Womens Health

Longing to Be Thin

Slack and Loose

Most women are dismayed at the appearance of their stomachs after the baby is born. A post pregnant belly is slack and loose and may still be large enough to elicit questions about your due date. For some women, the extra pounds seem to come right off and their bellies become tight again quite fast. For other women, the process may take many months or even years. Still, diet and exercise can go a long way toward getting you slimmed down and back in shape.

As eager as you may be to get your body back, it's very important to give your body some time to recover. Intensive exercising before your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor are ready may lead to incontinence and chronic back pain which sometimes results from uncorrected diastisis recti, or stretching of the midline abdominal muscle.

Moderation is Key

As with everything else, moderation is the key. Start doing your exercises a day or so after delivery but don't overdo things.

Diaphragmatic breathing: Lie on your back, hands over your abdomen. Breathe in and let your belly rise as you fill it with air. Breathe out through your mouth as you tighten your stomach, pulling it in toward your spine. Your belly should flatten as you exhale.

Kegels: Tighten your pelvic floor as if holding back urine. Hold for five counts. Do this 10 times in a row, several times a day.

Pelvic Tilt: Lie on your back with knees bent. Press your pelvis into the floor as you tighten your stomach and exhale. Try to bring your navel in to your backbone. Hold for five counts, breathe in and relax.

Stretching: Lie on your back with arms at your sides, palms up. Aim your toes at the ceiling, tighten your thigh muscles and push your knees into the bed. Pull in your stomach and make your back flat. Then squeeze your shoulder blades as you stretch your neck as long as you can. Press your hands into the mattress. Hold for a few seconds and relax.

Check your posture: Stand and tuck your chin inward to lengthen your neck. Pull your shoulders down and back. Tighten and suck in your stomach toward your backbone. Tighten your pelvic floor but keep your knees relaxed. Exaggerate the arch of your foot.

After a day or so, go on to do the following:

Bridges: Lie on your back with your knees bent, and contract your abdomen, backside, and pelvic floor muscles as you raise your hips off the floor. Hold for five counts and then release slowly. You can increase the level of difficulty as the exercise becomes easier by moving your feet farther away from your backside. If you can keep your hips level, you can also try this with one leg raised.

Heel slide: Lie on your back and tighten your stomach as you tilt your pelvis. Lower one leg at a time as you maintain the pelvic tilt. Increase the level of difficulty by sliding both legs out at once, but bring them back in one at a time.


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