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Exercise and Fitness

Muscle separation after pregnancy

06/07/2006

Question:

I just gave birth to my first child via C-Section nearly 7 weeks ago. I was told by my OB that I have muscle seperation (which is quite obvious), that it will likely be permenant, and that there are no exercises that I can do in order to repair it (or at least lessen the apperance). Is this true and if not what type of exercises can I do? I know that if I exercise incorrectly and something can be done I can worsen the situation. Any information you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

Answer:

Congratulations on the birth of your child!

Starting your abdominal reconditioning soon after giving birth will yield the best results when it comes to muscle separation.  By doing exercises that restore the abdominal wall in the initial months after childbirth, you can decrease the muscle separation. 

You can begin your abdominal strengthening with two easy exercises.  The first is called a pelvic tilt.  Lie on your back with your knees bent.  Tighten your stomach and buttocks muscles.  Inhale as you tilt your pelvis upwards and press the small of your back into the floor.  Hold for a count of 5.  Relax and exhale.  Repeat 5 times.  The second exercise is deep abdominal breathing.  Lie down on a comfortable surface with your knees bent.  Relax your body and allow your weight to sink into the surface on which you are lying.  Place your hands on your abdomen and allow your abdomen and hands to rise upwards as you inhale.  Hold for a count of 5.  Exhale as your hands and abdomen fall downward, pulling your abdominal muscles in.  Repeat 5 times.

These exercises should help you begin to get those tummy muscles back in shape after having a baby.  Start slowly and gradually in order to increase your abdominal muscle strength.

As always, you should always consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program following the birth of a child.

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Response by:

Rachael   Dotson, BS Rachael Dotson, BS
Program Manager
Certified Johnny G Spinning Instructor
Fitness Center at CARE\Crawley
University of Cincinnati