Exercise for new mums: your post-baby tummy

Have you given birth recently? If so you might be starting to think about getting back into shape, especially if you’re left with a post-baby stomach you’d like to shift. What exercises will help reduce your belly after pregnancy or a c-section, and how soon can you start?

Lots of new mums are often in a desperate hurry to get back into shape. However! It is much better to take it easy instead. During pregnancy your body produces a hormone which relaxes your joints, so any kind of intensive exercise before your body is ready can cause joint problems and pelvic pain. You need to take it slowly and give your body time to adjust.

We asked USA Pro’s Fitness Expert Caroline Sandry for her tips on post-baby exercise. She said:

‘It’s important not to rush to get back into shape after giving birth: your abdominal muscles separate when pregnant, and if you start exercising too soon after birth you can actually cause them to stay permanently separated. Check with your health professional that they have returned to their original position before you start exercising again.'

Caroline has devised an early post-pregnancy exercise for new mums to start off with, as follows:

  • Lie on your back with a cushion between your knees – inhale to prepare
  • Exhale and squeeze the cushion with your inner thighs, squeeze your pelvic floor up and in, draw your tummy button down and press your lower back into the floor simultaneously
  • Inhale and release
  • Picture the muscles of the pelvis and abs drawing in and closing together after months of being open and loose
  • Repeat 10 times everyday

And that’s it! This exercise will strengthen the important muscles around your pelvis and begin to re-train your deep core muscles preparing your body for more vigorous exercise in the weeks to come.

Remember that having a newborn is a very special but stressful time, especially if it’s your first baby. Worrying about getting back into your jeans as soon as you give birth is unnecessary pressure on yourself. Instead, try to embrace your body and remember that with a little time and patience you will get back to your former self. And we say, if you want to eat that extra slice of cake then do it - you deserve it!

Thanks to Caroline Sandry and USA Pro for the tips. For more info and equipment, check out the USA Pro website.

Gillian blogs over at A Baby on Board about London life as a new mum, covering everything from baby clothes to breastfeeding. She lives with her one year old daughter Eliza and husband Alex in south London

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