I personally think its important to empower women with the information on the importance of postpartum rehabilitation in the area of fitness. This is especially as most women are rarely given any instruction on rehab exercises and tips for postpartum recovery. Even if they are, they are generally given vague instructions from their doctors and midwives to “take it easy” for six weeks when in fact, women should be doing gentle core stability exercises as soon as possible. I looked at this article from a reliable source and found the exercises useful.
Below are examples of excellent postpartum abdominal exercises:
Seated Transverse Abdominal Exercises:
—Seated with body weight centered over pelvis, shoulders back, place hands over belly
- 30 Second Hold: Begin with a diaphragmatic/belly breath, then exhale and contract abdominals by drawing the belly button all the way to the spine. Imagine you are touching the spine with the belly button. Hold it here counting out loud for 30 counts. Recommended: 5 sets per day.
- Repeating Transverse: Same position as above. This exercise is a pulsed contraction. Begin exercise with a diaphragmatic/belly breath, then exhale and draw abdominals to the spine. This is the starting position. Hold this contraction for a count, and then release the muscles half way out. Repeat this back and forth motion. Count out loud for 50 repetitions. Recommended: 2 sets of 50 reps per day.
****These exercises may also be performed on hands & knees.
Supine Abdominal Exercise
- Pelvic Tilts: Lying on back, knees bent, small space under lower back (neutral spine). Begin with a diaphragmatic/belly breath and exhale while drawing the belly button to the spine. Next, engage the lower rectus and obliques and visualize the distance from the pubic bone to belly button shortening and the belly hollowing. The pelvis will gently rock back towards the floor (posterior tilt). The abdominals will be scooping backwards. Recommended: 1 set of 10 reps per day
***Can also be performed on hands & knees
Kegels (Pelvic floor contractions)
Imagine you are pulling your pubic bone toward your tailbone shortening the distance between the two bones. Imagine you are drawing your ischial tuberosities and your pubic bone together. Remember to relax the pelvic floor completely after the exercise!
Build up to 10 second contractions, 5-10 reps daily
Quick flicks—squeeze and release quickly, 10 reps daily