by Michele Carelse on April 28th, 2011 at 7:00 am
Nine months is a long time for a woman’s body to endure hormonal and physical changes. This is why it is not uncommon for women to feel concerned about getting their body back in shape. Luckily, learning how to tone the stomach and strengthen the pelvic muscles can be done with a few simple moves.
After birth, your stomach muscles will feel very weak. These exercises can be started within a few days after birth. Try doing the following exercises three times each, around every two hours. They are best done lying on your back with your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor.
- Contract and relax your abdominal muscles, breathing deeply in and out – remember to pull your stomach in when you breathe out.
- Repeat the exercise above, this time with gentle pelvic tilts. As you contract your stomach muscles, gently tilt the pelvic bones on either side of your navel towards your upper body and hold there for the count of five. This should help alleviate any backache, as well as tone your stomach muscles.
Strengthening your pelvic muscles
You can begin doing pelvic floor exercises as soon as you feel ready after birth. It is important to strengthen these muscles as they are the ones that stop the flow of urine. Contracting and releasing these muscles regularly will over time stimulate the blood flow to the area which will help to repair damage to the soft pelvic tissues and ligaments. Build up gradually, doing a few at a time, at regular intervals. Also, it can take a period of about six to eight weeks for your uterus to return to its normal size.
Look after your back!
The relaxant effect of pregnancy hormones on your muscles and ligaments can last for some time – sometimes several months after giving birth to your child. Therefore, it is crucial that you guard against back strain and other similar injuries.
Be careful when picking up things or lifting and carrying your baby. Watch out for your posture, especially when breastfeeding, and be sure to keep a pillow between your knees when sleeping on your side to help keep your spine straight. If you are still suffering from aches and pains in your back or pelvis after six weeks, contact your doctor.
Looking after your inner self
While the physical recovery after birth can be painful and uncomfortable, it can at times be easier to understand and treat than our complex web of emotions. Be sure to give yourself the space and time to feel your emotions, to let them out and communicate them with your partner. Try meditating, reading, writing, walking in nature or simply being still.
It is important that your reconnect with yourself and your emotions. Communicate and speak openly with your partner and do not be afraid to seek help from your support system – that is what they are there for! If you find that emotionally you are struggling more and more as the weeks after birth go by, then do not hesitate to speak with a therapist, counselor or psychologist.
NewMama Drops™ Supports health, vitality and hormone balance after childbirth
This is article number 3 in our 3 part series on natural recovery after childbirth.