rid of it.
Patience, a healthy diet, appropriate exercise, and believing in your powers are key. The speed of the process largely depends on how much weight you gained, your pre-pregnancy body size, your genes, and your level of activity. We can help with the last. Start doing these simple exercises beginning today — and the desired result will follow.
1. Pelvic tilt
Lie on your back, bend your knees, place one pillow under your hips and another between your legs. Your arms should be at your sides and feet flat on the floor. Inhale deeply, then exhale slowly and draw your abs in while breathing. Tuck your pelvis squeezing your butt. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then release and repeat 10 times.
If you gave birth naturally, you can start doing this exercise after one week, but if you had C-section, it’s recommended to wait for about 8 weeks before exercising.
2. Pelvic bridge
Bridge is a well-known exercise which you might have performed previously at the gym. However this one is done a bit differently, as the circumstances have changed. Lie on your back placing your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees, inhale, then exhale, and drawing your abs up and back down toward your spine. Then gently tilt your pelvis up and then lift your hips off the floor in the shape of a bridge. Pause for 2 seconds and then return to the initial position. Repeat up to 10 times.
3. Heel slides
The starting position is the same as the previous exercise. Get in position and draw your abs in. Press the heel of your left foot firmly into the floor. Keep your pelvis still. Inhale, exhale, and then using your deep abdominal muscles, push your left heel away from your body. Your knee is slightly bent. Change legs. Repeat 5 to 10 times on each leg.
4. Modified hundred
The Hundred is an exercise from Pilates, and in its original form it’s done with your feet lifted above the ground which makes it a little more difficult.
Again, lie on your back placing your feet hip-width apart. Your feet should be flat on the floor and arms at your sides. Taking a deep breath, make an effort to pull your stomach muscles in. Like a turtle, slowly lift your head and neck off the floor. Lift your arms and extend them by your sides but don’t lift them too high. Remember to keep your stomach muscles flexed and pulled in, don’t let them go. Hold it for 2 seconds, then breath in, and slowly return to the floor breathing out.
5. Flat-belly fly
Again, lie on your back placing your feet hip-width apart. Lift and bend your legs one by one placing your calves at a 90-degree angle. Put one hand on your belly and put the other arm by your side (palm down). Breathe in and pull your stomach muscles in too, slowly and smoothly. Hold it and in this position open your legs as wide as you can, then slowly close them. While doing it, pay attention to your belly muscles. Don’t let them relax. Repeat 10 times.
6. Towel pulse
Laying on your back, place a towel across your upper shins and hold each end. Squeeze thighs together, pulling the ends of the towel strongly. Inhale and then exhale drawing your abs in. Then lift your shoulders off the floor. Keeping this position, contract, and then release your ab muscles 10-12 times (the number should increase each time).
7. Single leg stretch with towel
This exercise can be added to your routine 12-14 weeks after giving birth. Lie on your back placing your knees above your hips and shins parallel to the floor. Put a towel on top of your thighs, hold its ends, and push against your thighs to create resistance. At the same time, lift your head and shoulders, extend one leg, and exhale. Change legs and repeat up to 10 times.
Crunches are a common exercise that helps to pull the abdominal muscles back together. They can be improved with the use of a towel. Wrap the towel around your torso so that its ends are in front of you. Then start doing crunches, but while doing them, also pull the towel’s ends toward each other. Increase the number of crunches each day.
9. Wall sit
Stand against a wall and keep your back and hips against it. Sit down forming a 90-degree angle with your knees. Draw in your abs the entire time. To make it harder, you can use a Pilates ball. Put it between your knees and sit down again. Squeeze the ball and draw your abs in too. Repeat 20 times, then return to standing position.
Other measures you can take against your mom pouch.
Please, keep it in mind that doing exercises only is not enough to get back in shape. First of all, breastfeeding is a great help because breastfeeding moms lose weight much quicker than those who feed their babies from bottles. Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, this is the hormone that helps the uterus shrink back to its previous size.
Drink a lot of water too, because it keeps your body hydrated. Hydration is key to skin elasticity and it helps you lose weight faster. And of course, don’t forget about your diet. Don’t starve yourself and try not to skip meals no matter how busy you are because this slows down your metabolism.
All of these exercises are aimed at strengthening your core, flattening your tummy, and building up stamina — bringing you closer to the body you had before having your baby. It may sound difficult, but taking the first step is crucial for something like this. Remember to always consult your doctor before starting to exercise!
Can you share any other tips for getting rid of the mom pouch? It can be anything, not just exercise-related!
Sergey Raskovalov for Bright Side