Congratulations on your little one! We know you’re dying to lose the ‘baby fat’ and get back to your fitness routine, but remember to take it slow. Getting your fit body back after having a baby may not be as hard as you think. However, you can’t rush into things and expect to see results. You should exercise after baby delivery, once your body has healed from the labor and delivery.
It is important to have an exercise routine after having a baby because it eases the effects of potential post-partum depression. Apart from that, there are many benefits of regular exercise after a baby, including improving cardiovascular fitness, boosting energy levels, strengthening abdominal muscles, and promoting fat loss. Every pregnancy and delivery journey is different, so check with your OB-GYN before starting anything.
Even though you’re eager to achieve your fitness goals and return to your pre-pregnancy body, you need to wait before exercising. If you had a regular delivery, you could wait till two weeks before exercising. But, if you had a C-section, wait for at least six weeks or till your stitches are healed—Check in with your doctor before you do anything.
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Postpartum or pre partum the main challenge is to motivate yourself to start and continue with your workout schedule. It especially becomes challenging after a baby, as new mothers might suffer from baby blues, body image issues and a general fatigue after birth and looking after a newborn.
When you’re recovering at home, pay attention to what your body says. Sometimes the bleeding can taper down for a couple of days before getting heavy again, and this is a sign that your body will take longer to recover. If you’re wondering whether this is normal, rest assured. As we said, every delivery journey is unique. Once you’re certain that the bleeding has stopped, you can start exercising again.
You can't expect to jump back into exercise after baby, and you need to take it slow. Typically, it is recommended to rest for two to three weeks before starting workouts. If you had a C-section delivery, you need to wait until your skin is appropriately closed or after the first post-operative check. Note that if you exert yourself too hard initially, you may relapse into your recovery and slow it down further.
The first workout routine after delivering a baby should be walking. Walking may not seem like much of a workout, but it is the best exercise after baby and a simple way to ease into a post-partum fitness routine. Start with a relaxing stroll, say, a 6-minute walk. This will help you lose extra fat while not pushing your body to its limits.
Once you start getting comfortable with the 6-minute walk, you can increase your minutes gradually. For variations, try walking in a zig-zag pattern or walking backward. But, make sure you’re not carrying your baby while walking, as this may disturb your balance.
If you’ve decided to breastfeed your baby, the limitations will be different. It would help if you forgot about weight loss for the first couple of months. Breastfeeding mothers need to ensure that their breast milk supply is firmly established. Instead of burning calories, you will be required to consume 500 extra calories.
The best stomach exercise after baby delivery is deep belly breathing. It is easy to do, can be done anywhere, and helps relax your muscles. This will also facilitate the process of toning and strengthening your abdominal muscles and belly region.
To do this:
If you’re a new mom, you will constantly hear the words, “sleep when your baby sleeps.” This is the best advice. Remember that you need time to heal and recover. Therefore, sleep whenever possible. Try to squeeze in naps between meal times and relax post-workout. This will help you refill your body’s energy and stay refreshed.
Also Read: Foods to Avoid After Delivery
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After the baby is born, the principle of exercise is to try different kinds of routines to find one you like. There are several classes (both online and offline) for new moms that help you find your body’s rhythm and get back to fitness. You can try these classes, and they usually combine forms of yoga with cardiovascular exercises. Or you can also try swimming or joining the gym once you’re ready.
After the baby is born, the mother’s pelvic floor deteriorates, and thus, it is important to restore pelvic balance. For this, you can perform exercises that target the pelvic floor, such as Kegels, crunches, abs exercises, pilates, cycling, etc. If you’re in discomfort, you can consult your OB-GYN and consider seeing a physiotherapist.
Your fitness journey should be holistic, which means you should eat well and keep yourself hydrated. Especially if you’re a breastfeeding mom, hydration is essential, which will replenish your body’s fluid and make you feel fresh. When working out, make sure you keep your water bottle near you.
And, if you’re bored of drinking plain water, treat yourself to delicious detox recipes, seltzer water, and herbal teas. Try to avoid caffeine.
After sitting through labor and delivery, your body’s balance will be thrown off. Try to restore the balance once you’re ready slowly. Of course, there are several ways to do this. You can walk around the house, climb down the stairs with support, walk your dog, practice yoga asanas and breathing exercises, etc.
Exercise after baby will help you feel connected to yourself and will help you stay in touch with yourself and not get lost!
Also Read: Postpartum Self-Care Checklist