International Yoga Day: 5 poses to help core strengthening post pregnancy

It's a popular misconception that having a Cesarean birth makes it difficult for women to shed post-pregnancy belly fat and gain strength.
post pregnancy yoga
Yoga can help you strengthen your core post pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Shovna KC (PT) Published: 20 Jun 2022, 16:45 pm IST
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Pregnancy is a beautiful journey for any woman, but regaining strength after bringing a child into the world is certainly not. What’s more? The body’s core strength of new mothers, who have given birth via C-Section delivery, takes a huge toll and recovering from it is quite a challenge. To say the least, the surgery is not only taxing on the pelvic floor and abs, but it also necessitates a longer recovery period in order to ensure appropriate healing and avoid issues like diastasis recti. However, yoga can be highly beneficial for new moms and their core strengthening in the longer run.

Importance of yoga after childbirth

Morning sickness, soreness around the waist, weight gain throughout pregnancy, and anxiety are just a few of the physical and mental issues that most women endure after giving birth. Hence, a balanced diet, as well as a few yoga asanas, can always be beneficial in overcoming such issues. Yoga not only tones the body, but it also soothes the mind, body, and spirit, making it easier to deal with stress and anxiety, and recovery of core strength.

c-section scar management
C-section for delivery can come with its set of challenges. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When is it safe for mothers to do yoga after a C-Section delivery?

How soon can the new mother can start yoga for core strengthening totally depends on the degree of her fitness and the condition of her C-section delivery.

If the delivery was not problematic, mild activities can be resumed as soon as possible post-delivery, but as per doctor’s advice. To get back into shape, one must practice yoga after 3 months, and until then, mild-to-moderate back strengthening and upper body strengthening exercises must continue.

It’s critical to evaluate the level of exercise the new mother was doing before becoming pregnant at the time of resuming an exercise or yoga routine post C-section delivery. While it is normally safe to go back to low-intensity activity like walking, it is ideal to do pelvic floor strengthening yoga poses after six to eight weeks postpartum. Even though the surgical incision has healed, most women may not be sleeping at night and may be fatigued during the day, which might decrease yoga tolerance.

Also, read: If you’ve undergone a C-section, try this to ease your pain

Yoga poses or techniques for regaining core strength

New mothers can do the following yoga for core strengthening post C-section delivery:

1. Chaturanga Dandasana or plank pose

A plank should be done after 3 months only in order to avoid extra abdominal pressure and to prevent occurrence of diastasis recti.

Dandasana. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Bhujangasana or cobra pose

Bhujangasana, or cobra posture, is a reclining back-bending yoga asana that strengthens the spine, butt muscles, chest, belly, shoulders, and lungs, as well as aids in improving blood circulation and releasing stress. This asana is really beneficial for reducing tummy fat as well. It gradually tones down the muscles in the shoulder, belly, and chest area, reduces lower back stiffness, and strengthens the arms and shoulders too.

cobra pose
Cobra pose is common and beneficial. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Trikonasana or triangle pose

This yoga pose is highly beneficial for pregnant women as it not only alters their center of gravity but also extends and opens the hips, which can help with labor. It is one of the most commonly suggested asanas for women, who have had a C-section, as well since it aids in the reduction of abdominal fat and in shrinking the waist. By stretching the spine, hamstrings, and calves to their greatest length, Trikonasana serves to strengthen the lower body, arms, and chest. It helps with digestive issues and soothes stress and anxiety that many women experience after giving birth.


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4. Naukasana/Navasana or boat pose

Naukasana improves the stomach muscles while controlling blood flow and sugar levels. This yoga pose tends to be highly useful for weight loss following a C–section. It is also known for curing a variety of digestive ailments, and strengthening the abdomen. When you are on a normal schedule and do not have a lot of time to exercise., do naukasana to tone your stomach and thigh muscles at the same time.

boat pose
Boat pose is great for the core. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Pranayama

Pranayama is a simple breathing technique that helps to decrease belly fat after a C-section by applying appropriate pressure to the abdominal area. It is also non-toxic and improves concentration apart from aiding in sleep and stress reduction.

Breathing exercises would help you stay calm. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

With these simple yoga asanas and techniques, every new mother will be able to recover better and strengthen the core. Always remember that it is important to start yoga only after your doctor gives a go ahead.

A happy mom means a happy baby, always!

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About the Author

Dr Shovna KC (PT), Consultant Physiotherapist, Motherhood Hospital, Hebbal, Bengaluru

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