Resuming Your Postnatal Fitness
As a new mother, you may be anxious to start working out and getting back to your pre-pregnancy clothes. It is wise to be cautious and listen to your body. Here are some tips to help you slowly get back into a fitness regime post baby:
When to begin:
If you have had a vaginal birth, the best exercise to start with is a moderate walk as soon as you feel comfortable. This will depend on your episiotomy and overall physical state. It may take up to six weeks to work up to a regular exercise routine.
If you have had a surgical birth, it is advisable to have a walking program for the first three months after delivery and slowly work your way up to a full-fledged work out.
Pregnancy and birth bring about many changes in your body which are physical, hormonal and emotional. You may not have the stamina to engage in the same routine that you were following prior to being pregnant. Remember that hormones relax the joints and ligaments and a fast paced routine may lead to injury. If you feel tired or have not slept well as you are taking care of a new born full time now, it's fine to rest and take a break. Focus on the muscles which have been most affected during pregnancy namely your back, pelvic floor, chest and core muscles.
Discuss your individual needs with your doctor as your medical history during pregnancy and birth will impact the type of routine that will suit you best.
To start a fitness regime, stick to the basic formula of accepting and loving your body that has taken a lot of changes within.
1. Starting off:
Set up realistic goals that strengthens the core of your body. Strengthen your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. These muscles support your spine and pelvic girdle. The lower back has been taking a lot of pressure during the whole pregnancy, thus lower back strengthening and supporting exercises also play an important role.
A general focus postpartum is to get back to the original shape, but along with the strengthening and toning of muscles, relaxation of the tension in the neck and the shoulders areas created by the long hours of baby carrying is also important. These exercises can be started immediately after the birth of the baby.
Exercises that improve the blood circulation towards the breasts, and strengthening the muscles that support the breast muscles can also be started immediately within a weeks' time.
At this stage, it is important to focus on proper postures rather than intensity of the workout.
2. Setting aside the desired time:
It is important to be consistent and set aside time every day, say about 20- 30 minutes. You can set this time at a stretch or may be, take small breaks now and then for about 10- 15 minutes. Try setting a routine taking advantage of the long and better sleeping pattern of the baby in the first few months.
3. Breathing and relaxation:
Fitness is not just about a strong and toned body but also about a relaxed mind and body. Moms can start with deep breathing and meditation techniques soon after birth which will allow the mother to have a sound sleep.
4. Balanced diet is crucial:
Make sure you eat a healthy and balanced diet which includes all the food groups. Avoid excessive saturated fats and refined sugar in your diet. Post partum and breast feeding is not a time for crash and fad diets. Remember breast feeding is a huge calorie burner and if you eat healthy and breast feed exclusively for the first few months you will soon shed all the extra kilos.
Dr. Mansi Shah – Team Baby360degrees.com