I’m super annoyed. I just read two articles about flattening your tummy after a c-section. Both articles said the Bridge was a good exercise to tone your belly. Ummm, no!
The Bridge strengthens your backside, specifically your glutes, hamstrings, and maybe a little bit of lower back. It will help with your pelvic floor. I love the bridge exercise. I really do! It’s great for activating your glutes which many moms need, but it DOES NOT help you get a flat stomach!!
Furthermore, these articles suggested you stretch your abdominals to help reduce the baby belly. Nothing could be farther than the truth! The cobra and modified cobra done in yoga will stretch your already overstretched abdominal muscles. This will perpetuate the weakness. This is not a good choice of exercises after c section.
For sure, you get tight muscles with nursing and holding a baby. For example, your chest muscles often get tight. You can use a tennis ball on your chest to help release those muscles that pull your shoulders forward. Please avoid doing the cobra and upward dog exercises in the early postpartum days.
So what should you do when you’re ready to get back into exercising after baby? Here are a couple ideal choices.
Postnatal Exercises After C section
The Missing Piece
There is a missing exercise when it comes to rehabbing your abs after a c-section. That missing element is massaging your scar. You don’t think of it as an exercise after c section, but it is really important.
I’ve blogged before about the importance of massaging scar tissue. Please give that a read! In short, scar tissue has a tendency to override the function of your abdominal muscles. So this is a matter of retraining the brain to muscle connection. You can do all the core exercises in the world to strengthen your abs, but if they aren’t neurologically connected, those exercises will be in vain.
Intensity for exercises after c section should be low so you heal internally first. The doc doesn’t send you to physical therapy even though you had major surgery. Doesn’t that seem insane?! If your knee was cut open and something was removed, wouldn’t you go to PT to rehab?
You’re in charge of your own rehab. Patience will be key! Do the boring work now so you set yourself up for successful exercise down the road.
I created the 4-week Restore the Core for Postpartum Moms program to help moms effectively strengthen their core after baby.