Getting abdominal muscles back in shape

I had a C-section three months ago and my question is about my abdominal muscles. How many months should I expect it to take for them to recover and return to their prepregancy shape? I exercised throughout my pregnancy and am up to my prepregancy cardio shape - it just seems to be taking forever.


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

The rectus muscle which forms two large plates that join longitudinally in the middle near the umbilicus separate during the pregnancy and can be brought back together within one finger breadth or so during the 3-6 months following birth. Because a cesarean cuts through the muscle and blood supply and innervation supplying the muscle, it takes longer after such surgery.

Do you have a copy of Elizabeth Noble's "Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year"? If not, get hold of a copy. She discusses this issue and gives you a step by step guide on how to get these and all muscles back in shape postpartum.

It is important to do this gradually and with your back pushed into the floor - lift your head up off the floor or bed and exhale, hold for 5 seconds and relax. Do the same thing only reach for the opposite bent knee. These can be repeated several times. Repeat these throughout the day. You can increase the repetitions and time to suit your energy and amount of separation of the muscles. But Elizabeth's book is your best guide.

I hope all goes well for you.

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