The 7 things that so many moms think they need to do after having a baby but should never even think about doing if the end goal is to lose the postpartum pooch. 

starting postpartum ab exercises

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.



There’s a right way and a wrong way to lose the postpartum pooch.

I’m here to encourage you as a physical therapist to do this whole postpartum journey thing the right way. Energy is limited, and I’d hate for you to waste any more energy on the things that don’t matter, won’t help you or will harm you.

Let’s tackle this list of what NOT to do during your postpartum journey because these things will definitely not help you lose the postpartum pooch.

At the end I’ll steer you in the right direction and give you more guidance on how to best lose the mommy tummy the right way, the safe way with little to no energy required.

What You Should Never Do To Lose The Postpartum Belly

1. Working out right away, as in the first day or even the first week. Just don’t even think about it.

You don’t need to even think about working out the first day or even the first week after having a baby.

Your priority should be resting, letting your body heal and learning how to feed your baby well (whether that is breastfeeding or bottle feeding).

Working out first thing after childbirth is a big no-no. Your body needs to heal, so let it heal before bringing on the stress of exercise.

Exercise is definitely a great way to heal the body. I’m a physical therapist, and that’s what I’m all about; but there is a time for rest and letting the body do what it needs to do naturally in order to heal properly.

I recommend waiting until the doctor gives you clearance at the 6 week postpartum check-up to begin exercising with the exception of walking, gentle stretching and breathing exercises.

Grocery Shopping

2. Going on some crazy diet to lose the baby fat

Dieting is out when it comes to postpartum recovery. Why? Because you need to nourish your body and give it all the extra calories it needs in order to recover from childbirth and the fluid loss that took place.

If you are breastfeeding, that’s more of a reason to have good nutrition and adequate calories to help improve your milk supply.

Weight loss and losing the excess baby weight are not about crash diets but about a slow and steady balance of healthy meal choices spread throughout the day. 

sit ups

3. Doing sit ups because that’s the ab exercise that everyone is doing

Sit ups are not the best choice for ab strengthening after having a baby.

Sit ups can actually do more harm than good early on during postpartum recovery by causing strain to the rectus abdominis muscles after pregnancy.

The best way to strengthen the abs postpartum is with deep inner core stabilization exercises that involve isometric contractions, which involve little to no movement.

This is by far safer and more effective than sit ups. Learn more about the #1 postpartum ab exercise for moms here

workout at gym

4. Join a gym

Just because you joined a gym doesn’t mean you’re more likely to go and see amazing results. Nope. Joining a gym is an honorable thought, but not a practical or safe one as a new mom with a little baby.

I love the idea of gyms, gym memberships, personal trainers and everything that comes with a gym membership, but the timing is just not ideal for a mom with a newborn.


Because schedules and life in general are all out of whack.

Squeezing in a trip to the gym is not as likely to happen in the chaos of motherhood.

Eventually, in due time, I do want you to go to the gym, but don’t join until you can commit to working out for 30 minutes a day 3 days a week for a month before joining the gym.

Establish that new healthy habit of regular workouts each week before you go to the gym. Prove to yourself that you can actually stay committed to the workouts before signing up.

Wearing a Postpartum Belly Wrap

5. Wear waist trainers 24/7 

Wearing a waist trainer, or what I like to call a postpartum belly wrap, is highly recommended postpartum. Yet, wearing it 24/7 is absolutely not a great idea for the same reason why doctors don’t tell you to sleep with back braces on.

It’s not necessary.

The postpartum belly wrap is more effective when your body is upright and feeling the strain of gravity.

When lying down, let your skin rest and breathe.

If worn 24/7, your skin may become increasingly irritated. Take your wrap off at night when sleeping and then wear it once you are awake. Learn more about what not to do with postpartum belly wraps here. 

What You Should Never Do To Lose The Postpartum Belly

6. Scroll on social media looking at images of other moms who look amazing after 4 weeks postpartum – not realistic or motivating but instead disheartening

Ok, ok, I know you probably have done this: compared yourself to another new mom who had their baby the same week as you and their mommy pooch is completely gone.

Yes, it happens to some, but in reality it’s not as common as you think.

And the most important thing you need to keep in mind is that every person’s circumstances are completely different.

Sleep patterns, eating habits, social and emotional support, genetics, work schedules, exercise habits.

There is not one person who has the same life as you and, therefore, not one person is going to have the same body as you.

Don’t compare, just stay focused on you and what progress you are making each day.

Compare yourself to what you were like a week ago, not what your friend looked like today.

Your body is your own, and if you keep motivating yourself to do better than yesterday, then you will do better than yesterday.

Never quit, never lose hope. You’ve got this, mama!

What You Should Never Do To Lose The Postpartum Belly

7. Research plastic surgery options

If you have been having thoughts of tummy tucks and liposuction, I’d like to encourage you to look the other way.

Right now is not the time to make such a big decision.

Take this next year to get used to mama life, life with new responsibilities and new privileges.

You never know how much you may accomplish in your postpartum health journey over the next year. You may surprise yourself.

Just think, if you knew you could lose the postpartum pouch in as little as 10 weeks and less than 10 minutes a day without surgery, would you do it?

It will be far less painful and definitely less of a dent in your wallet. Learn how you can lose the postpartum pooch in just 10 weeks here. 

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

*It is important to always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program and get medical clearance. Always warm up thoroughly and stretch after all workouts. and Jena Bradley will be not be responsible or liable for any injury sustained while exercising at home, gym or elsewhere. Perform exercises at your own risk.

starting postpartum ab exercises

Up Next….

If you liked this post, please take a quick second to share it! 🙂