Weight gain and abdominal skin stretching during pregnancy can make toning the abdomen troublesome following childbirth. If you also have undergone tubal ligation -- also known as tying the tubes -- you also will have incisions in the abdomen. If you delivered via cesarean section, your physician may access the fallopian tubes via your existing incisions. If not, she will make two small cuts around the belly button. These incisions and pregnancy itself can affect the stomach muscles, making them more difficult to tone.
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Engage in five, 30-minute cardiovascular exercise sessions per week. Cardiovascular exercise burns calories, which helps you lose fat in your midsection. In the early stages post-pregnancy, engage in low-impact exercise like pushing the stroller around the block, as recommended by the National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus.com. As you recover more fully, incorporate aerobics, swimming and cycling.
Strength train to build muscle, which burns more calories than fat in your body, according to MedlinePlus. When you are at home with your new baby, try wall push-ups, squats, lunges and bicep curls with dumbbells or soup cans.
Perform abdominal-strengthening exercises to re-strengthen your muscles following pregnancy and surgery. Try moves that does not place too much stress on your recovering stomach, including crunches and pelvic tilts.
Breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding requires your body to burn additional calories to produce milk and triggers hormones that signal your uterus to shrink, explains BabyCenter. If you do breastfeed, make sure you take in enough nutrients via your diet to support your baby’s health.
Eat a healthy diet with whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources. These nutritious foods can help you meet your calorie needs and keep you feeling full. Remember, you need to consume at least 1,200 calories per day, but may require up to 2,200 calories per day, according to BabyCenter.com.
Eliminate high-fat or high-sugar foods from your diet. Fried foods, desserts, fatty cuts of meat, soft drinks and alcohol should be avoided recommends WomensHealth.gov. Replace these with healthy options, including water, sliced fruits and vegetables and lean proteins.
- National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus.com: Tubal Litigation
- National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus.com: Losing Weight After Pregnancy
- WomensHealth.gov: The Healthy Woman -- Pregnancy Chapter
- BabyCenter: Your Post-Baby Belly
- National Institutes of Health Medline Plus: Muscle Cells vs. Fat Cells