What Belly Toning Exercises Can I Do Postpartum?
What postpartum mom doesn’t want to tone up their belly after having a baby? After nine months of growing, it can definitely feel like it’s time to get back to your pre-pregnancy body. And it’s important to know what exercises are best for flattening your stomach and avoiding mom pooch.
You may be thinking about jumping into postnatal workouts with crunches, planks, and Russian twists. However, there are more effective exercises that target abdominal separation and eliminate mom pooch. Start exercising smarter with these 8 exercises to tone your stomach and get rid of the mom pooch for good.
When To Start A Postpartum Workout Routine To Reduce Belly Fat
Typically, it’s recommended to wait until your six-week postpartum checkup to get clearance from your healthcare provider to start postpartum weight loss or wait until your body feels ready to begin exercising. Once you feel ready to start exercising, begin with pelvic floor exercises, walking, or yoga. You can do pelvic floor exercises before 6 weeks to help restore the mind and muscle connection to your core and pelvic floor as well. Strengthening these muscles will help flatten your stomach and heal diastasis recti if present.
Regarding reducing belly fat specifically, it’s important to remember that spot reduction is not possible. Instead, focusing on overall fitness and strength training can help you achieve your weight loss goals in a safe and sustainable way. It’s also important to maintain a healthy diet and give your body the fuel to support your exercise routine, heal after birth, and nourish your baby if breastfeeding.
How Long Until My Postpartum Belly Goes Away?
I know it can be frustrating to still look pregnant even after you’ve had a baby. It’s an uncomfortable in-between when your pregnancy clothes are too big and your pre-pregnancy clothes are too small. However, it can take some time for your stomach to shrink after delivery and it’s unique for each mother.
Generally speaking, it can take several weeks to several months for the uterus to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size, and for the stomach muscles to regain their strength and tone. Prioritizing pelvic floor and core strengthening movements, choosing nourishing foods, and prioritizing sleep (when you can) will all help support your body’s recovery.
After the initial reduction in my stomach after giving birth, it took 6-9 months for me to lose weight, see a flatter stomach and look closer to my pre-pregnancy size. If you aren’t sleeping well, feel stressed, and do not eat enough to help your body recover, it may take time to see results.
Why Is My Belly Still Big 3 Months Postpartum?
In many cases, the size of your belly may be due to the stretching and weakening of abdominal muscles that occur during pregnancy. These muscles may take several months to regain their strength and may not fully recover without exercise and physical therapy.
If you have diastasis recti, you can have the appearance of still looking pregnant due to the abdominal separation. As you grow, your rectus abdominis muscles separate to make room for baby. Most of the time, the muscles will slowly come together on their own, but if they don’t after 3 months, you should focus on postnatal exercises that heal diastasis recti.
Additionally, hormonal changes after childbirth can also cause water retention and bloating, which can contribute to a larger belly size. Breastfeeding, which can also cause some bloating, can also affect the appearance of your belly.
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer for why you may have a belly postpartum, but controlling what you can will help increase your chances of reducing stomach size. Things like core workouts, staying active, eating healthy, and managing sleep and stress are beneficial in feeling good after a baby.
Can Exercise Tighten My Stomach After Having A Baby?
Yes, exercise can be an effective way to help tighten your stomach after having a baby. Start with core movements that activate your transverse abdominals (inner abdominal muscles), which will help heal any diastasis recti you may have or assist your core muscles in returning to their normal size.
Exercise alone is usually not enough to achieve the results of a flat tummy. Maintaining a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest are all essential components of postpartum recovery and can help support your body’s ability to build muscle and lose fat.
Exercises To Reduce Postpartum Pooch
Now that you’re feeling ready to get back into exercise, start on the right foot with the top abdominal exercises to reduce mom tummy. These exercises start easy for newly postpartum moms and increase in difficulty as you build your strength. You can choose to pick a handful of these movements and do 2-3 rounds of each or complete all of the exercises in 1-2 rounds. Make your workout work for you in the season of life you’re in.
- 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 to the floor.
- Lower your leg back down and repeat on the other side.
- Repeat this for 20 alternating repetitions, 10 on each leg.
Heel Slide March
- Start lying on the floor with your knees bent.
- Inhale with a deep 360-degree breath, bringing your pelvic floor and right knee up towards your chest.
- Exhale and bring your knee back to the starting position.
- Repeat for 10 reps on each leg.
- 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.
- Begin facing a chair with your feet a few inches away, hip-width apart.
- Put your hands on the chair shoulder-width apart, keeping your arms perpendicular to your shoulders.
- Keep a neutral spine, engage your core by pulling your stomach towards your spine, and breathe normally.
- If this seems too easy, you can walk your feet further from the wall with your arms in the same position.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, or however long you can hold it.
Bridge with Ball Squeeze
- Start lying on a mat with your knees bent and a pilates ball or pillow between your knees.
- Lift your hips upward, squeezing your glutes and the ball simultaneously.
- Return to the starting position and repeat for 10 reps.
- Lie on your right side, with your right leg bent and left leg extended 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.
- 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.
- Start on all fours with your arms and legs perpendicular to the floor.
- Inhale with a 360-degree breath relaxing your pelvic floor. Exhale, engaging your pelvic floor and abdominals while lifting your knees one inch off the ground.
- Breathe normally while continuing to engage your core. Your back should be flat the entire time.
- Hold this position for 30-45 seconds. If your core is no longer engaged, bring your knees down, re-engage and keep going.
Flatten Your Belly Safely With These Exercises
Practicing these exercises will strengthen your core, close your abdominal separation, and help you lose the baby weight to achieve a flatter stomach. All good things take time but with the right exercises and a plan, you can see results much faster. Don’t continue to feel insecure and lost on how to lose the baby weight. Get started feeling stronger, more confident, and more energized post pregnancy with these movements.