In honor of my son's birthday today, I want to tell you. . . .
I did not do one single crunch to lose my "baby belly"!
So often women tell me, "I have been doing sit ups for
months and I can't get rid of this pooch".
Sit ups are NOT the answer to a flat stomach post baby.
In fact, the factors contributing to a flat stomach are
numerous and include hormones, birth complications,
body fat, diet, strength, and even sleep. Here we are going
to talk most specifically about core strength.
First, the obvious but often ignored reality. . . .
A woman's abs undergoes a great deal of stretch and
strain during pregnancy. You must have reasonable
expectations as to the length of time it takes to get back
into your skinny jeans.
However, I know moms who still struggle with the baby
belly well past their child's first birthday. In fact, women
decades down the road could still be suffering from pain
or movement problems related to pregnancy. Oh, the
things we do for our children!
So what are we doing wrong?
Exercise is great for post partum recovery to increase
metabolism, improve strength, fight depression, and
build stamina to care for your growing family. However,
engaging in many ab exercise, such as sit ups, actually
worsens the problem with post natal conditions like
abdominal separation (diastasis recti) or pelvic floor
In fact, I would say most women experience these
conditions to at least some minor degree. I mean, how
could your abdominal and pelvic muscles really be 100%
after the trauma they endured.
In order to protect these muscles, avoid any movement
that places strain on the mid line or increases abdominal
compression. These are exercises that cause the belly to
bulge outward as often occurs when you attempt a plank
position. You should be able to keep your belly button
pulled in during all core exercises you perform.
So what's a Mamma to do?
Traditional exercises performed to get a "six pack" are
not going to give you the flat stomach you desire. You
will need to focus on the deeper muscles of the abdomen
and pelvic floor.
Think of these like a corset that goes from the hip bones
up to the ribs. Perform movements that would cause a
tightening of this corset.
Specific exercise to pull in that corset include pelvic tilts,
toe taps, heel slides, sling leg stretches, and bridges. (We
will demonstrate these exercises on our Facebook page
Still not getting results?
Many women during pregnancy and post partum need to
see a physical therapist for guidance on pain, movement,
and body awareness. In fact, this is the norm in many
other countries around the world.
If you think you may have an actual separation of the
abdominal muscles, a physical therapist will help "close
the gap". You will need to start with guided, gentle core
strengthening exercises that will pave the way for more
vigorous abdominal exercises as you heal.
If you gave birth in the past several months, ask your
doctor or physical therapist for any restrictions you must
follow. Women who have had a recent caesarean section
should be watchful of discomfort during exercise. Pain
could indicate an exercise is being done too soon or
More that just a flat tummy!
Core (back, stomach, pelvis) weakness can make even the
simplest task of carrying your baby, getting out of the car,
or lifting groceries a painful chore. Strengthening will give
you a strong, stable base from which to perform all of your
daily movements and exercise. This can alleviate many
aches and pains and prevent injury in the future.
Remember. . . as we strive to "get our abs back", what we
really want is to regain strength, eliminate low back pain,
and develop a pelvic floor that doesn't leak. The flat abs
and skinny jeans are just a welcome side effect!
Are pain or movement problems keeping you from
enjoying your family the way you had hoped? Discover
if physical therapy could get you where you want to be
FASTER. Request a NO OBLIGATION call TODAY by