Many women want to know how to acquire a flat stomach. They are especially curious about this following surgical procedures i.e.: laparotomy, laparoscopy and hysterectomy.
The abdominal wall consists of 8 layers of tissue. It is comprised of skin, fascia and muscles. The muscles of the abdominal wall include the rectos abdominus, pyramidalis, internal and external oblique muscles, and the transverse abdominus. When exercising the abdominals many women only work the rectus abdominus. It is critical to exercise the transverse muscles to minimize the "abdominal pouch".
Thus a key muscle to rehabilitate following surgery and birth is the transverse abdominus. This muscle extends from ribs 6-12, iliac crest, thoracolumbar fascia and inguinal ligament to the linea alba, pubic crest and pubis. Learning to tighten the transverse muscle on outward breath will promote improving the muscular tone of the abdominal wall. This will help to prevent the abdominal muscles from bulging as well as to compress the contents of the abdominal wall.
This exercise can be performed by lying on your back and placing your hands on the area of your stomach just below the ribs. First, take a deep breath and then as you exhale, tighten your stomach muscles under your hands. Once you are performing this correctly, you can also perform the exercise while sitting and standing.
This exercise is well described by Elizabeth Noble, PT in her book titled Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year.
©Susan Parker, PT, OBGYN.net Editorial Advisor
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