Get Your Shape Back After Childbirth

For most women, you can tell she is a mum from the little pouch at her mid-section and the wide girth as if she is four months pregnant!

In this era, every mother should be in the know of ridding herself of that stubborn, unsightly abdomen and have well-toned abs. During pregnancy, there is widening and thinning of the mid line tissue that joins the ‘six-pack’ muscles. This infamous gap is known as diastasis recti, with symptoms like protruding or a saggy abdomen.

Diastasis which worsens with subsequent pregnancies reduces the functional strength of the abdominal wall, aggravating lower back pain.

Have you noticed that when you laugh these days, you sometimes wee in your pants? No, the jokes have not got any funnier your pelvic floor muscles have been weakened by pregnancy and labour. These muscles support the organs of the lower abdominal cavity, like the bladder and uterus.

When they are weak or damaged, problems including incontinence, diminished sexual enjoyment, and a prolapsed uterus or bladder may occur. The good news is no matter how many ages ago one gave birth, you can tone the abdomen and perineum.

Exercises for the Abdomen:

Start by measuring your waist so as to monitor progress.

Wear a gutter or corset to pull the two halves of the muscles together. Wear it at all times, except when bathing, until the diastasis heals.

Lie on your back, place your hands over your abdomen. Inhale and allow your belly to rise as it fills with air. Exhale through your mouth as you tighten your abs, pulling them in towards your spine. Your stomach should flatten, not bulge, as you exhale.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and hold a weight on your chest. Slowly crunch up, bringing your shoulder blades off the floor. Pause. Then lower down to starting position. Books make a great weight.

Lie on your left side, with your legs nearly straight and slightly raised off the floor. Also lift your torso off the floor with your left forearm on the floor for balance. Hold your other hand behind your right ear, with your elbow pointed toward your feet. Lift your legs toward your torso while keeping your torso stationary. Pause to feel the contraction on the right side of your waist. Then slowly lower your legs and repeat. Switch sides.

Standing, tuck your chin in to elongate the neck, pull your shoulders down and back, tighten your abdominal muscles while pulling your belly into your backbone, tighten your pelvic floor, keep knees soft, and increase the arch in your foot.

Lying on your back with knees bent, contract your abdominal, buttock, and pelvic floor muscles, and raise hips up off the floor. Hold for five seconds and relax down slowly. The further your feet are from your buttocks the more challenging it will be.

You can also add push-ups but avoid sit-ups as they widen the separation.

Do 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise at least three times per week. Stretch and repeat the sequence one more time.

When To Start Exercise:

Exercise might be the last thing that comes to your mind after giving birth. Your schedule may be jam packed due to the demands of being a new mum. But Dr Godfrey Alia, a gynaecologist at Mulago national referral hospital, aises mothers who have had normal delivery to start active exercises six weeks after birth – the same time sexual activity can be resumed.

“Mothers who have had a C-section should start at around eight weeks or later after the wound healing but should do light walks meanwhile, to avoid clot formation,” he adds.

Alia encourages mothers to start with light exercise – walking, modified push-ups, and stretching within days of giving birth.

Additional information from the Internet

Source : The Observer

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