Pregnancy and childbirth are wonderful events that leave a lasting impression in the life the mother and father. The changes in her body that were welcome as the baby was growing and developing have now left changes to hips, feet, breasts and belly that can take up to one year return to pre-pregnancy status.
And even at one year there is the chance that the pelvis will continue to be just a bit wider, feet just a bit wider and breasts just a bit larger. But the physical change that most women struggle with is their belly after child birth. It took nine months to stretch the skin, muscle and connective tissue so that baby could grow to 5-7 pounds in weight, plus a 2 pound placenta and the extra fat and blood needed to supply nutrients to the infant.
Now mom is faced with a belly that jiggles and moves all on its own! But relax – the stomach you see immediately after childbirth isn’t the belly that you’ll be enjoying in just a few short months.
In fact it will only be a week or two and you’ll notice a large change. Although not the belly you had pre-pregnancy it will start to regain some tone and the jiggle and wiggle will be decreasing gradually.
Many women never regain the tight abs they had before getting pregnant, especially if a first pregnancy happens in the 30’s or if you are contemplating your navel after your third or fourth birth. But with time, patience and a bit of work you can achieve and enjoy a belly after child birth that anyone would be proud to show off.
And the work is simple, doesn’t require lots of heart pounding sweating miles running on the roads or even lifting Olympian type weights at the gym. Rather you can achieve a pre-pregnancy belly using simple equipment at home in just minutes each day. And those minutes will also help you to achieve a healthier lifestyle and have more energy to deal with your new infant each day.
After your six week appointment with your obstetrician they will probably release you to do light exercise and workouts. Ask when you’ll be able to exercise your abdominal muscles.
Your best option, at least when your baby is young, is to use an exercise ball or Swiss ball, at home. These are the large blow up balls that are available in department stores. An exercise ball that fits you appropriately should let you place your feet on the ground with your knees at 90 degrees or less. You can use the ball to help improve your core abdominal strength just by bouncing and moving around on the ball. (we have some postnatal and “baby and me” workouts over at http://workout.healthstatus.com)
Another option to use, that can be done throughout the day, are both abdominal muscle tightening and/or kegel exercises. While sitting in the car, rocking the baby or watching television you can employ both of these options to improve the muscle tone in the stomach. While these exercises will help to tone the belly and improve the strength of the muscles they won’t help to decrease the fat over the belly. Spot toning will happen but spot weight loss will not. To get those great new abs visible you’ll also have to lose some of the extra weight from the pregnancy.
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