Is it possible to regain the tone in your stomach after giving birth? I have spoken at length to a good friend of mine who is a gynecologist. There are physiological changes that happen during pregnancy. Your abdominal muscles stretch. Over the weeks of gestation, your abdominal muscles literally lengthen. Because of this increase in length, there is a bit of loss of muscle activation and a loss of strength produced during abdominal movements.
The Journal of Physical Therapy featured a study which looked at several pregnant women and the rectus abdominis muscle during pregnancy. That is the six-pack muscle which is really an eight-pack muscle in the front of your intestinal area that allows you to flex forward. This muscle is stretched during pregnancy, but 4 weeks after birth the muscle almost fully contracts to its normal state.
Whether or not you are able to fully recover depends on you as an individual and the things that you do to recover. Whatever you can do to stay active, in both the cardio and strength training categories before pregnancy, the better off you are going to be during and after pregnancy.
Exercises like kegels where you raise your pelvic floor; the feeling of holding your bladder, are very effective post-pregnancy. Kegels are important because they help decrease issues like incontinence after giving birth. Another exercise that is amazing is the very simple abdominal brace. Tuck in your belly button and slightly brace your abdominals. Hold it whenever you can for as long as you can post-pregnancy. This will help you develop better tone in the deeper core muscles which will help get everything fitting a little more tightly.
The post-pregnancy time is probably when you want to do specific abdominal training and core exercises such as planking, side bridging, and abdominal crunches on the stability ball or floor.
You’ve got to regain the muscle activation in those abdominal muscles. You can regain that tone. If you’ve has a c-section, that means your muscles have been cut so it is a little bit different. Every woman will be different. Before you become pregnant you have to do what you must get your core strong and get yourself strong aerobically, and during pregnancy it is important to stay active.
After birth, the sooner you can get active and do some core strengthening exercises the better. Hopefully that answers your question and gives you a bit more optimism as to whether you can lose those extra inches and regain that tone.
The answer is yes, you can!