This post probably contains affiliate links, to items I am in love with, and I am confident you will too! For any health advice I give on nutrition and weight loss, make sure you check with your doctor, as I am not a health professional. I am just a mama with lots of health and fitness knowledge and experience.
Healing your abs after pregnancy can be a daunting task. I developed the Ab Rehab and Pelvic Floor Restore program to include in my full breastfeeding diet and nutrition program because all mamas need it!! I can’t tell you how many of us suffer bladder leakage, ab separation, back pain and balance issues because our abs have been so stretched and weakened during pregnancy. I am so excited because I am finishing up my Pre-Post Natal Exercises Specialist Certification, and I am putting all my knowledge into this program!
In the program, I don’t just give you list of exercises to complete. I give you a plan for each week with specific tasks to accomplish, and videos to show you EXACTLY what I mean. I want you to heal, find strength again and stop experiencing accidents like I did (especially after running!!) Check out the program, and you can also grab my full program, The Postpartum Cure, a meal plan for breastfeeding mamas to lose the baby weight safely, without losing your milk supply! The Postpartum Cure is now available on Google Play, and the App store!
Here are some signs + reasons you need to heal your abs after pregnancy, and you most likely have weakened abdominal muscles caused by pregnancy:
Previous Activity Level + Strength:
If you weren’t active before pregnancy, or during, this can be a cause of even weaker ab muscles. If your abs aren’t actively engaged through exercise, walking and standing much before you are pregnant, then they are going to be even weaker from the start. For example, if you have a desk job, you are most likely going to have weaker abdominal than if you were walking and standing all day. If you didn’t workout out much, or actively try to strengthen your abs, this is probably the case. Posture is HUGE in the healing process after pregnancy, which we go over in the program.
Pregnancies Close Together:
Ugh, this is my case. I had three babies in three years. My oldest turned 4 when my littlest was 3 months old. That didn’t leave me much room to repair my abs, and I didn’t know how important it was with my first two pregnancies. My first two babies were the closest together, and because it was my first time, I never even tried to repair my core or pelvic floor. I thought everything would just go back to normal. Not quite. Now, I still have a small umbilical hernia and a two-finger gap.
Many misdiagnose the incontinence issues as a weakened pelvic floor, when that isn’t necessarily the case. Our pelvic floor muscles need to be engaged and relaxed, rather than super strong. Sure, there is some strength that can be regained, but a lot of what happens is our minds disconnect with our muscles, and we lose control. In my program, we practice contracting and relaxing our pelvic floor. I will never forget going through physical therapy after my first baby because of scar tissue that developed wear I tore, and she tested my pelvic floor. I assumed my pelvic floor was weak because I had accidents. Not the case. She said my pelvic floor was strong, and activating well, but not relaxing as well. I couldn’t believe it, but learning to control my pelvic floor again really helped! This is a helpful post on strengthening your pelvic floor.
If you are newly postpartum, you are going to have ab separation. Obviously, your muscles need time to come back together. As in months. Depending on your genetics, your abs may come back together rather quickly on their own. If this isn’t your first pregnancy, your abs will be even more stretched and loosened. I don’t recommend “testing” yourself for Diastasis Recti right away after baby because of course your abs are going to be separated. This condition is when it has been around 9 months to a year, and there is still a large gap. Following my simple plan will help prevent this from happening, and heal your tummy if you are farther along in your postpartum healing.
Low or mid back pain can also mean a weakness in the abdominals because your spine isn’t being properly supported. When pregnant, we get used to the pressure and weight pulling us forward, and our abs disengaging as the baby gets bigger. This pulls our back into use, to help stabilize. After baby is born, we tend to continue walking and standing in the same position. I talk about posture while standing and walking, even while pushing the stroller to help combat this and train yourself to use your abs, rather than back.
This program is very simple, with exercises and practices that are totally do-able as a new mom, yet very effective. I’ve been able to manage it with three little ones. I also go over diet, with meal plans and recipes in the program because any extra weight on your belly is going to pull your abs out as well. This is super important. The diet is clean, with milk-boosting foods and recipes to help your body heal and breastfeed.