Build a Strong Core While Laying Down Gaining strength in your core after birth can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, most of the best postnatal core exercises are done laying down. Try these exercises and see the strength come back to your core.
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After giving birth, you may feel very weak, unstable, and ready to start taking care of your body after all the hard work it has done. Your core has stretched and lost some of its strength, but it is possible to fix, I promise! 

Choosing the right exercises that will safely and correctly restore your core are key to your success. 

Look no further for some of the best abdominal exercises to do postpartum that are safe and help build strength. 

When Can I Exercise My Core After Giving Birth?

You can exercise your abdominals postpartum after being cleared by your doctor, usually at the 6-week visit. However, some of the exercises discussed below are gentle enough to do as early as a few days after birth if you feel ready. 

Abdominal exercises that connect your pelvic floor with diaphragmatic breathing are soft enough to do before six weeks and are very effective. If you’re currently pregnant, you can do them too!

Can Exercising After Birth Improve My Diastasis Recti?

You can heal your diastasis recti through physical therapy and core strengthening exercises. Abdominal separation happens in almost every pregnancy to accommodate the size of the baby however, for many women, it will heal on its own after a few months. 

If you notice you are still having separation, you should seek treatment from a pelvic floor physical therapist and work on diastasis recti movements. Diaphragmatic breathing and postnatal core-specific workouts will help heal your diastasis recti. Also, finding a postpartum workout plan will help you heal your pelvic floor quickly. 

Build Pelvic Floor Strength with Postnatal Abdominal Exercises

Each exercise is targeted to help build your core muscles to work towards abs after baby. They range from easy to more advanced, so you can decide what difficulty level you want to start with. Choose 2-3 exercises first and increase the amount to 4-5 when you’re feeling ready. Remember, practicing these movements in small pockets of your day will significantly impact over time. Some work is better than none!

