Exercises for Your Stomach After Pregnancy

New moms may feel like they have no energy left for exercise, but carving out a few minutes each day to perform exercises can be beneficial. Pelvic tilts, obliques, side bends and leg lifts can help restore muscle tone in the stomach, aid in losing baby weight, and provide a much-needed energy boost, according to the Mayo Clinic. A study reported in the August 2002 issue of “Obesity Research” suggests that exercising after pregnancy may reduce cholesterol levels and can contribute to emotional well-being of new mothers, as well as offer physical benefits.

Pelvic Tilts

Pelvic tilts are an exercise that helps several areas of the body; the tightening of the abdominal muscles required to perform the exercises tones the stomach as well as the body core, which can alleviate lower back pain.

Lie on a bed or the floor, with the feet flat on the floor, and your knees bent. Arms can be placed at the sides or behind the head. Tighten the stomach muscles while gently forcing the small of the back against the bed or floor surface and raising the pelvis. Hold the pose for five to 10 seconds and then relax. Work up to 20 repetitions in a set over time.

Continuing on to a bridge is another variation of the pelvic tilt that contracts the strengthens the abdominal muscles, according to the Mayo Clinic. While the stomach muscles are tensed, lift the hips off the floor and hold for three seconds.

Obliques

Obliques can be done from a side-lying position soon after giving birth, with the permission of a medical care provider, according to the Body Results website, a sports conditioning resource. Obliques work on the stomach and leg muscles.

Lie down on one side, with elbow bent and the head supported by the hand. Place the other hand in front of the stomach, with knuckles to the floor. Breathe out forcefully and lift the top leg up as high as possible, keeping it straight. Inhale as the leg is brought down. Both legs can be raised at the same time, if desired, keeping them together. Try for 10 repetitions on each side of the body.

Side Bends

Side bends are another way to tone the oblique muscles post-pregnancy. Weights may be added–2- or 3-lb. hand weights, cans or soup or filled water bottles will work–but the exercise may also be performed without weights.

Stand with the feet about shoulder-width apart, with a weight in one hand. Bend to one side–the side that is weighted–without bending the waist. Straighten up, and repeat, trying to achieve 10 to 12 repetitions. Switch the weight to the other hand and continue the exercise on the other side of the body.

Leg Slides

Leg slides, done while you are on your back, can be a good way to achieve postpartum toning of the legs and stomach muscles, explains the Mayo Clinic.

Lie down flat on the floor with arms straight at the sides and legs slightly bent. Inhale, sliding one leg down to a completely straight position. Bring the leg back to the bent position during exhalation. Repeat 10 times with each leg.

About this Author

Erica Roth has been a freelance writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science.