There is no doubt that weight loss after pregnancy will always remain a hot topic among new moms. That baby bump may have looked incredibly cute when you were pregnant, but it just won’t work after you’ve had your little one. Have you just given birth and are you a little shocked to discover that you still look like you are expecting? You’ll want to know when you can start exercising. Nobody likes to be asked how far along they are when they already have a baby in arms, after all!
Getting your body back after pregnancy is a two-front war, and it is important never to lose sight of that fact. Pregnancy will always leave you looking slightly different than when you started trying to conceive, and to get back in shape you will need to take care of your diet and engage in exercise. Unless you are quite overweight, it is not necessary to engage in an active weight loss diet — focusing on wholesome, healthy foods and making sure you eat an appropriate amount of calories will do the job just fine.
While diet is enormously important for your health and in order to maintain a healthy weight, you are not going to get that flat and toned abdomen back unless you throw a significant amount of exercise in as well. It is never too early to make sure you eat a healthy diet, but how long do you need to wait before you start exercising again?
Traditionally, doctors have advised new mothers to wait until their postpartum checkup, which usually takes place six weeks after the baby’s birth, to start exercising. Do you really need to wait that long? Hardly. Even c-section moms are encouraged to start taking little walks within 24 hours of their cesarean. If you feel fine, there is nothing wrong with taking walks, doing light stretching, and engaging in some yoga.
Wait a little longer — two to six weeks — and you will be ready for some more serious workouts. When you first start exercising again, you need to pay close attention to your body and make sure not to overdo it. That, basically, goes without saying. You’ll be able to do stuff like push-ups, sit ups, and all kinds of other body weight exercises. You can start with some weight lifting (using dumbbells) too if you like. Remember that there is no need to hit the gym in order to get fit. You won’t have the chance to do that with a tiny baby anyway. OK, some gyms have childcare facilities, but are you really sure you want to trust them with your kids? I strongly advise any parent considering any type of childcare to ask lots and lots of questions to ensure that the facility is safe. Child safety expert Gavin de Becker has a list on his website.
But, back to exercising. All you really need is a computer and an internet connection. YouTube has plenty of great exercise videos you can follow along with. Remember that you don’t need to have to do all of your exercises in one go to see results — three 10 minute sessions are just as good as one 30 minute session! You can do some exercise whenever your baby is asleep or quietly entertaining herself. And of course, going for long walks with your baby in a jogging stroller or good baby carrier is another good cardio exercise.
Do you have any pain, or do you just feel you are overdoing things? Then slow down or stop for a while. Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while you are exercising. And above all, give yourself time to recover from your pregnancy. There is no magic bullet for postpartum weight loss and fitness, but with time you will return to your old body — or a new normal. Which may, by the way, even be better than before you ever got pregnant!
Want to share your experience with postpartum exercise, weight loss and fitness with other moms or expectant moms? Please feel free to leave a comment below.