Diastasis Recti

3 Exercises to Strengthen Your Core After Having a Baby

It’s the spookiest time of the year! But that doesn’t mean you should be scared of leaking pee! I’ll give you 3 workouts that will expel unwanted incontinence.
Dr. Marcy Crouch
Posted on
November 4, 2022
Minute Read

Too scared to start sit-ups after having a baby?

This time of year, there are so many spooky and scary ghosts and goblins out there….but don’t let tummy workouts scare you!

I’m going to break it down, really quickly and easily, so you know what safe exercises and movements to do to help your tummy muscles after having a baby.

And I promise not to freak you out!

Busting Ghosts (And Myths)

I’m sure you’ve heard or seen, SO many opinions out there about what you should and or shouldn’t do regarding abdominal or core workouts after having babies. So how is an exhausted, busy, and confused Mama supposed to figure out what is right or not?

Have no fear: I’m here to make it easy! I’m a pelvic floor PT, and my whole world is helping Mamas recover and get strong and functional after having a baby. I’m sick and tired of bad info out there freaking moms out….we’ve got enough stuff to freak out about, ammiright?

Here are 3 Basic exercises that are safe for postpartum, engage your core muscles, and will ALSO help strengthen and rehabilitate your pelvic floor. Win-win!! (No one likes being stressed about sneezing and leaking pee everywhere, so let’s get your pelvic floor muscles better and stronger!)

Exercise 1:

The Foundation

This is the first step to a strong core. Most Mamas just jump right into sit-ups or planks, but we need to have The Foundation FIRST. Otherwise, it’s like trying to move and strengthen our core when we have a waterbed for an abdomen…or at least it feels that way!

Step 1: Lay down with knees bent and feet flat on the floor or sit down, whichever is more comfortable

Step 2: Place your fingers right on the inside of your hip bones (eventually this is where you will feel one of your tummy muscles turn on and pop into your fingers)

Step 3: Exhale, lower the bottom of your ribs towards your belly button, draw in your lower abdominals, and contract your pelvic floor muscles (like you are trying to pick up a blueberry with your vagina). Feel your tummy muscles turn on and pop into your fingers.

Step 4: Hold for 3 seconds, then release

*Reminder: don’t hold your breath or push out through your belly or vagina. Think about drawing those muscles up and in!

Exercise 2:

Marching with Foundation

Now let’s make it a little harder! Do everything from the first exercise, but now we are going to add in leg movements.

Step 1: After engaging your Foundation from Exercise 1, lift one leg up, keeping your knee bent.

Step 2: Bring the knee to your chest, keeping your tummy muscles and pelvic floor contracted! But don’t hold your breath!

Step 3: Slowly bring the foot back down, re-engage your tummy and pelvic floor, and repeat with the other leg.

*Reminder: this exercise works better when you go slow and keep your belly and pelvic floor tight!

Exercise 3:


Step 1: Same idea here: but now you are doing this in an “all fours” position, or “quadruped” as we like to say in the biz. So get into all fours, and engage your foundation. This is harder because now you are drawing your tummy muscles in AGANIST gravity, which makes them work more. yay!

Step 2: After your abs and pelvic floor have contracted (and you aren’t holding your breath), raise one arm up and point straight out in front of you. Keep those tummy muscles and pelvic floor tight!

Step 3: Slowly return the hand back down, and repeat with the other arm.

Pro Tip: This is great for “abdominal separation, or Diastasis Recti, as it works the upper and lower parts of your abs. To make it harder, alternate an arm and leg lift!

Ghould Luck!

These are safe, easy, and fast, and will help you get a stronger core after having a baby. Spend as little as 5 min a day on these 3, and you’ll start to see a difference in your core AND your pelvic floor muscles. Bonus: less leaking and wet undies are awesome, right?

Want more? Check out our program HERE, to get the full core and pelvic floor recovery program. This is for any mama, at any stage postpartum (yes, even if your kids are 20).

Dr. Marcy Crouch

Known as The Down There Doc on Instagram and TikTok, Dr. Marcy Crouch is a board-certified women’s health physical therapist working to elevate pregnancy and postpartum care for women everywhere.