Your after pregnancy belly can be a bit of a shock! Use these post pregnancy tummy workouts to tone up for your fabulous post baby body!
Now you’ve had your baby the chances are that you’ll look down at your tum and wonder why it’s still there! Whilst some women are back in their jeans within days and have no problem losing their pregnancy weight most of us find that post-baby jelly-belly a bit of a shock!
So how to get rid of your pregnancy tummy?
The first thing to think about is how your tummy has responded to pregnancy and birth and don’t be too hard on yourself if your maternity leggings are still the most comfortable clothes in your wardrobe!
Firstly, you should check for any abdominal separation and always start with simple core exercises after pregnancy. Around a third of women experience some separation of the abdominal muscles during and after pregnancy (the technical term is ‘diastasisrecti’, which sounds scarier than it is). This is obvious when you think of how much your tummy needs to expand to accommodate your little babe.
You will be able to feel whether you have this separation, or not, with your fingers. When you have had your baby, lie on your back, with your feet on the floor, knees bent and head and shoulders lifted. Feel above and below your belly button to see if you can find a gully between your tummy muscles. You should avoid sit-up type exercises until this gap has closed to less than two fingers width, until then you can focus on strengthening your core. Start gently and build up.
Focus on getting your core strength back and losing any excess fat you may be carrying. A healthy diet is crucial too, especially if you want to lose baby weight. Remember that whilst you might want to focus on your post pregnancy tummy it’s much better to try and get your whole body fit and toned as this will give you much more body confidence and ultimately much better results.
Build up your exercise routine slowly and include a mix of cardio (lots of brisk walking will be perfect!); toning exercises for your whole body and, most importantly, work the deep ‘core’ muscles (your TVA) to strengthen and tone your tummy and back (these ‘partner’ muscles need to work together). Once your tummy is stronger you can tone the surface abdominals.
The TVA (transversus abdominis) is your deepest abdominal muscle and the body’s ‘internal corset’. You can activate it simply by breathing in deeply and letting your chest expand, then as you exhale, pulling in your tummy all the way around and holding it in for a couple of seconds, then releasing. Gaining control over your TVA and working it as often as possible is key to having a flat tum after you have had your baby. Do as many daily ab squeezes as possible – aim for 50-100 times a day at least, especially as you can do this anywhere at any time, no-one will even notice!
Good abdominal exercises for soon after the birth include the ‘Pelvic tilt and head lift’ combination:
- Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hands on your temples.
- Breathe in deeply and as you exhale draw in your belly button as you lift your head and shoulders. As you draw your tummy in, tilt your pelvis upwards. Release and lower.
- Remember to make sure you lift only your head and shoulders – this is all about pulling in your core muscles.
If it feels too difficult leave out the pelvic tilt until you’re ready.
Or ‘Superman’ (we prefer to call this SuperWoman!)
- Kneel on all fours, hands beneath your shoulders, knees hip width apart and back and neck straight. Pull you tummy in and lift one leg out straight behind and the opposite arm straight in front.
- Try and keep everything in a straight line before repeating on the other side. Build up the repetitions until you can do 10-15 on each side.
- Once you can manage this comfortably try holding the pose for 10 seconds on each side, building up to two sets.