Giving birth is a beautiful experience that brings with it many changes to the body. During pregnancy, the body goes through a lot of changes, including weight gain, hormone fluctuations, and abdominal separation. Once the baby is born, new mums often have the desire to regain their pre-pregnancy bodies. One of the most common areas that women want to target after giving birth is the stomach. In this blog post, we will discuss how to target stomach muscles after giving birth. Please do this for health reasons and don't compare yourself to other people. Having healthy strong stomach muscles is important for overall health of your body including your back and neck, its not just about looking good.
Before we dive into the exercises that can help target stomach muscles after giving birth, it's essential to understand the anatomy of the core muscles. The core muscles include the rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis, and pelvic floor muscles. The rectus abdominis is the muscle responsible for the six-pack look, while the obliques run diagonally on the sides of the rectus abdominis. The transverse abdominis is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and plays a crucial role in stability and posture. The pelvic floor muscles sit at the bottom of the pelvis and support the organs in the pelvic region.
Now, let's look at some exercises that can help target the stomach muscles after giving birth:
Pelvic tilts - Pelvic tilts are a great exercise to target the pelvic floor muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Inhale and relax your pelvic floor muscles, then exhale and engage them by squeezing as if you are stopping the flow of urine. Repeat this for ten to fifteen repetitions.
Transverse abdominal activation - This exercise helps to activate the deepest layer of the abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominis. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your lower abdomen, just above the pubic bone. Take a deep breath in, then as you exhale, draw your navel towards your spine, engaging your transverse abdominis. Hold for a few seconds, then release and repeat for ten to fifteen repetitions.
Modified Plank - Planks are an excellent exercise to target the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis and the transverse abdominis. Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Place your forearms on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Step your feet back, keeping your body in a straight line. Engage your core muscles, making sure not to let your lower back sag or your hips hike up. Hold for 20-30 seconds and release, then repeat for ten to fifteen repetitions.
Bridges - Bridges are a great exercise to target the glutes, lower back, and the pelvic floor muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Engage your core muscles, then lift your hips off the ground, squeezing your glutes at the top. Hold for a few seconds, then release and repeat for ten to fifteen repetitions.
Dead bugs - Dead bugs are an excellent exercise to target the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transverse abdominis. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your arms straight up towards the ceiling, then lift your legs, bending your knees at 90 degrees. Keeping your core engaged, lower your right arm and left leg towards the ground, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side, alternating for ten to fifteen repetitions.
It's important to note that postpartum women should avoid high-impact exercises, such as running or jumping, until they have healed fully. Additionally, it's crucial to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. It takes time for the body to heal after giving birth, and it's essential to be patient and gentle with yourself.
If you have had a cesarean section (C-section), it's essential to take additional precautions when exercising to target your stomach muscles after giving birth. A C-section is a major surgical procedure, and it takes time for the body to heal fully. Here are some precautions to keep in mind when exercising after a C-section:
Wait for the doctor's clearance - Before starting any exercise routine, it's essential to get clearance from your doctor. They will assess your incision site and determine if you are ready to begin exercising. Typically, women can start light exercises six to eight weeks after a C-section.
Avoid exercises that put pressure on the incision site - It's essential to avoid exercises that put pressure on the incision site, such as crunches, sit-ups, or planks. These exercises can put too much pressure on the abdominal muscles and delay healing.
Begin with gentle exercises - Start with gentle exercises, such as pelvic tilts, transverse abdominal activation, and modified bridges, before moving on to more challenging exercises. It's essential to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard.
Use proper form - When performing exercises, use proper form to avoid straining your incision site. Keep your movements slow and controlled, and don't let your hips or lower back sag.
Wear proper support - Wearing proper support can help provide support to your incision site, reduce discomfort, and prevent any further injury. A supportive abdominal binder or postpartum belly wrap can help provide support to the abdominal muscles and reduce discomfort.
Take breaks - It's important to take breaks and rest when needed. Don't push yourself too hard and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort.
Stay hydrated - Staying hydrated is essential for the body to heal and function properly. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercising.
In addition to these precautions, it's essential to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. Your body has gone through a significant change, and it's essential to be patient and gentle with yourself as you recover. As always, consult with your doctor before starting any exercise routine, especially after a C-section. They can provide you with personalised advice and guidance on when and how to start exercising safely.