When you’ve had a baby, whether you’re a first time mum or a few years down your parenting journey, you might be keen reclaim your body back to its’ pre-pregnancy form. This can be especially true if you were very active before or during your pregnancy.
Exercise is beneficial for everyone, and in particular for new mums, and it’s not all about outside appearances.
You’re likely to be carrying around a small bundle a lot now (who will only get heavier) so regular exercise helps to keep your muscles supple and prevent any aches and pains in your back and arms. Targeted exercise can also help to reduce any long term effects from the separation of the stomach muscles (diastasis recti), as can be a cause of back pain. The muscles from the abdominal area don’t usually snap back together after having a baby and the bulge that runs down in the middle of the stomach is one of the Symptoms of Diastasis Recti.
Exercise is excellent for helping your body to recover after birth, in particular if you’ve had surgery such as a caesarean section. It’s great for correcting posture issues and muscle imbalance, as well as a reset for your core and pelvic floor.
Exercise is also great for helping you to lose any extra pounds that you may have gained during your pregnancy in a sustainable and sensible way, rather than embarking on a crash diet. You’re more likely to keep the weight off doing it this way, plus extreme dieting is not recommended if you are breastfeeding.
Parenting requires a lot of stamina and strength, especially for multiple wake ups in the night and exercise is great for building this. Even though you may feel tired immediately after exercise, the long term impacts on your body will be very positive and it should improve the quality of sleep you get (even if it’s in small chunks!)
Just like in pregnancy, exercise can be a super boost for your mental health and can help minimise or prevent post-natal depression. This is all due to the endorphins in your brain, which jump to an increased level as you exercise..
There is no rush though and it can take a while for your body to adjust to your new life, so take things slowly.
Always consult with a medical professional if you are starting a new diet or exercise programme, especially if you have an existing medical condition or had surgery during childbirth. Your Health Visitor or GP will have lots of helpful hints and tips.
Set realistic goals
We’ve all seen the photos of celebrities who seem to have flat stomachs a few weeks after giving birth. However, what you don’t see is the extreme diet and exercise plans it has taken them to get to that shape (and the childcare help!). A number of celebs also swear by the impact that wearing a waist trainer has had on reclaiming their pre-pregnancy shape. Waist training done properly can provide the boost you might be looking for to get those curves back.
Be sensible and set yourself an achievable goal, no matter how small. Even if it’s just once a week then it’s a start, especially when you are dealing with the demands of a tiny baby. There’s nothing less soul-destroying than failing at a huge target that you have set. Aim for 1-3 pounds weight loss per week, which is the recommended healthy level.
Don’t rush into anything. You can start off with gentle exercises such as walking or core strengthening if you had a natural birth with no complications. Wait until after you have had your six week check with your GP before starting anything more high impact. If you had a caesarean section, talk to your GP, midwife or health visitor before starting any kind of exercise plan as you need to be sure that your body has sufficiently recovered.