So…you’ve just had your baby and now you need to get back into your exercise routine. Before you can get back to your normal routine, you should make sure that your body is ready first. If you did not exercise before or during pregnancy, you will have to be even more careful, especially if you want to do intense exercises. Your body went through a lot of changes during childbirth and jumping right into an intense routine can be dangerous.
Before you start exercising
You should consult your doctor before you attempt to exercise at all. It is usually safe for you to begin exercising as soon as you’re ready if you had an uncomplicated birth. If you had a complicated birth or a C-section, then your doctor may advise you to put off exercising for a while.
A few exercises recommended for pregnant women
Some good exercises to do after giving birth are kegels, stretching, lower tummy exercises, bridging, hip exercises, yoga and Pilates. Kegels, stretching, and walking are simple exercises that you can start off with if you want to start a workout routine after childbirth. The other exercises on the list are more intense workouts and you’ll want to wait until you get used to exercising before doing more intense workouts.
- Kegels help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. You may have done kegels during pregnancy in order to prepare your body for childbirth. Kegels are just as important to do after delivery in order to get your vaginal muscles back into shape.
- Simple stretching is good for all of your muscles and a good way to warm up before a more intense workout session. Make sure that you don’t overwork yourself when stretching or you will cause more harm than good.
- Lower tummy workouts help you get in shape and lose excess fat in your midsection.
- Bridging involves lying on your back with your legs and knees bent and arching your body upward. This exercise tones your stomach, butt and thighs.
- Hip exercises can help you lose weight around your buttocks. To do a hip exercise, you just lay on your side, bend your knees toward your chest and breathe in and out while contracting your pelvic floor muscles and stomach muscles. Next, hold your heels together and lift your knee toward the ceiling.
Whatever exercise you do, always make sure to do something you like. You are more likely to stay motivated and stick to a routine if you do exercises that you enjoy.
Exercises to do after having a C-section
It can take several weeks for the cut from a C-Section to heal. You should not exercise at all until after your doctor screens you at your six-week checkup. Once you’re cleared by your doctor, you can start exercising when you feel like it. When you do start off, make sure to start slow and easy. Walking is the safest exercise to do after a C-section. Walking can prevent blood clots and help you heal faster.
After you are completely healed, you can do some of the same exercises that women who had vaginal childbirth choose, such as bridging and cardiovascular exercises. You can also try abdominal exercises such as the modified cobra, forward bend and the lower abdominal slide.
Create an exercise routine
Having a new baby brings about a whole new schedule for you. The hardest part about getting into a routine is actually getting started. Think about how your day normally progresses and write down your daily events in a planner. You may realize that you spend two hours watching TV when your baby is sleep. You could be using that time to exercise.
Another thing you can do is find ways to fit your baby into your exercise routine. Take your baby for a stroller ride while you walk or jog. If you prefer to workout indoors, you can place your baby in a swing or bouncer. If your baby is a little older, you can use a walker or a playpen to keep your baby entertained while you work out. Toddlers can become workout buddies and help you stay motivated. You can do something simple like play ball with your toddler in the backyard. You can also have your toddler join you while watching an exercise video. Toddlers like to mimic your behavior, so working out while watching an exercise video will help you stay in shape and set a good example for your toddler.
If someone offers to babysit, take advantage of the help. You can use the extra free time to get your workout done for the day if you weren’t able to get it done earlier. If you feel up to it, you can use that time to get an extra workout in addition to your normal routine. Another thing you can do is get your husband/partner to watch the baby so that you can do housework if necessary. Cleaning up is a simple way to exercise.
After you get into a routine, it is important to stick with it. It’s understandable that emergencies may arise and you may have to skip your workouts from time to time. What you don’t want to do is come up with excuses and get yourself into a rut. Coming up with excuses will only cause you to give up your routine altogether.
Now that you are getting back into an exercise routine, you may be tempted to go on a diet to help you lose weight even faster. You may be surprised to find out that going on a diet too soon can keep you from losing weight because you feel extra tired and hungry. Your body needs time to heal from childbirth, and in addition, you’ll need energy to care for your baby and yourself properly. It is best to talk to your doctor about your ideal diet so that you and your doctor can come up with the best plan for you.
If you’re breastfeeding, going on a diet too soon can impact your milk supply. Experts recommend that breastfeeding women wait until their babies are two months old before committing to a diet. Breastfeeding will actually help your body lose fat naturally. Most breastfeeding mothers need to consume 2200 calories a day, but the exact amount of calories you need to consume will depend on your individual needs.
One of the biggest challenges that new mothers face is squeezing in time to eat while caring for their newborn. Instead of eating two or three large meals, it would be easier if you eat five or six small meals. Eating snacks between meals will give you more strength. If you eat your meals too far apart, you will be tempted to overeat at each meal – and there goes your weight loss dreams. Another important thing to do is eat breakfast. You need food early in the day so that you won’t feel worn down by the middle of the day.
Although diets vary based on an individual needs, there are certain foods that can help you lose weight better than others. Low-fat dairy foods, whole grains, and foods high in fiber are ideal foods to eat to lose weight. You’ll want to cut back on fat, but make sure to still include some good fat in your diet. Examples of good fats are mono and polysaturated fats. These fats are present in foods such as olive oil, nuts, seeds and salmon. Eating healthy fats can help you feel full, but avoid trans fats, which are present in fried foods and baked foods. Trans fats contain a lot of calories and consuming too much trans fat can cause you to gain weight.
Now you see that starting an exercise routine is not as hard as it seems. All you need to do is make a basic plan and go from there. Come up with an exercise and diet plan and figure out a time to exercise, figure out what type of exercises you enjoy and commit to eating healthier foods. Once you come up with a plan, be sure to consult your doctor so that you can make sure that your plan is healthy before you get started.