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How to Tone & Tighten a Postpartum Stomach

author image Nicole Crawford
Nicole Crawford is a NASM-certified personal trainer, doula and pre/post-natal fitness specialist. She is studying to be a nutrition coach and RYT 200 yoga teacher. Nicole contributes regularly at Breaking Muscle and has also written for "Paleo Magazine," The Bump and Fit Bottomed Mamas.
How to Tone & Tighten a Postpartum Stomach
Pregnant woman's belly

Women should gain an average of 25 to 37 pounds during their pregnancy, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Between baby weight, water weight, amniotic fluid and extra fat storage, the pounds may add up fast during your pregnancy. After you have delivered, however, they probably won't go away as quickly as they piled on. Although maintaining a healthy weight is important, don't overdo your weight loss efforts after your delivery. Your body needs time to heal, and the stomach is a particularly sensitive area for cesarean patients. Consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

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Step 1

Begin perform Kegels as soon as possible after delivery. Usually, you can do Kegels the day you deliver. These exercises will help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve your core support. They can even be done in bed, which makes them a perfect way to keep your body energized during recovery.

Step 2

Do gentle core exercises for at least 10 minutes a day. ACOG recommends pelvic tilts, deep abdominal breathing, head lifts and pelvic tilts. Although these exercises may seem too easy to make a difference, they can have a significant impact on the deep abdominal muscles.

Step 3

Walk every day that you can for at least 10 minutes a day. Increase to 30 minutes each day as you heal and recover. Walking is a great way to burn fat and build muscles. To optimize abdominal benefits, always engage your core while you walk. Use your abdominal muscles to support your upper body, and maintain good posture to avoid back and shoulder pain.

Step 4

Perform crunches three times a week once your doctor gives you the green light for exercise. Start with a modified version and slowly build up your strength. Rather than lifting your chest off the ground, lift only your head at first, then progress to your shoulders. When you are comfortable with the modified version, move on to basic crunches. Although crunches may not burn fat, they will increase muscle tone and strength.

Step 5

Join an aerobics or fitness class once your body has completely recovered. Working out with a new baby can be difficult, and you may struggle to find time to exercise on your own. Committing to a class is a good way to ensure that you will get exercise at least once or twice a week.

Step 6

Eat a healthy, balanced diet while recovering from childbirth. Avoid dieting unless you have permission from your doctor, particularly if you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding women have higher calorie needs than other women.

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