Can Crunches Flatten Your Post Baby Belly?









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

this week)


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


clicking HERE!