You are a new mum and your body has been through a lot of changes, and I mean a lot. Your tummy isn’t looking like it was, your pelvic area isn’t feeling like it was and you want to get your belly looking as normal as it was before.
You search the Internet, ask friends about the best things to do for a flat post baby tummy and all the ab exercises imaginable comes up from crunches, plank, twists, bicycles, side planks and sit ups along with programs on getting your belly back that consist of nothing but these exercises.

But are they the right things to do? Probably not but even if you have been doing them, it’s not the end of the world but as fitness and therapy has progressed we know more than we did 10 or even 5 years ago and we want to pass this knowledge on.
Abdominal muscles

 

 

Your abs are only one quarter of your core muscles. As you can see from the diagram, your core is made up of your abdominals, back muscles, pelvic floor and diaphragm and together they create a box of support.
After birth the dynamic of the box has changed and the four walls are no longer working optimally as they were before. The core is there to be able to withstand pressure so you can transfer load whether it be by lifting the car seat, pushing your buggy to exercising.¬†And with one or more of these walls not working properly after birth, the core can’t do its job as it did before.

 

An ab crunch or curl shortens the rectus abdominus (the six pack muscle) by bringing your sternum closer to your pelvis which creates pressure in the abdominal cavity.

 

Before birth as we know your abdominals divide to create space for the baby to grow so the tissue is weakened, therefore these muscles aren’t as strong as they were before pregnancy and unable to withstand the pressure they could do before.

This extra pressure prevents the abdominals from strengthening and healing after birth.
This is the same as the plank, the horizontal position creates a lot of pressure into the abdominal cavity.

So what can I do to get my baby belly back?

Focus on the core as a whole.

We want to connect the breath and the pelvic floor together. Add breathing into your pelvic floor strengthening exercises, breath out and at the same time lift your pelvic floor.

When you exert energy (like lifting the car seat) breath out
Doing this prevents the abdominal pressure from increasing in the abdominal cavity.

If you have those down to a tee, move on to simple exercises to get the core working with the rest of the body

Exercises such as the body weight squat, push up against the wall are good ones to start.

But if you don’t feel your pelvic floor or abdominals working together (or even working at all) please don’t suffer with it and ignore it. Find a therapist who can help you.

looking after you ensures you can look after your little one.