After having a baby women always end up with a stretched out tummy and often look like they are three months pregnant. If you have recently been sent home from the hospital after giving birth please consult with your doctor before beginning a postpartum exercise routine. Most hospitals send new moms home with a exercise guide. Make sure you follow the guide that your hospital and doctor gave you if it has been less than three months since your baby was born.
Once you have recovered from giving birth and your ob has told you that you are healthy enough to exercise you can incorporate this easy ab workout in your regular fitness routine to get your flat tummy back.
Approximately 30% of women who have given birth experience a separation of the abdominal muscles called diastasis recti. During pregnancy the two right and left sides of the rectus abdominis-the "six-pack" muscle-spreads apart at the body's midline, the linea alba. Normally this condition corrects itself after the baby is born but for some women this mommy belly stays with them for years after giving birth.
How can you tell if you have diastasis recti?
If you have this condition you will have to work extra hard to flatten your tummy. But this is correctable as long as you do the right abdominal exercises.
To test for diastasis recti first lay down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Relax your head and shoulders and place your fingers (palm facing you) just above your belly button.
Lift your head, neck and shoulders off of the floor slightly as if you are doing a basic crunch. If you can place one or more of your fingers in a gap between your abdominal muscles that is the diastasis. You will feel the muscles close in around your fingers as you lift your head and neck. Don’t lift your shoulders up too high.
You can repeat this test in two other places, directly below your belly button and a couple of inches above the belly button. If the separation is one or two finger lengths then you are safe and do not have diastasis recti. Some women with this condition can have up to a ten finger gap. But don't panic, because this is correctable.
Abdominal exercises to get rid of your mommy belly and fix a diastasis recti
A basic crunch does help strengthen the abdominal muscles although doing this alone will not correct a diastasis. Most experts including Julie Tupler, inventor if the Tupler Technique reccomend binding the tummy along with abdominal exercises to fix a diastasis. This does help, although not everyone can afford the expensive Diastasis Rehab Splint® offered on the Tupler Technique website. Using a simple waist trimmer or slimmer belt during your exercise routine will produce the same results.
The bicycle crunch will strengthen and tighten the transverse abdominal muscle and the obliques. Lay down on your back with your knees slightly bent. Place your hands behind your ears and slowly lift up while bringing your knees one at a time up to your chest. Rotate your knees like you are riding a bicycle. Repeat this for sixteen reps.
Pulse Up Crunch
This crunch helps strengthen the lower abdominal muscles. Lay down on your back with your legs up in the air. Make sure you have a slight bend in your knee. Lift up your back with your arms strait and reach for your toes. Repeat this for sixteen reps.
Swiss Ball Pike
Working out with a fitness ball will give you a tighter and stronger core. Put your feet on the ball with your hands on the floor. Bring the ball toward you with your feet. Repeat for sixteen reps.
Side planks help strengthen your core muscles including those on your back. Lay down on your side and lift yourself up off of the floor. One arm should be resting on the floor while the other one is either up in the air or you can place your hand on your hip. Keep your body raised off of the floor for at least 20 seconds. Repeat this on your other side.
I do these exercises every evening before I go to bed in order to keep my core strong and my mommy belly tight. Doing this workout 3-5 days a week will also produce similar results. Make sure you consult with your doctor before attempting any fitness routine.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012 Cascia Talbert diastasis recti, fitness, postpartum exercises
Cascia Talbert is a mother of five children, health and fitness enthusiast, positive parenting supporter and founder of the Healthy Moms Magazine. She is a featured blogger at wellsphere.com, often has her content featured on the popular news app, News360, and The Healthy Moms Magazine was ranked the number one health blog for moms from RNCentral.com. Cascia also blogs at talbertzoo.com. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and five children.