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How do I strengthen my lower abs after a having a C-section?

To strengthen your lower abs after having a cesarean section (C-section) you should do core-strengthening exercises and stay active on a daily basis. Isolated ab exercises are good, but it may be even more beneficial to take a more general approach to toning and strengthening your core from activities like yoga and Pilates.

Another important thing to focus on is weight loss. The quicker you are able to return to your pre-pregnancy weight (or less if you started a bit overweight), the quicker you will feel stronger and more energetic. You can achieve this with a healthy diet and regular daily exercise.

It's normal to have weak ab muscles after pregnancy—regardless of how you deliver your child—but that weakness can be more pronounced in women who deliver by C-section. One big component to getting your strength back is allowing your body to heal on its own. The body has an amazing ability to remodel itself and get back to normal after pregnancy and birth.

A great exercise to regain the connection to and strength of the lower abs after having a Cesarean section is the supine draw-in manuever. The supine draw-in manuever is a simple, yet effective, exercise that will help to strengthen the pelvic floor and lower abs, two areas that usually weaken as a result of C-section. Perform the supine draw-in manuever by following the technique described below. Begin by lying on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Breathe normally as you gently draw-in your navel down toward your spine. Once you have drawn-in your navel, hold the contraction and relax and then repeat as necessary. The goal during this exercise is to resist moving any other parts of the body while contracting and drawing-in your abs. If this exercise is not challenging enough, consider doing the supine draw-in with march, or supine draw-in with heel slide instead.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.