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Ask new moms which body part they’re most worried about getting back into shape after pregnancy and the answer is always the same: abs! We’re here to help. These exercises will work to strengthen and recondition your abdominals.
They’ve been adapted from Strollercize, a postnatal exercise program developed by Fit Pregnancy contributing editor Elizabeth Trindade, a personal trainer and mother of three.
For 40 long weeks, you marveled at your body’s transformation. You caressed your burgeoning belly and contemplated the new and mysterious life growing inside you. But now that your baby has arrived, you’re facing the reality of a less-than-svelte vessel. You find yourself constantly peering in the mirror and wondering if your once-flat, fabulous midsection will ever reappear.
Most of us want to get our bodies back after having a baby, particularly our abs. Well, there's good news: Six weeks postpartum (with your doctor’s OK, of course), you can ease into this workout, adapted from the “Waist Away” program designed by Elizabeth Trindade, a certified personal trainer, mother of three and founder of Strollercize Inc., a postnatal exercise program.
Your body is recovering from childbirth and needs a steady supply of vitamins and minerals to heal. What’s more, with a new baby in the house, you’re undoubtedly fatigued, and you need healthful foods to refuel your body. And if you’re breastfeeding, your baby is relying on you for crucial nutrients.
The eating patterns you set in the first six months after having a baby can help you lay a foundation of healthful eating for the rest of your life, says Eileen Behan, R.D., a dietitian in Portsmouth, N.H., who specializes in weight management for individuals and families.
Keep my abdominals toned during pregnancy...why? After all, there's no way I'll have a flat belly, no matter how many exercises I do!
If that’s what you’re thinking, think again. Ab work serves a crucial purpose right now. Your abdominals provide a stable core for the rest of your body, and during pregnancy it’s critical to maintain that strong center.
Name a movie star, model or neighbor who looks fantastic and who is also a new mom. Got someone in mind? Well, there you have it: proof-positive that getting back in shape after having a baby is possible. With a little healthy know-how, there’s no physical reason why you can’t have a great postpartum body — even a flat belly. In this special section, we’ll give you a progressive workout to get your body, especially your abdominal muscles, looking better than ever. We’ll also provide tips on changing your eating habits to meet your postpartum weight goals.
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.