Exercise! - Post-baby, but the belly won't budge

04-27-2007, 07:25 PM
Cross-posted from "Dieting with Obstacles":

Like a lot of women, I have the post-baby mom belly. I never exactly had flat abs, but now I'm just mush. I have some degree of abdominal separation and am just generally flabby and undefined in the middle. Anyone else? I can't even do a SINGLE sit up and I had this child over a year ago. It's like there's just nothing going on when I suck in or try to do a crunch.

Has anyone had any success at least somewhat getting strenght back in the belly? I'm not even hoping for a six pack, but I keep thinking that if I get pregnant again I'll have no abs to hold everything in place, besides the fact that I now weigh less than I did pre-baby (scary) and am easily two sizes bigger in the waist (and don't you know THAT makes clothes buying fun).

I have Lose Your Mummy Tummy by Julie Tupler but I haven't been able to READ it, let alone put it into practice. I'm really looking for any advice, thoughts, commiseration, or fellow (sister?) starters on the path to stronger abs.


04-27-2007, 10:11 PM
Here's a bump in hopes that someone will have the answer. I have this problem as well. It's been 3 years since my last baby, I do crunches but my belly doesn't seem to have shrunk and inch! I have lost almost 40 pounds so far and none in my stomach!!!

04-27-2007, 10:52 PM
I am pretty sure that to loose the belly the only way to do it is to loose fat. I too have more fat on my belly since kids. This seems like a common thing. It a pain.

That said abdominal strength is really important. And bringing it back after a pregnancy takes time. I don't have a picture but the bicycle manuver is a great exercise (crunches which alternate right left while your feet do a bicycle thing).

Also exercises that make you stabilize your mid area are good. Plank comes to mind where you hold yourself in push up position for as long as you can. (Start 10-30 seconds and work up to 60 seconds)

I am not sure about plank but any variation of a crunch (bicycle manuver included) can exacerbate a separation. I hope someone will chime in to address that issue in particular.

04-27-2007, 11:15 PM
Speaking of the Plank, I found a picture of it for you as well as some more Ab exercises. :)


04-27-2007, 11:15 PM
I hear ya sister! DD#2 will be turning 1 soon, and I have the mommy pouch too :o

I think cardio and Pilates are the best way to go as far as exercise goes - as for nutrition, I believe in eating fresh, unprocessed foods but to be honest I simply don't have time to make all my meals and snacks so for the time being I'll be also using a meal replacement powder for a couple of meals a day. There is so much crap out there! I finally found one that's good quality: it's called Perfect Meal by garden of Life. They have some good products. there is also another one called Reset that's pretty good, I don't know who makes it though. They are both available at Whole Foods.

If you need help getting started and creating a healthier routine, grab a copy of Jonny Bowden's "Shape-Up workbook" - he helps you improve your eating, exercise habits and lifestyle week by week, gradually. I find it VERY helpful.

And since we are in the same kind of predicament, let me know if you want to buddy-up! you can pm me) :)

04-28-2007, 01:57 AM
Thank you all for your responses. Hiker, the plank move is one I am familiar with and it's about the only thing I know for sure won't make the seperation worse. I'm not AT ALL thinking I can do some crunches and "poof" have a thin midsection (if only!), I just know that if I can draw those muscles back together I'll be stronger and my midsection will be smaller (as there won't be a several inch gap between those muscles). I know the fat will still be there until I diet off as much of it as possible (let us not speak of loose post-baby skin).

Brendansmum - do you also have the ab seperation? I think as many as 98% of moms end up with at least some (and our doctors don't mention this WHY?) and it won't just heal itself. I have really had to search out info on pulling those muscles back together. I've heard the Mummy Tummy book is good but like I said, I've not really set aside the time to read it and put it into practice. It's rather a lot of reading for a book on ONE area of the body! I am now putting aside all fun reading until I finish it. I'll try to come back and review it for you, but there are tons on Amazon if you're interested. It does say crunches are ineffective and can make things worse so in a lot of ways I'm afraid to try too many things. Anything with twisting is apparently BAD, but lots of people have luck with T.Tapp which involves quite a big of twisting.

Diva, thank you for the link!

FitMom, thanks for the book rec. I will check it out. I have tried Pilates but in all honestly, I get very bored. I've ALWAYS had trouble doing strength work because while I love aerobic exercise, I am very impatient with slow things like strenght training. And I've read that the hundred (is that right) from Pilates can also make the ab seperation worse. Again, it's almost like I've read just enough to be scared to try anything, but enough to have a solution.

Again, thanks!

04-28-2007, 09:12 AM
Yes, I definatly have the muscle seperation! I have a nice apron of skin/fat hanging over into my lap. My first son really stretched me out he was 10 pounds 3 oz. I also have had 2 c-sections. As I'm laying there on the table being stapled my OB says, "oh you'll have to have a tummy tuck to fix this". I'm like what are you talking about then after I fully recover I see what he's talking about. I've heard that you really can't get the full muscle tone to return unless you do get a tuck. But I'm sure there are a lot who will say otherwise. I hope for our sakes that is not the case. Keep trying, I know I will!

04-28-2007, 11:54 AM
I had a pretty good experience with my section (very thin flat scar, no permanent loss of feeling, really easy recovery) but the tummy flop is um...well, not cool. And I've only had my FIRST. I think when I'm done having kids, a tuck is certainly something I'm going to consider. I know diet and exercise can only do so much and I'm willing to put the work in but it's going to suck to work out like a crazy person and lose all that weight and still have a mushy midsection!

04-29-2007, 11:43 AM
I tell my husband the exact same thing. I'm working so hard cutting calories, working out everyday and I still won't be able to wear a binkini. He says sure you will, I was like are you kidding! My belly will be all wrinkly and nasty looking. I'm trying to talk him into getting me a tummy tuck and breast lift since that now seems to be a problem as well.

04-29-2007, 11:52 AM
I'll prolly need a breast lift & tummy tuck as well, but I don't think my insurance will cover it, and I seriously doubt we'll ever have the money to pay on our own, so even if I do lose this weight, I will most likely STILL be uncomfotable in a swim suit and still be self conscious getting naked wiith my man, but at least shorts and short sleeve and sleeveless tops might be alright. I just wanna be smaller and to not have to shop in the fat lady area anymore. I wanna be able to workout without having an asthma attack and just be healthy.

04-29-2007, 06:21 PM
The only way I managed to start tightening my lower tummy was by doing a LOT of crunches and situps. I mean, I did AT LEAST 60 situps twice a day EVERY day before I noticed improvement. And that was in addition to running, biking, lifting weights, etc. And it was also only during the last 10 pound stretch that I noticed the biggest improvement. At 145, I wouldn't wear a bikini. At 140, I noticed all the difference in the world and bought that bikini.

04-29-2007, 07:09 PM
That's very good to hear. I have no problem doing the work if I know there's some hope, but it's a little difficult to get motivated if I'm thinking...well, I'll just be a droopy saggy mess at the end.

Thanks for the inspiration!