6 Postnatal Core Exercises to Rebuild Your Abs After Pregnancy

Are you having trouble with the mom pooch?

Hey there, Erin from Blunders in Babyland here! Long after {most} of my pregnancy weight kicked the bucket, my mom pooch still jutted out for the world to see. It was embarrassing, yes, but a little painful too.

Postnatal Core Exercises - Postpartum Exercises After Pregnancy

You see, when your core has been pulled apart like a loose rubber band, things just aren’t working right. Not only do you have to deal with the dreaded mommy tummy, but you start to notice that other areas of your body fall apart. You might experience back pain, hip pain, even knee pain (thanks to your it band).

Your core is actually a network of muscles that support many more muscles in your body. That’s where postnatal core exercises become so important.

Over the last couple weeks, we’ve been focusing on tips that can heal your postpartum body. Last time, we talked about healing your pelvic floor.

This week, Kailtin Spano, certified pre/postnatal corrective exercise specialist, is going to tell you how how to rebuild your core AS A WHOLE. Kaitlin is going to teach you exactly why you need to heal your core and deliver 6 easy postnatal core exercises to help you do it.

As a mom that continues to struggle through this myself, I really appreciated just how quick and EASY her post pregnancy belly exercises are and I think you will too.


6 Exercises to Rebuild Your Core After Pregnancy

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of the links I will make a small commission at no charge to you. Blunders in Babyland does not diagnose, treat, or give out any professional advice for any medical conditions.

Core Exercises & Diastasis Recti

Healing your abs after baby is a HUGE deal. That’s why I’m going to share 6 postpartum core exercises that are truly beneficial in healing your core unit after having a baby. 

Before we begin, please see this post to check if you have Diastasis Recti. Most women do have a level of separation after birth; however not every has an injury component of the separation.

Below I’m going to give you actionable moves that will heal your core whether you have a separation or not.

When to Start Post Pregnancy Belly Exercises

If you are reading this you are probably thinking, “how can I can get rid of this mom pooch by tomorrow” and could care less about the healing component.

It’s okay, I felt that way too with my first two kiddos (well, honestly, with all 4 of them) I’ve just finally gained some wisdom that healing is essential. 

However, getting back into a fitness routine after baby cannot be rushed. Read that again: FITNESS AFTER BABY CANNOT BE RUSHED.

As women we are such wonderful, beautiful creatures who have the ability to conceive and grow another life inside of us. So, soak that up while snuggling with your new baby, getting rest and NOT worrying about fitness or when you will fit back into those jeans. 

It is OK to FEEL like you want to fit back in your jeans but it’s important honor where you are in your journey and not fall into the comparison trap. This season of growing and birth life is special; embrace it. 

Pro-Tip: Experts recommend resting for at least 4-6 weeks postpartum!

Why do I Need to Heal My Core and What Does That Mean?

Healing your core abdominal muscles is top priority post-birth because your core is the foundation of all your daily movements. Proper connection to your core allows you to move without pain.

Your core just went through some serious trauma for the last 9 months. Let’s love on it a bit, yes?

Rebuilding Your Abdominal Core is a Mental Game Too

Let me just lay it out flat for you; after you have a baby there are messages EVERYWHERE telling you that you need to do XYZ in order to bounce back after having a baby. 

  1. Bouncing back does not exist; do you want to erase the fact that you grew a life?
  2. Taking time to HEAL YOU CORE through rehabilitation takes a mental shift, its slow, it can feel like a nuisance and you’ll want to rush and jump into other things. DON’T!
  3. The SLOWER you take time to heal; the better off you will be down the road. The more time you take to heal and truly connect to your inner core, the STRONGER you will become in whatever fitness regimen you enjoy. 
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6 Postnatal Core Exercises to Heal Your Abs After Baby

1 Diaphragmatic Breathing

You must first master and be accustomed to diaphragmatic breathing correctly before moving to each step.

In order to heal your core you MUST start with the small step first. You breathe on average 22,000-25,000 times a day; so you have many opportunities to practice!

One cannot run without first walking, right? It’s the same concept when we are discussing healing your core. 

Diaphragmatic Breathing is the one exercise that can be done immediately after birth.

It is going to help you reconnect with your inner core unit that was just stretched to the max growing baby. Diaphragmatic breathing will regulate the pressure in your abdomen properly, provide more oxygen to your blood, and put your body back in a parasympathetic state.

2 Belly Pumping

Belly Pumping is a diaphragmatic breath with an active core; meaning on the inhale, you expand your belly, pelvic floor and back.

On the exhale you bring up all 4 corners of your pelvic floor, while wrapping your transverse abdominus all the way up to bottom of ribcage. It is the exhale movement you want to perform on the load of any movement.

This active breath is safe to start a few days after birth. Doing this form of active breathing is going to slowly knit your core 4 back into unison after being stretched out from the expansion of baby!

3 Bridge

Bridge - Abdominal Core Exercises After Pregnancy

This pose is beneficial for your core AND your glutes. Those of us with weak glutes tend to experience low back pain, pelvic pain and weak core muscles.

Many new mothers suffer from a “flat butt” which is really just weak glute muscles.

Doing a bridge will help you fire up that core and build a strong backside. Bridge pose also puts your pelvis back into alignment after your pregnancy. 

4 Side Plank

Side Plank - Rebuild Core After Pregnancy

This is a great postpartum ab exercise for the obliques, the sides of your core unit. Side Plank is more challenging than the other 3 exercises and will allow you a new opportunity to engage your deep core muscle without adding extra stress to your mid-line.

This move allows you to restrengthen & rehabilitate  your core in a challenging posture.

5 Bird Dog

Side Plank - Rebuild Core After Pregnancy

Bird dog is a great exercise to lengthen your body while building a strong core and glutes. It corrects imbalances on the left and right sides of the body putting it back into alignment. Be sure to keep your back straight, your core engaged, and allow the exhale to guide the extension of your legs and arms.

Resist swaying of your spine and hips; keep them neutral throughout the lift of your arms & legs. 

6 Leg Raises

Leg Raises - Postnatal Core Exercises - Pelvic Floor
Leg raises are very similar to bird dog, but both hands are planted on the ground.

This postpartum core exercise really gets your lower core firing, an area that may have fallen asleep in pregnancy because of the growing baby.

As you do this movement you can really focus on your pelvic floor rehabilitation also. Starting with a small range of motion is best; working yourself up to full range of motion.

As you exhale, be sure to bring the core into the spine as you close your transverse abdominus and raise your leg in a slow steady movement.

Conclusion: Postnatal Core Exercises Heal Over Time!

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Each of these post pregnancy belly exercises are meant to be built upon the other. These moves are NOT meant to be rushed and should not be done just because its something to do postpartum.

These postnatal core exercises are meant to be slow and controlled allowing YOU, the new mom, to reconnect to your core unit. Remember, your core provides continued stabilization for the rest of your body. These moves are meant to rehabilitate your core and that takes time.

Think of it this way, if someone had shoulder surgery, they would go through weeks of physical therapy, if not months. Giving birth qualifies you for the same slow rehabilitation, even if your doctor doesn’t see it that way.

As a new momma you need this! You need to function at your best because a mothers work is never done 😉 


Rebuild Core after Baby - Postnatal Exercises After Pregnancy - Get Rid of Mommy Tummy

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