Exercises to tighten your tummy after your baby is born are designed to help return your abdominal region to the same form and shape it was in prior to pregnancy. Before beginning any postpartum exercise program, talk to your healthcare provider. Your abdominal muscles may separate during pregnancy -- you can further separate and damage them if you don't wait until they're ready for toning. Combine your abdominal exercises with a well-balanced diet.
Isometric exercises can help tighten and tone your stomach muscles as well as your lower back muscles. Isometric exercises range from planks to side bridges. A plank can be performed by lying on your stomach, extending both legs away from your body. Lift up onto your forearms, balancing on your toes as well as your forearms for 20 seconds. As you improve, increase the duration of your exercise.
Aerobic exercises are the only exercises which actually reduce fat in your stomach region. Regularly performing aerobic exercises such as running, jogging, biking or swimming will help you burn calories and reduce weight in your entire body. While you are still recovering from giving birth, performing exercises that put less weight on your joints, such as swimming, will keep you active while easing you into a regular workout routine. Over time, increase the amount of time you spend performing aerobic exercises to reduce more weight.
Transverse exercises are designed to target the transverse muscles, located in your abdominal region. Transverse exercises such as scissor kicks, pelvic tilts and lifted-leg pushups will help tighten your stomach muscles, reducing the tummy that you developed during your pregnancy. Another transverse exercise, referred to as a "no crunch" exercise, requires you to lie flat on your back with both hands just below your belly button. From here, bring your lower abdomen down to the floor, keeping your pelvis in place for the duration of the exercise. Hold for 10 seconds before returning up.
Leg and Abdominal Stretching Exercises
Leg and abdominal stretching exercises will improve your flexibility as well as your definition in your stomach region. Exercises such as single leg circles will help improve range of motion while strengthening your stomach. Lie down on your back with your arms at your sides and legs extended. From here, lift your right leg up as high as you can. Holding this position, rotate your leg in a clockwise manner 10 times. Bring your leg back down and repeat with your left leg.
- NHS Wales, Health in Wales: What is Separation of the Abdominal Muscles After Childbirth (Also Known as Divarication of Rectus Abdominis)?
- Parents: Post-Baby Ab Rehab Workout
- University of California, Berkeley: Berkeley Parents Network: Postpartum Tummy
- National Institutes of Health, PubMed Health: Diastasis Recti