In the months leading up to the birth of your baby, your body changed in many ways to accommodate your growing baby and your baby's needs. As your baby grew during pregnancy, your abdominal muscles stretched to make room for your baby and to prepare for delivery. It will take time and a combination of exercise and diet to re-tone your stomach muscles and get back into shape after childbirth.
Just as your pregnancy lasted for months, flattening your tummy after the baby is born will require some time as well. You should make sure you have your doctor's okay before resuming exercise after birth, but simple abdominal exercises can be started as early as two days after an uncomplicated delivery.
Breath deeply. Starting to get back into shape after childbirth should be a gradual process. Deep breathing exercises are an easy early way to strengthen neuromuscular awareness of the muscles and skin in your core.
As early as the day after delivery, you can begin with by inhaling deeply. Feel your chest and abdominals expanding, and then exhale slowly and visualize your belly pulling toward your back. Start by doing five repetitions.
Breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding burns calories and releases the hormone oxytocin, which causes powerful uterine contractions. These contractions work to shrink the uterus and help return your uterus and abdomen to their original size.
Contract your abdominal muscles. Stand and pull your belly button toward your spine. Hold this position and breathe while holding the contraction. Release and repeat these contractions often and throughout the day. You can also contract your muscles while lying down or even seated.
Once your doctor has given you the green light to exercise, start with the pelvic tilt. Pelvic tilts engage your entire core, making it a safe beginning exercise.
Lie on your back with both feet on the floor. Point knees up to the ceiling and relax your arms on the floor next to you. Slowly inhale and squeeze your glute muscles, pushing your heals down and raising your belly up. Then exhale slowly and release your core back to the floor. Repeat five times.
Add aerobic activity. Aerobic activity helps your body burn energy from excess fat stores and is good for your heart. A brisk walk with your baby in a stroller is an excellent activity for new mothers. As you get comfortable, you can gradually increase the pace and distance.