Many new mothers are left with a flabby or rounded stomach after pregnancy. It may look large and bloated or saggy and floppy. This can be just a temporary condition if certain exercises are performed.
Straight after giving birth is an ideal window of opportunity to use your body's own natural ability for recovery and repair to speed up weight loss and naturally tighten and flatten the stomach muscles.
During pregnancy the body produces a hormone called relaxin which allows the stomach muscles to stretch in many ways. As the baby grows, so your waistline will also expand.
Throughout pregnancy, the two bands of muscles called the 'Rectus Abdominis' muscles separate down the midline of the body. This process is called 'Diastasis Recti' and is a natural and painless process.
After giving birth, your stomach muscles will naturally tighten to some extent. After about four days the muscles will start to realign themselves. However it may take up to six months to fully recover and unless a specific post pregnancy abdominal routine is followed you may have seen the last of your tight waistline.
Any exercise that helps to shorten and pull in the abdominal muscles will benefit the area, although some exercises can do more harm than good. In the early stages only pelvic tilting exercises should be done.
Pelvic tilting exercises involve only a small amount of movement at the pelvis and no flexion of the trunk. They should be started within a couple of days of the birth for the quickest benefits.
It is vital to avoid performing sit ups or any other exercises that force the stomach muscles further apart because this can lead to long term doming, leaving you with a rounded stomach.
Some of the increase in the size of your waistline will be body fat which can be burnt off by increasing the amount of gentle activity done and by following a specific post pregnancy eating plan.
If you want a tight, flat stomach after pregnancy, then straight after giving birth is the time when you will see the quickest progress. Taking action at this stage will also protect and strengthen your lower back, reducing back ache and improving your posture.
Jago Holmes is a registered personal trainer and director of New Image Fitness Ltd. He is a qualified personal trainer with over 10 years experience working with new mums and pregnant women. He has created a website for new mothers, devoted entirely to safe and effective weight loss after pregnancy
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