The question I get asked most often by new mums is, what is the best way to get my stomach back after having my baby?
For the last nine months your abdominals have been slowly but surely stretched and you want them to get back to where they once were. The most important thing to remember that if they took nine months to stretch, then they will take time to return to their previous state. The worst thing you could do is rush the process. I know that you see all of the pictures in the magazines of new mums getting their figures back in days, but please do take your time.
In this rush to get your ‘abs back’ a lot of people resort to all sorts of crazy exercises. It is not just a matter of heading down to your local bootcamp. This can, and usually does, cause more harm than good. So what is the best approach for beginning a postnatal exercise programme?
The first thing to do is start with the foundations. The following is a key four step process that is essential after having a baby:
Step 1: Restore Pelvic Floor. These muscles are key to prevent any incontinence issues or other associated pelvic pain. They need to be strengthened again to restore full function of your pelvis, lower back and they also play a key part in flattening your abdominals. Your pelvic floor muscles are on the same reflective loop as your deep abdominals (the transverse abdominals). When the pelvic floor muscles are activated the deep abdominals are also activated and this helps to draw the tummy in and help to flatten your abs. Another good reason to perform your pelvic floor exercises.
Step 2: Close the gap between your Rectus Abdominal muscles. Throughout your pregnancy your Rectus Abdominus muscles separate to allow more space for the growth of your baby. This separation is essential throughout pregnancy, but if this separation lasts for too long after having your baby you may be susceptible for any diastasis issues. By focusing on targeted exercises to close this abdominal separation it will also help to decrease the risk of developing any hernias as you increase the level of exercise that you do. This is done in a step by step progressive way to slowly but surely increase the strength of your deep abdominal wall. The
process prevents any such diastasis issues from occurring and helps to develop more of an even balance to your abdominal muscles.
Step 3: Increase the stability around your pelvis and lower back. Throughout the early stages of post pregnant life there will be still be a presence of relaxin in your body. This stays in your system for about 4-5 months and longer depending on how long you breast feed for. While this is a great hormone for increase the flexibility of your hips and ligaments surrounding your pelvis for childbirth, it may also create a fair degree of instability afterwards. It is necessary to gain a good degree of stability in your body again especially if you are doing activities such as running.
Step 4: Integrate these newly found muscles into your daily movement patterns. With your new born baby, you will find that you will be lifting, bending, twisting and carrying your little one which places a lot of strain of your body. By training specifically to strengthen your body throughout these movement patterns you will find all of these activities a lot easier and also helps to prevent an injuries from occurring.
The above four steps are the first key steps you must take when starting exercise again after having a baby. These are the key steps to building a strong foundation for everything that is to follow. The stronger the foundations, the easier you will find it to get back in shape, strengthen your body and prevent any injuries from occurring.
My company, Yummy Tummies, works with new mums both online and in person and help them to
slowly rebuild their bodies safely and effectively.
The following are the in person services that my company provides for new mums:
Post Baby MOT: This is a 90 minute session looking at overall muscle function and activation focusing on the abdominals and pelvic areas. We also look at overall postural alignment and movement patterns to determine what type of exercise is going to be the best for that individual. Health always comes first and with that we also look at overall stress loading on the body, sleep patterns, nutrition to help to develop a plan which is going to be beneficial.
Post Baby Kick-Start: This is a six week programme where the mums have an option to exercise 2-3 times per week with a Post Natal Exercise Specialist. This includes the Post Baby MOT as this is always the starting point to gain an understanding on where the mum is currently in her recovery process after giving birth. These training sessions can be conducted at my studio in Mayfair at The Metropolitan Hotel or at
the mum’s home. I also have a team or trainers that travel to mum’s homes to conduct the training.
I have a number of online services that I offer:
Post Baby Kick-Start: This is a small group coaching service which follows the structure of the in person 6 week course. However, we hold a weekly meeting (online) where goals are assessed from the previous week and new goals are assigned for the next week. We also use this time to educate mums on exercise, nutrition, circadian rhythms and help them to move closer to their goals. You can read a little more about this course here>>>http://www.yummytummies.co.uk/blogposts/post-baby-kick-start
Yummy Tummies Blueprint: This is a follow along 15 week exercise programme that any new mum can follow along. It is broken up into 6 different phases of exercise to slower and gradually build up overall strength and control of key stabilising muscles before progressing on to harder exercises. You can find more about it here>>>http://www.yummytummies.co.uk/yummy-tummiesblueprint
If you need any help or advice then please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org I would be more than happy to help.
Post Pregnancy Exercise Specialist