A: As I explained above, you should not begin serious abdominal work until:
- Your pelvic floor is strong again (if not the abdominal muscles will push down on the intestinal organs which in turn bear down on the pelvic floor. If the pelvic floor muscles are too weak to provide the necessary support, urination, bowel movements and of course sexual function will be affected, a condition known as prolapse).
- The two parallel vertical bands of abdominal muscles (the recti) are less
than two finger's width apart.
This means that for the first six to eight weeks (ten if you have had a
C-section) you should do the gentle rebalancing abdominal exercises which I
describe in my book.
At two months after childbirth, you can begin abdominal work, starting with floor exercises (if you've had a C-Section, stick to floor exercises for about eight months after childbirth). Avoid full sit-ups, "bicycling" or "scissors" (exercises done while lying on your back with both legs in the air). Focus on the obliques (whose job it is to pull in, lift and squeeze the stomach while supporting it). It will take time to tone the abdominal muscles, but they can be trained to look flat again.