Having children doesn't make it impossible to have a flat stomach.
It is possible to get a flat stomach after having children. Like any fitness goal, it requires dedication to an exercise regime. According to the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center, it is common to have a visible "baby bump" up to 10 weeks after giving birth. It can be a challenge for new moms to find time and motivation to work out.
When to Start Exercising
Giving birth puts the body under enormous amounts of stress. Allow time for your body to recover. Depending on your postpartum health, your health care provider may authorize you to return to exercise six weeks after giving birth. вЂњIt really depends on a woman's health, resilience and exercise tolerance before and during pregnancy," says Carrie Ann Terrell, M.D., director of women's health at the University of Minnesota.
Your core is comprised of many different muscles that contribute to a flat stomach. Crunches primarily use your rectus abdominis muscles. These muscles have been the ones primarily stretched during pregnancy, and they can be easy to injure postpartum. According to Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science, the best way to get a flat, toned stomach is to perform various exercises that strengthen all of the muscles in your core.
Exercises for a Flat Stomach
To avoid injury and delaying results, ease your core back into working out by starting with simpler exercises and progressively increasing intensity as your body gets stronger. Lisa Desilet, an exercise science professor, recommends the plank as the best exercise for strengthening the correct muscles needed for a flat stomach and strong core. Start on your hands and knees focusing on keeping your back flat, drawing your belly button toward your spine and keeping your hips level. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds. When your body is ready for a challenge, alternate raising one leg at a time while maintaining plank position and holding for a minimum of five seconds.
Focus on Lower Abdominals
According to exercise physiologist Catherine Cram, your lower abdominals are weakened during pregnancy and result in a pooch below your belly button postpartum. Choose exercises that strengthen your lower abdominals to achieve a flat stomach. To start, lie on your back with your knees bent and calves parallel to the floor. Stretch out your arms in a T position for stability. Alternate extending out one leg at a time without touching the floor. Come back to the starting position and repeat. To increase intensity, lie on your back keeping your arms at your sides or in a T position. Hold a stability ball between your legs and lower the ball until it hovers just above the ground. Bring your legs back up and repeat. Keep your back flat on the floor throughout both exercises.
Breastfeeding for a Flat Stomach
Not only is breastfeeding beneficial for your child, it also helps to flatten your stomach. Your uterus stretches during pregnancy to accommodate your growing child, and it can take up to 10 weeks to return to its normal size. However, during breastfeeding, your uterus contracts helping to shrink the uterus more quickly. The contracting of your uterus and making breast milk burns extra calories helping you to lose belly fat and accelerate results.