postpartum woman workout exercises
  1. Ball Squeeze Breathing
  • Begin on your back with your knees bent and a pilates ball, yoga block, or pillow in between your legs.
  • Inhale through your nose, expanding your stomach and chest while relaxing your pelvic floor.
  • Exhale through your mouth, bringing your stomach towards your spine and lifting your pelvic floor up and in. Audibly make a shh or hiss sound to help expel all the air and activate your pelvic floor.
  • While exhaling, squeeze the ball between your legs for 5 seconds.
  • Relax and repeat for 10 breaths.
core exercises after birth
  1. Bent Knee Fallout
  • Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and your back completely flat on a mat.
  • Brace your core by bringing the pelvic floor up and in, and breathe normally. 
  • Bring your right knee out about 45° or as far as it is comfortable for you while holding that brace, and then bring it back to the center. 
  • You can place your hands on your hips, pointing upwards to ensure they are not rotating during the movement. You want to focus the movement only on your legs. 
  • Alternate bringing your left and right legs out while keeping your core braced. If you don’t feel your core engaged, reset and begin again. 
  • Perform this movement for 20 repetitions, 10 on each leg. 
gentle postpartum core exercise
  1. TA March
  • Begin lying on your back with your knees bent 90°.
  • Pull your belly button toward your spine to brace your core and breathe normally.
  • You can place your hands on your hips, pointing upwards to ensure they are not rotating during the movement.
  • Slowly lift one leg in the air, keeping the knees bent, stopping when your lower leg is parallel with the floor.
  • Lower your leg back down and repeat on the other side. 
  • Repeat this for 20 repetitions, 10 on each leg. 
postpartum core strengthening movement
  1. Arm Switch
  • Begin on your back with your knees bent and your arms at your sides on the floor.
  • Inhale through your nose, expanding your stomach and chest while relaxing your pelvic floor.
  • Exhale through your mouth, bringing your stomach towards your spine and lifting your pelvic floor up and in. Audibly make a shh or hiss sound to help expel all the air and activate your pelvic floor. 
  • While exhaling, bring one arm back towards the floor as far as possible. Be sure you are keeping your back on the ground to avoid arching. 
  • Repeat with the opposite arm for 10 reps each.
stretches for after birth
  1. Band Pull Aparts
  • Begin lying on the floor with your back flat, knees bent, and holding a resistance band in your hand’s shoulder width apart.
  • Keep the band at chest level and inhale with a 360° breath.
  • Exhale, engage your pelvic floor, and pull the band apart, moving your arms away from your body.
  • Return your hands to the start position and repeat for 10 reps.
postnatal ab movement
  1. Alternating Leg lifts
  • Lay down on your back, one knee bent and the other extended on the floor. 
  • Inhale with a 360° breath and lift the extended leg until it’s perpendicular to the floor. 
  • Exhale, engage your core, bring your pelvic floor up and in, and slowly lower your leg back to the floor.
  • Repeat for 10 reps and then repeat on the opposite leg. 
after pregnancy core exercise
  1. Heel March
  • Lay down with your back flat,  knees bent with your feet flat on the floor. 
  • Begin with a 360° breath, exhale, engage your core bring your pelvic floor up and lift one leg keeping it bent. 
  • Bring your leg back to the starting position and switch to the other leg. 
  • Repeat for 20 repetitions, 10 on each leg.
core workout after pregnancy
  1. Heel Slide 
  • Begin lying on your back with your knees bent 90°.
  • Inhale through your nose, expanding your stomach and chest while relaxing your pelvic floor.
  • Exhale through your mouth, bringing your stomach towards your spine and lifting your pelvic floor up and in. Audibly make a shh or hiss sound to help expel all the air and activate your pelvic floor. 
  • While exhaling, bring one foot away from your body as far as possible and back to the starting position. You can use a paper plate or wear a sock, so your foot will slide easily. 
  • Repeat for 20 repetitions, 10 on each leg.
glute strengthening post baby
  1. Rolling Bridge
  • Begin on your back with your knees hip-width apart and bent 90°.
  • Inhale through your nose, expanding your stomach and chest while relaxing your pelvic floor.
  • Exhale through your mouth, bringing your stomach towards your spine and lifting your pelvic floor up and in. Audibly make a shh or hiss sound to help expel all the air and activate your pelvic floor. While exhaling, slowly bring your back off the floor one vertebrae at a time until your back is in a straight line
  • Slowly roll your back down to the floor, one vertebra at a time.
  • Repeat for 10 breaths or 2 minutes
postnatal core workout
  1. Clamshell
  • Begin lying on your right side with your right arm stretched out and your head resting on it. Your knees are bent 45° and stacked. 
  • Place your index and middle fingers on the inside of your left hip bone to check for engagement. 
  • Engage your core by pulling your stomach towards your spine and breathing normally.
  • While keeping your feet together, raise your left knee as high as possible without shifting your hips and keeping your right leg on the floor. 
  • Once you’ve reached your max height, bring your leg back to the starting position. 
  • Repeat for 10 repetitions and then perform the same on the left side. 
ab workout post baby
  1. One Leg Bridge Extension
  • Begin on your back with your knees bent 90° hip-width apart.
  • Inhale through your nose, expanding your stomach and chest while relaxing your pelvic floor.
  • Exhale through your mouth, bringing your stomach towards your spine and lifting your pelvic floor up and in. Audibly make a shh or hiss sound to help expel all the air and activate your pelvic floor. 
  • While exhaling, bring your back off the floor until your back is in a straight line.
  • Keeping your core braced, lift your right leg until it is in a straight line. Avoid letting your right hip dip during the movement. 
  • Bring your right leg down and continue to brace while lifting the left leg. 
  • Bring your left leg down and lower your spine back to the floor.  
  • Repeat for 10 repetitions.
easy postpartum workout at home
  1. Side Plank
  • Lie on your right side, legs extended and stacked from hip to feet. The elbow of your right arm is directly under your shoulder. Ensure your head is directly in line with your spine. Your left arm can be aligned along the left side of your body or up in the air.
  • Exhale and engage your pelvic floor, drawing your navel toward your spine.
  • Lift your hips off the ground with the leg closest to the ground bent, and the other leg extended straight out. 
  • Your torso is straight in line with no sagging or bending. Hold the position for 30 seconds or however long you can hold.
  • Change sides and repeat.
  1. Butterfly Crunch
  • Lie on your back with your knees open, the soles of your feet together, and your hands behind your head.
  • Exhale and elevate your chest so your shoulder blades are off the floor. Hold this position for 3 seconds. 
  • Slowly lower back to the starting position and repeat for 10 reps. 
ab exercise postpartum
  1. Deadbug
  • Begin lying on your back with your arms straight above you and your lower back pressed to the floor. Bend your knees 90°.
  • Inhale through your nose, expanding your stomach and chest while relaxing your pelvic floor.
  • Exhale through your mouth, bringing your stomach towards your spine and lifting your pelvic floor up and in. Audibly make a shh or hiss sound to help expel all the air and activate your pelvic floor.
  • Bring your right arm and left leg as much as possible toward the floor. 
  • If you notice your back is coming off the floor while performing the movement, only bring your arm/leg back as far as possible without lifting your back off the floor. 
  • Repeat this for 10 repetitions on each arm, 20 total.  
abs workout after birth
  1. Birddog
  • Begin on all fours in the tabletop position with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders.
  • Maintain a neutral spine by engaging your core, lifting your pelvic floor, and bringing your stomach into your spine.
  • Raise your right arm and left leg, keeping your shoulders and hips parallel to the floor. Keep your head in line with your spine as well.
  • Hold this position for 3 seconds, then lower back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat with the opposite arm and leg for 10 reps total.

Try These Postpartum Core Building Exercises

Trying new exercises can be intimidating, but when you have clear instructions and an action plan, it becomes much easier. With various exercises to choose from and a progression in intensity, you will be set up for amazing results.

Try these movements and see the strength come back to your core!