A Healthier Post Baby Body.
First of all, get the illusion out of your head that your belly is supposed to be flat because you gave birth. Trust me, I have had my fare share of comments about this including my favorite, “I thought you had the baby already?” To which I’ve replied, “No, not yet, I was just pushing around this stroller to practice. ” Your skin, muscles, uterus and the rest of your organs have been shifting, growing and expanding for months. Give your body the time it needs to fully heal from the inside out.
Whether you had vaginal or Caesarian delivery you can start with simple Kegel and core exercises to start building up your new foundation. The aim of Kegel exercises is to improve muscle tone by strengthening the pubococcygeus muscles of the pelvic floor. (No, I can’t say it either.) Your PC muscles help with urinary incontinence as well as vaginal and uterine prolapse. This way when you are ready for squats, lunges, or jumping jacks you will be stronger and less prone to urinate on yourself. Again, speaking from experience.
- To do a proper Kegel you want to think about lifting the vaginal floor up towards your belly button without tilting your hips. When you do this, you will notice that the bottom of your glutes will naturally assist, if they don’t you are not pulling in and up enough. As with any exercise you want to listen to your body, if you feel any sharp pain or discomfort you’re probably not doing a Kegel.
Your core consists of the area from your collarbones down to your hips not counting your arms. Whenever we talk about the core we include the back and the abdominal muscles. Picture your core as the foundation of your house. In order to support the walls, roof, windows and plumbing it needs to be solid. If you try to put up walls before the foundation sets properly you will get crooked walls and worse yet leaky pipes. Essentially your core has to be strong enough to move your limbs freely without causing injury to your joints.
- Start by lying on your back and slowly lifting your legs off the floor. Contract the abdominal muscles by imagining a bowling ball getting dropped on your mid-section. Once those muscles are engaged you can alternate lifting your legs off the ground in a small swimmer kick fashion. Your shoulders should remain back and down against the floor with your hands by your sides, NOT UNDER YOUR BACK, for support.
- A plank engages many of the same muscles only you are facing the floor with your elbows placed directly under your shoulders and your forearms out in front. Slowly lift your body up off the ground to your knees. As you get stronger you will be able to lift your knees off the ground and support yourself on your toes. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds adding more time as you get stronger.
Remember this isn’t a race, you did the hard part already and that was growing and birthing your baby. Take your time, your body knows what to do, trust yourself. Eat right, drink plenty of water and when in doubt, do some Kegels.