So you just had a baby- Congrats!!! What an exciting time! ❤️ Whether it’s your first baby or you’re a seasoned mom each pregnancy and labor & delivery is unique. I want you to be patient with your body, love and recognize what your body just went through, and focus on the positive. This is an important time in your life to learn about having a positive body image, having self-respect and love for yourself.
First and foremost a couple of things before we get started.
I never actually thought that I would need these post-baby core strengthening exercises—I worked out and taught classes throughout both my pregnancies. I was always in great shape💪🏻 But that twin pregnancy- WOW!! It changed everything ⤵️
1. It’s important to understand what pregnancy does to your body. And why it’s so important to not only strengthen your core, but to gain back proper function.
2. Each mama will have their own recovery time span. Your body will know when it’s ready- so if something doesn’t feel right it’s essential that you stop and consult with your doctor.
3. Getting back into exercising should feel invigorating and refreshing, not tiring and draining.
4. Exercise for the right reasons. Focus on your form and deep breathing. You got this mama!
A little background on my experience with healing your abdominals, core & pelvic floor.
I’m a mom of 3 boys—> 2 pregnancies. First pregnancy (Brayden) I had a vaginal delivery. Healthy pregnancy and a quick recovery period. Now my second pregnancy ended with an emergency C-Section with identical twins (Bryce & Brody). The twins arrived at 32 weeks. During my pregnancy, I had polyhydramnios (extra fluid) so my belly got nice and big 👌🏼 I also suffered from severe Diastasis Recti (DR) and umbilical & inguinal hernias. It took me over a year to really heal and feel back to “normal” core strength.
Diastasis Recti -> Abdominal Separation. I could go on for hours about DR, but I’ll save that for another time! But the main reason for the mention is that it can be a HUGE factor in postnatal recovery. And it is SO important to gain core strength and function back properly and not to rush it! You want to heal your core and pelvic floor.
With the healing and strengthening of your core, you will begin to lose that post-baby belly pooch. Of course, paired with healthy eating and stress relief. Because stress never does the body good!! And also keep in mind crunches will not help ➡️ But these exercises below will!
One thing to keep in mind before we begin is to never dome your belly. So stay away from crunches and full planks until you have gained strength and healed your DR/abdominal split.
Let’s do this!!!
So we start with very basic exercises and breathing!
1. The first thing you need to do is understand proper breathing and how to connect with your core. With each breathe you connect to your inner core. You envision your abdominals being sewn together as you inhale and as you exhale you keep those abdominals sewn together but exhale the air in your abdomen.
This will strengthen your abdominals from the inside out. I can’t even begin to stress the importance of this!!! Lay down. Keep your knees bent. And keep your energy in your breathes and abdominals/pelvic floor.
2. Heel Slides ➡️ Maintain proper form. Remember your breathes. Now add a heel slide. Control your movements. Focus on strengthening your abdominals.
3. Knee Pulls with extension ➡️ Level up. Add this exercise in to your routine once you get those heel slides down with no discomfort. Maintain your deep breathing and connection to your core.
4. Side Lying Leg Lifts ➡️ Lying on your side. Maintaining core activation. Raise and lower your top leg as you connect to your breathes. Squeeze your obliques. More advanced hip exercises here!
5. All 4’s Glute Extensions ➡️ strengthening that booty & those hips is essential! It will help create that strong posture and alleviate lower back pain. Always engage your abdominals in this movement and take it slow and controlled. More advanced booty exercises here!
6. Fire Hydrants ➡️ create mobility in your hips. Maintain core activation and remember your deep breathing. More advanced booty exercises here!
7. Wall Sits ➡️ this isn’t your typical wall sit. You complete your deep breathing exercises while your in your wall sit! Make sure you have flat back and press your heels into the ground. This exercise helps gain strength back in your glutes, hamstrings & quads! Add in some upper body movement and feel those abdominals working! And you get a nice burn in those quads!
8. Straight Leg Stretch and Extend ➡️ a more advanced exercise as you start getting stronger. No arch in your back as you extend and stretch. Start with a small movement and as you get stronger- make it bigger. Remember this is all about strengthening those abdominals and pelvic floor!
9. Hip Opener ➡️ Lying flat on your back open and close your legs. Creating flexibility and mobility in your hips. Maintain your breathing. Squeeze inner thighs together at the top & control the movement.
10. How to properly get up and down off the floor ➡️ the key is that you never want to dome your belly!! You will make any abdominal split worse, if you dome your belly. So here is the proper way to get up off on the floor if you are pregnant or postnatal to protect your abdominals!
Once that core is strong and healed then it’s time to gain strength back in your glutes!! At this time then you can also begin to advance your core exercises, but it is SO important to have strong glutes, hips & hamstrings! Check out Fire Up Those Glutes!
I’m here for you on this journey to a healthy, functional & strong core!! These exercises can be done forever. I try to still do my breathing exercises once per week!! And it helps! Walk everyday!! Just keep moving!
But ideally complete these exercises daily for at least 2 weeks before trying to advance yourself. Some mamas might need more time. Please consult with your doctor before beginning any exercises. Listen to your body, be kind to yourself and your body will thank you ☺️