How to Tone Up a C-Section Belly
Every new mom' s belly looks a little flabby after pregnancy, but those who have had a C-section may find the lack of tone to be a little more pronounced. The surgical extraction of your precious new bundle has weakened your abdominal muscles, but toning exercises can restore strength and definition to the area over time. Consult your physician before beginning any type of postnatal exercise program.
Tone up your C-section belly after you've healed sufficiently from your child's birth. University of Iowa Health Care recommends waiting until your baby is 6 weeks old and you've had your postpartum doctor's appointment before beginning a serious workout routine, to avoid injury. You might pull out stitches or otherwise reopen your surgical wound if you strain your abs too early.
Lie down on your back on an exercise mat, your bed or a carpeted floor to perform pelvic tilts. This exercise strengthens and tones your stomach muscles. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Tilt your pelvis and hips up, while keeping the small of your back on the floor. Hold the position for five seconds and relax.
Do modified crunches to get your post-baby belly back into shape after your C-section. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor as if you were going to do a pelvic tilt. Instead, tighten your stomach muscles, place your clasped hands behind your head and bring just your shoulders up off of the floor or mat. Move fluidly up and back down to complete one crunch.
Perform bridges, another abdominal exercise that will help you regain the muscle tone you lost during pregnancy and delivery. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, knees bent and feet planted firmly on the ground. Tighten your stomach muscles and lift your hips up until they are in line with your shoulders. Your shoulders and upper back should still touch the floor. Hold the bridge for five seconds before releasing.
Work your way up to a set number of repetitions gradually. Not only are you healing from your surgery, but you're no doubt tired from caring for a newborn, so give yourself a break and don't expect 10 repetitions to happen overnight. Certified postnatal fitness specialist Lisa Stone suggests starting with three repetitions of crunches and slowly increasing the amount you can do until you can easily perform 10 to 12 crunches without tiring.
Exercise three times weekly if possible. The regular workout can promote circulation and healing and is good for your cardiovascular health as well as your post-C-section belly. Remember to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated for your overall health and breastfeeding, if you're nursing your baby.
Stop any exercises if you feel pain at the site of your scar.