Fitness has been in my blood since I was young and I have worked hard to make it part of my career. So, you can imagine my worries about the aftermath of pregnancy. I thought I needed to get right back into exercising. This story is similar for many new moms out there. We see photos of Duchess Kate in skinny jeans just 5 weeks after giving birth and wonder, “How did she do it”? Let’s dive into 10 ways to get back to your pre-baby bod!
My good friend specializes in pre and postnatal fitness. Here’s her advice for getting back into shape after the birth of your baby!
1. Be Fair to Yourself
Ease back into exercise and don’t be hard on yourself. You were pregnant for 9 months so give yourself at least that much time to get back into shape. While the official recommendation for returning to exercise is around 6 weeks, many doctors are encouraging women to return to exercise sooner.
Of course, with a C-section this will be different. Always check with your doctor.
2. Be Cautious
You may need to choose some new activities as you ease back in. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Avoid high impact moves. Your joints are weakened and an unhealed bladder and full breasts may be very uncomfortable while exercising.
- Be cautious of moves that involve a lot of twisting. Post-pregnant joints can be unstable and are more prone to sprains and strains.
- Avoid oblique exercises early postpartum. They could exacerbate abdominal separation that may have occurred during pregnancy. Instead, try “belly hugs” by pulling your belly button into your spine and holding for a second, repeat 10 times, 3x a day.
3. Be Selfish
It’s okay (and even encouraged) to do things for yourself AFTER you have a baby. You’ll better meet the demands of motherhood if you’re fit and healthy; and it’ll set a good example for your children.
4. Take A Class
Research from St. Louis University shows that women who participate in a structured exercise or diet program after the birth of their baby lose more weight than those women who go at it alone. Plus, a class is a great place to meet other new moms!
5. Drink Water
Nursing, exercise, and weight loss all increase your need for adequate water intake. Start your day with a tall glass of water. Drink at least 8-12oz of water every time you feed your baby and 8-12oz during and after a workout. Keep a water bottle with you and sip all day.
6. Get Variety in Your Exercise Routine
A well-rounded fitness routine should include cardiovascular work, strength training, and flexibility work. Find activities you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to stick with them.
7. Be Consistent
Time is hard to find as a new mom; but don’t stress! Maybe your past hour-long workout sessions are gone … but, a little bit of exercise everyday adds up to bigger results. Try walks with the baby, push-ups during nap time, yoga poses in the morning, and trips to the gym when you can.
8. Practice Good Nutrition
Breastfeeding requires an extra 500 calories a day so be sure those extra calories are coming from healthy sources.
9. Be Mindful
The demands of motherhood are mental as well as physical. Along with your exercise program, be sure you have emotional support to adjust to this change in your life. So talk with close friends, an organized mother’s group, or some type of professional advice.
10. Be Kind
Motherhood is a challenge, you may not get into shape as quickly, or exercise as often as you want, but do the best you can and be sure to enjoy the special time with your child.
Bonus: Don’t Compare
Remember, celebrities have the money, time, and dedicated professionals at their beck-and-call. Don’t compare your weight loss with theirs.
Megan Flatt is a ‘Mama Strategist’ who helps busy moms rediscover what fulfills them, and then find the time and energy to pursue that passion…without the guilt! I love that she believes as moms, we can give our kids the world, without giving up our own.