Many women worry about getting their pre baby body back once they have given birth and along with the pressures of being a new mum, plus adjusting to a new way of life, this can be an unnecessary additional stress.
It’s important to remember that getting back into shape is not something you can rush. It’s taken about 40 weeks to gain your pregnancy weight and your body has done a wonderful job of growing your baby and bringing it into the world, so you will need to give it a chance to recover.
Exercise tips for new mums
Wait until after your postnatal check
Before commencing exercise again it is important to get clearance from your doctor and the time that you need to wait before starting can vary between 6 to 12 weeks depending on whether you have had a natural birth or caesarean. With a new baby around, finding the time to fit exercise into your daily life can be tricky, but not impossible, as long as you make it a priority and remember to follow a healthy eating plan.
Strengthen and tighten
The main focus for new mums should be to strengthen and tighten the muscles that have been stretched during pregnancy and childbirth. These are the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. You can start with some gentle tightening exercises for these areas simply by sucking in and contracting the muscles. It is important to avoid any kind of crunch exercise for the first 6 weeks whilst the muscles repair and focus more on stabilising exercises. Strengthening your pelvic floor will help you guard against the perils of stress incontinence.
Walk every day
Every day, try to take a short walk, so why not take your baby with you in their pushchair? Walking will increase your circulation and give your body a gentle workout. Being out and about with your baby can improve your mood as well as your fitness.
Start off with short 10 to 15 minute walk, trying to build up to about an hour of continuous walking, four to five days a week.
Exercise with others
Focus on fast movements using your arms and legs that make your heart beat faster. Allow yourself to get a little of breath, but not so much that you can’t hold a conversation. Try to find a local new mums group or grab a friend to walk with – this will help to stay motivated as well as fit!
Exercise after breastfeeding
Don’t forget that if you’re breastfeeding, always exercise after feeding your baby or express before you exercise. Moving about with full beasts can be uncomfortable. You may need to use a sports bra over your maternity bra for extra support.
Listen to your body
The key is to nurture yourself and listen to your body, make it a priority to connect with your baby rather than thinking you must exercise daily.
About CJ’s Fitbumps: CJ is a pre and postnatal holistic health coach, group exercise instructor, personal trainer, nutrition expert and author of The Winning Physique. She provides specialist pre and post natal fitness classes and coaching at Riverside Ice and Leisure as well as offers one to one personalised health coaching programs lifestyle consultations and personal training. Find me at www.cjsfitbumps.com, email me via firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 07557683770.