A number of women experience trouble bringing their abdomen back to its original tone and size after childbirth. For most, a combination of Kegel and abdominal exercises will work. The change in a most women’s bodies is due to the laxity of the abdominal muscle wall. It is important to remember that your body has simply changed, and not necessarily for the worse. Some exercises can help your abdomen return to its original size. If your abdomen still does not seem to be returning to its original size and shape after you’ve give these exercises a try, you may wish to look into an actual physical reason for this.
It is important that you regain the strength of your abdominal muscles, after the birth of your baby as strong muscles help prevent lower back injury, prevent abdominal organs from ” dropping forward” through lack of support and help you to regain a flat stomach. Try combining these with Kegel exercises to get the maximum benefit. The pelvic floor is a “sling” of muscles that supports your internal organs, e.g. your uterus, bladder and kidneys. To keep the pelvic floor (also called the Kegel muscles) strong, you need to exercise them. You can find your pelvic floor muscles by stopping and starting the flow of urine when you urinate. The squeezing that stops the flow of urine are the pelvic floor muscles contracting. Now try contracting and relaxing your Kegel muscles while sitting at your desk, driving in your car and watching television! Aim for a goal of 100 Kegels each day.
Regular abdominal exercises such as sit-ups and crossover sit-ups, which target the sides of your abdomen, should not be done until a few weeks after delivery. A woman must also allow her abdominal muscles to heal before putting more strain on them. Any weight loss should be gradual and any exercise should only be done if it makes you feel better, not worse.
If your muscles are weak, concentrate on the regaining the strength by performing “Pelvic tilt” before trying anything harder.
Pelvic Tilt:- Lie on your back, knee bent up and feet flat on the floor. Place hands on your stomach so that you can feel the tightening muscles. Gently tighten your stomach muscles and push the arch of your back towards the floor. Squeeze your bottom tight. Hold the position till the count of 6, and then relax.
Elbow to Knee lifts: Gently bring one knee and your opposite elbow together. Then bring your other elbow and knee together. Work up to 20 rep, altering sides.
Ab Crunch: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor and ankles pressing down on the floor. Hold your hands behind you head and then raise your head
as you contract your stomach muscles. Breathe properly and work up to 10 rep.
Sit-Ups:- Lie on your back with your knee bent and hands alongside your head. Sit up and touch you knee. Swing your hands up into the air repeat at least 10 times.
Elbow to the Floor: Sit on the floor, knee bent and hands together in the front. Slowly lean backwards, pressing each elbow towards the floor. Repeat 2 one each side, and gradually work back to your starting position. Repeat the whole sequence, working up to 10 repetitions.
Reach your toes: Lie on the floor with your hands just above your shoulders and bend your hips so that your legs are vertical and crossed at your ankle. For a beginner, you can bend your legs at the knees.
Lift your head and shoulders off the floor, gently reach up towards your toes and return to the starting position. Work up to 12 repetitions.
Stomach Tightener: Lie on the floor, knees bent and arms resting on your thighs.
Lift up slowly, sliding your hands up your thighs towards your knees. Breathe out as you lift up. Work up to at least 12 repetitions.
Note: Do this exercise slowly and it will really give your stomach muscles a thorough workout.
Bi-cycling on Elbows:- Lie on your elbows and keep your lower back on the floor. Now tighten your stomach muscles and alternatively kick your legs out in front of you. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
Leg Stretch: Lie flat on the floor and hold your knees towards your chest. Place your hands just below your knee for support. Lift your other leg off the floor at 45 degree angle, pushing your lower back to the floor.
You can leave your head on the floor or lift your head and shoulder off the floor, as your stomach muscles become stronger. Change legs. Repeat 10 times alternating legs.
Elbow to opposite knee:– Lie on your back, knee bent close to the chest, arms behind head and elbows touching the floor.
Straighten right leg forward, slightly off the floor. Lift head, touch opposite elbow to left knee. Repeat on opposite side. Working up to 15 repetitions.
These are some of best post-natal abdominal exercises. As pregnancy and childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles which support your bladder, it is important that you make Kegel a part of your workout routine. Kegel exercise strengthens muscles that hold the bladder and many other organs in place. You need to understand that any workout will show you long lasting effect only when combined with other parts of the body , a cardiovascular regime and a well balanced diet ,one that is especially designed for a postnatal woman.
Besides there are certain things you need to consider before starting on a post natal workout like. past experience with exercise, consultation with your doctor before commencing the workout, type of delivery you have had, stop immediately if you feel dizzy or sick etc.
Let your body be the guide-never over do the exercises and stay committed.