As moms, one of the areas we are most focused on improving is our stomach. These exercises target each area of your abs and help to whittle your middle.
Repeat series two to three times. Perform each exercise for one minute.
- Traditional crunch
- Bicycle crunch
- Reverse crunch
- Feet up crunch
Now, not every woman is able to have a natural delivery, but don’t worry C-Section moms, here are some great fit tips for you too! Here are some exercises from BreezyMama.com
So you had a cesarean section, now what do you do for exercise? Whether it was planned or an emergency cesarean, it’s time to rehab those core muscles. But first, there are a few things you should know about your C Section:
The external bikini scar is horizontal, but the inside incision of the abdominal wall is vertical. Trust me you wouldn’t want it any other way. The good news is that if you had a diastasis rectus (split of the abdominal wall) or a hernia, it was repaired during the surgery. Just remember that the scar is layers deep. Your internal organs were also moved around and exposed to air. It takes a few weeks for things to find their position again. In the meantime, gas pains and little twinges are normal.
Physiological healing time for any body part is about 6-8 weeks. Give yourself some time to heal. That being said, some of us need to ask for extra help and be nudged along the way. Nudging is what our Mom’s and friends are for, so take the help and get moving.
Although your pelvic floor wasn’t traumatized by the birth, bladder position may be altered due to the procedure. It’s just another reason to do your Kegels! More on that later.
Most C-section scars heal without any need for extra measures. Occasionally, scars are sensitive to touch. You can do a few things to help that along. First, once the stitches or staples are removed any scab is gone, gently massage the scar in all directions. Here at CTS, we also offer silicone gel sheets to be worn 24/7 to cover, protect, desensitize, and flatten the scar. Let us know if you need, extra help in the scar department. Physical therapists can also facilitate healing with modalities and specific soft tissue techniques.
Get your cardio going by walking….a lot. Yep, put that baby in your stroller and start walking. When I was recuperating the following morning after the birth of my daughter, I held onto that IV pole and walked the perimeter of the hospital floor. When I got to the nurses station, they were surprised to see me. I explained that they had instructed me to walk. The nurse responded, “Yes, but nobody actually does it.” Well, those nurses know something. Walking is the best way to get moving, manage the lingering discomfort and drop the baby weight. Practice walking as tall as you possibly can to strengthen your core.
The abdominal wall needs rehab and conditioning just as any other body part would need after surgery. So here is a sequence of exercises that should be started within 24 hours of delivery.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing:
Lay on your back with knees bent. Take deep breaths expanding your ribcage. When you breathe out, make sure you exhale completely which will facilitate a light contraction of your abdominal wall. As you improve straighten your legs until you are completely flat on your back. Repeat 10 times. 2 times per day.
Lift your pelvic floor muscles up and in. Hold up to 10 seconds. Relax and drop your muscles completely and repeat 10 times up to 3 times per day.
- Pelvic Tilt:
Lay on your back with knees bent. Pull your belly button to your spine to tilt your tailbone up while flattening your back. Relax down. Repeat 10 times.
- Heel Slides:
Place your finger tips just inside your pelvic bones. Maintain your neutral spine. Activate the muscles under your finger tips by pretending to zip up a tight pair of jeans. Your pelvis should maintain this same position as you straighten one leg, return to start, and repeat on the opposite side. Repeat 10 times maintaining the same position.
Start on your back with your knees bent. Roll through your pelvic tilt to lift your buttocks all the way off the floor. You should be able to make a straight line between your shoulders and knees…..no sagging. Roll back down through your pelvic tilt and repeat 10 times. As you improve, hold the up position and add a slight twist from side to side. As you improve further, bring your arms overhead and perhaps close your eyes. This is also a great exercise to do with your feet over a ball.
This yoga move is a great way to get your core activated. On your hands and knees, pull your belly button to your spine to round your back while exhaling. Sag your back as you raise your head on inhale. Coordinate the motion with your breath as you repeat 10 times.
- Kiss the Baby:
From your hands and knees, bend your elbows to kiss your baby. Babies love to watch you go up and down. Repeat at least 10 times. This exercise progresses to knee push ups or the plank maneuver.
- Bird Dog:
From hands and knees, activate your core muscles and raise one arm and the opposite leg. You can look down at your baby, maintaining neutral posture while you alternate sides. Repeat 10 times. Add a rattle or toy to your hand and really make your baby giggle while toning at the same time.
As stated, you can start any of these exercises within 24 hours of your cesarean. Start with just a few repetitions, maybe 3-5 and progress to 10. Eventually, you should get up to at least 30 reps of all these exercises. These exercises should become easy for you before starting any other “core classes”, like Pilates. These exercises should also be painless. If you have any trouble, please contact your women’s health physical therapist. We can help.
Another big thing to remember after your pregnancy, is that your body won’t quite function the way it used to when it comes to food. Your hormones are all over the place, your metabolism is most likely slowed, and a lot of times, women develop thyroid problems. Any kind of fitness starts in the kitchen, and that goes double for postpartum “dieters.” You need to be sure that you’re replenishing the nutrients your body lost while giving birth, but also making sure that what you’re eating is still helping baby (if you’re breastfeeding.) Your body requires just 500 extra calories a day to support your breastfeeding. As a breastfeeding mom, you need adequate fluids to ensure a proper milk supply, so drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. It’s most important to remember that what you eat winds up in your milk. If your baby is gassy or showing signs of an upset stomach, check your diet.
A big concern for a lot of new mothers is bowel regularity (hey, we all go!) A lot of people don’t like OTC meds or have allergies preventing them from utilizing certain stool softeners. You can easily add foods to your diet that will naturally help with the process!
Here’s a great recipe from simplebites.net!
|Stewed Prunes with Citrus & Cinnamon
Recipe type: Dessert
Author: Aimee (adapted from Molly Wizenberg)
Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 32 mins
Gently poached prunes are infused with citrus and spices to produce a plump and fragrant stewed fruit that is sure to please.Top them with chopped almonds for an extra boost of fiber.
- 1 lb pitted prunes
- 1/2 orange, cut from top to bottom
- 1/2 lemon, cut from top to bottom
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Slice the orange and lemon very thinly, giving multiple half-moon pieces and remove the seeds, if any.
- place all the ingredients in a heavy saucepot and just cover with water.
- Bring to a very gentle boil and cook for 30-40 minutes.
- Serve warm or refrigerate overnight. Keeps 1 week.
The big thing is to be sure to give your body healing nutrients. Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies and lean proteins. Be sure to include milk in your diet too, to be sure that baby is getting everything they need!!
And remember moms, DON’T OVER DO IT! Take care of yourself and don’t let baby get pushed aside by your wants, and don’t put yourself last getting caught up with baby. It’s always okay to ask for help!!
Much love and good luck to everyone!!
Life of a Night Owl