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The ball is great for strengthening and toning the muscles of the back and abdomen. You can use it to support your legs while doing crunches or lie across it while doing leg lifts. It also helps with balance training, which is important as your body's center of gravity shifts back to normal after pregnancy. Just be sure to check with your doctor before beginning this or any exercise program.
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If you've had a Cesarean section, wait eight weeks or until the incision has healed. But always check with your doctor before you start this or any new exercise program. Begin with one move; once you can complete 15 reps, add a second move, finally progressing to three moves, 15 reps each.
Ready to get your abs back? You've come to the right place. Before you begin, be sure to check to see if you have a diastasis, which is a separation of the abdominal muscles. Then, start with our Day One Exercises—they'll help you improve your circulation and reconnect with your core before you move on to the rest of our tummy-toning moves.
Day One Exercises
Even before your baby bump was visible to the world, you may have worried: Will my abs ever be the same? Genetics, how much weight you gain and the size of your baby all can affect how well your abdominal muscles bounce back after pregnancy, says Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Montgomery, Ala. So can exercise.
After the initial excitement of bringing your brand-new baby home settles into a quiet contentment, you might start to notice a bulge in your belly that won't go away no matter how much you diet and exercise. That protruding belly could be caused by a diastasis, a separation of the outermost abdominal muscles that sometimes occurs during pregnancy. Unfortunately, the separation doesn't always disappear after you give birth. And left untreated, a diastasis will do nothing to ease the backaches you might continue to have after pregnancy.