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Repairing your abs after a baby

In order for your tummy to expand and make way for your growing bub, pregnancy splits your abdominal muscles down the middle.  After giving birth, physiotherapists will encourage new mums to carefully exercise these muscles to ensure they heal and close back together.

Here are some exercises you can do to assist with this process. It is important to make sure your muscles have healed before you do any abdominal exercises, such as abdominal crunches.

Always be guided by your doctor, midwife, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist before commencing any physical activity.

Stage 1 - Gentle tummy exercise

To tone your tummy and strengthens the deepest muscle layer (transversus abdominus), here are some general guidelines. You can perform this exercise lying down, sitting, or standing.

  • Keep your lower back flat.
  • Breathe out and draw your belly button back towards your spine. Remember to keep your lower on the floor.
  • Hold this position and breathe lightly. Count to 10.
  • Relax and repeat up to 10 times per set.
  • Do 10 sets, as many times per day as you can.
  • You may like to perform your pelvic floor exercises at the same time (see below).

Stage 2 - Tummy exercise

Once the gap in your abdominal muscles has closed, you can progress to more demanding exercises. General guidelines include:

  • Lie on your back, with bent knees and both feet on the floor. Put your hands on your thighs.
  • Breathe out, contract your abdominal muscles and lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Slide your hands towards your knees. Only aim to get your shoulder blades off the floor.
  • Keep your head and shoulders stable. Hold the position, then slowly ease your shoulders and head back to the floor.
  • Repeat up to 10 times for one set.
  • Perform around three sets per session.
  • You may like to perform your pelvic floor exercises at the same time (see below).



See your doctor for further recommendations and cautions.

To read more about Pregnancy Abdominal Separation, CLICK HERE

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