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As a mom of three, I have some favorite tips for a flat tummy after pregnancy. And by favorite, I mean the most important tips you will read to get your tummy flat again after baby. As a certified Pre/Post Natal Fitness Specialist, I’ve discovered what exercises actually WORK to help you flatten your tummy after baby, as well as which ones don’t (even though they are circulating through Pinterest). Here is a run down of my favorite tips, which I go over in my video, and also in this post.
Tips for A Flat Tummy After Pregnancy:
- Eat a CLEAN diet to reduce bloating and lose fat
- Use a wrap or belt to improve posture and alignment
- Hold baby correctly, without tucking your butt under
- Practice ab work daily to strengthen and encourage muscles
Those are my four favorite tips for flattening your tummy after pregnancy. Here’s my video that describes these in DETAIL:
Nourishing your body postpartum for a flat tummy:
If you check out the free challenges tab on the blog here, I highly recommend starting there to embark on eating cleaner and healthier. It is really important to eliminate the processed chemicals and sugars because bloating and intolerance can also contribute to a pooching belly. In the first few months after having a baby, the extra pooch is going to be left over water, fat and your uterus still shrinking. Here are some great tips on how to help your uterus shrink after baby, which will encourage that process to happen faster. As that process continues, which in most cases it does naturally, you also need to make sure your nutritional program is helping you lose the extra fat that was stored during pregnancy. The less you gain during pregnancy, the less you will have to lose afterwards. My program, The Postpartum Cure, is a full healing diet built specifically for breastfeeding mamas to lose weight. I highly recommend grabbing the app because it is easier to navigate and load the videos!
I highly recommend protein shakes as a quick and easy way to nourish your body with your first meal. Protein shakes have helped me lose the baby weight quickly while breastfeeding. I LOVE how quick and easy they are, and so yummy if you have the right protein powder that tastes good!
Protein is actually really helpful with flattening your tummy.
Protein takes extra energy to digest, it allows for your body to let go of some water, and encourages lean muscle mass. By encouraging lean muscle mass (protecting your muscles), you can keep your metabolism working faster. Protein also helps keep you full longer, which helps keep you from over eating and stretching your stomach larger. I highly recommend this protein powder for breastfeeding because of the nutritional support for postpartum mamas, the lactation-boosting blend and yummy taste.
Correcting your posture after pregnancy for a flat belly:
Your posture and alignment is really important to engaging your abs and pulling those in. You’ve seen the photos on Instagram of flat bellies when they are contracting, verses relaxed. Your belly looks completely different depending on how you are standing. As we go through pregnancy, our bodies compensate for the extra weight and make alignment changes without us even realizing. This then continues into after birth, where we don’t fix the alignment issues after pregnancy, and continue to find ourselves in awkward breastfeeding positions, holding a baby on one-side and ultimately not helping our body get back in proper alignment. In practical terms, our chins start coming forward, our shoulders hunch down – making our tummies pooch out, and our butts tuck under. Here are some things you can think about each morning, in order to correct your posture and flatten that belly after pregnancy:
- Roll your shoulders back and lift your chest. Imagine a rope pulling you up from right in between your breasts.
- Take a deep breath in, as you exhale, pull your tummy in from your belly button.
- Do not tuck or squeeze your glutes under. Keep a small arch in your lower back. This is called neutral position.
- Hold this position for a few minutes in the morning to set you up for success. Practice as often as you can!
By going through some posture and alignment practices, you can help your pelvic floor function properly, as well as pull your abs up and in. No more slouching and pooching!
Using a wrap like mine, as I mention in the video is a great way to remind yourself and re-train yourself how to stand all day!
Practice holding baby correctly to help flatten that tummy:
This is the most difficult tip to follow for me. I slouch and rest my boys on my belly and hips rather than use my arms. In the video, I show you how to squat down and lift with your arms (using my biggest/oldest boy!), then tilt forward a bit to put the weight in your arms. Most commonly, we mamas rest our babies on one hip, which can shorten our obliques on that side, strengthen on arm, and put is completely side ways. I am still out of alignment in terms of my right side being stronger than my left, and I will be posting a video on exercises you can do to help balance your body after babies. This will ultimately lead to more muscles engaging and pulling you into a better posture position, which allows more muscles to support your abs, rather than one side doing all the work.
In my program I have a specific video on holding your baby properly, and I cover it quickly here. I have found that a wrap is the key to remembering and forcing yourself to hold your baby properly. It takes the mind-work out of the equation, so you can just move properly with support. Otherwise the day flies by, and before you know it, you’ve been slouching and holding baby for hours on end, and walking cock-eyed to one side. Practicing holding your baby using the right muscles is one of the best tips I can give you to help flatten that tummy after pregnancy, yet it is one of the hardest to remember to do!
Committing to an program to help heal and flatten your tummy after pregnancy:
In my experience, I’ve found that mommies with multiple children are more committed to doing a therapy/healing program than first-time mamas because they realize the importance of regaining strength after a couple babies. Sometimes the issues from lack of ab (and I am using this term very generally) strength and control, posture imbalances and weakened pelvic floors don’t show up until months after having a baby (or even years). Incontinence is normal in terms of many, many moms deal with it, but that is because so many mamas don’t know how to fix it.
By committing to a program of some kind, you can re-establish your abs, pelvic floor and improve your posture, which will all help flatten your tummy after pregnancy (whether it is your first or fifth!). Muscle memory is an amazing thing, and you can help re-train your muscles to find their natural position before babies. A program helps you commit the time and attention your muscles need in order to do this. This is an important tip, yet a really hard one to do because it isn’t always easy to carve out the necessary space and time between kids, cleaning, laundry, food, disasters, fights, toys and all that chaos. BUT, if you commit to it, you can do it. I recommend a program that is only 10-15 minutes of dedicated work because that is a realistic amount of time to get up early, or do right before bed. If you combine this with the other tips I’ve gone over, you will be on your way to a flatter tummy.
My last note about flat tummies after pregnancy:
This is important, and I want to illustrate what has happened to your abs during pregnancy, so you can give the muscles the grace they need. There is a line down the center of your ab muscles (super general term again, but I won’t go into which ab muscles), and this line is connect with a thin tissue. Normally, before pregnancy, this tissue is nice and tight and connecting your muscles closely together. With pregnancy, this tissue expands to allow your abs to separate and make room for baby. In some cases, weak points allow intestine to get pushed through (mine did!), which is a hernia. This is something that needs to be checked by a doctor, and depending on the size and situation, could be totally fine. Mind is super small and doesn’t cause any pain, so I just live on.
As your tummy shrinks back to normal, the tissue that connects your abs back together is stretched, and it may not regain the tightness is once had. This means that there may always be a small gab between your muscles, depending on the size of your babies, your genetics and physical fitness. Each person is very unique, so if you are really struggling, and have a large separation that you’ve had for a while (and extra weight on your belly exacerbates this issue!), seeing a physical therapist may be necessary. It never hurts to see a professional to ensure you are doing exercises properly and to check your individual body functioning, alignment and overall health. Physical therapists have a HUGE repertoire of exercises for specific conditions that can really help you.
If you need help losing the baby weight and keeping up your milk supply, I have a very popular program, The Postpartum Cure, which provides you with your diet and nutrition plan to lose weight, not milk supply!