Many women understandably worry about getting their body back into tip-top shape after having giving birth to a new-born baby. However, when you combine this with the pressures and stresses that come with being a mum, it can become particularly challenging to get that pre-baby body back. It’s important to remember that getting back into shape isn’t something you can rush. Remember, it’s taken about 40 weeks for you to gain the extra body fat that comes with pregnancy and your body has done the amazing job of growing your baby and bringing it into the world, so naturally you need some to recover.
Before you get back into the swing of exercise again, it is important to get the okay from your doctor and the time that you need to wait before starting again can vary between 6 to 12 weeks. This largely depends on whether you have had a natural birth or caesarean. With a new baby to look after, finding the time to do a few sets in the gym can be tough, but not impossible, as long as you are prepared to make it a priority and remember to follow a healthy eating plan. These will also be hugely beneficial as your baby grows up with the same habits
from an early stage in their life.
The specific focus for new mums should be to strengthen and tighten the muscles that have been stretched out during their pregnancy and childbirth. These are the muscles in the abdominals and pelvic floor. It’s usually best to start easy and gradually increase the intensity
as you go along. Try starting out with some gentle tightening exercises for these areas simply by sucking in and contracting the muscles, while keeping a deep, breathing rhythm going throughout the contraction. You must ensure that you avoid any kind of crunch exercise for the first 6 weeks whilst the muscles repair and focus more on these stabilising exercises. When you strengthen your pelvic floor, you will help to prevent any urine leaks while you’re
Each day, make a goal to try and complete a short walk, it can be a good opportunity to help introduce your baby to the world via a stroller. Walking will increase your circulation and give your body another type of gentle workout, similar to the stabilising pelvic floor and abdominal exercises mentioned earlier. Being out and about with your baby can improve your mood as well as your fitness. Two birds, one stone. Have a go at starting off with short 10 to 15 minute
walks, then attempt to build up to about an hour of walking at a steady, consistent pace. If you can do this at least four days a week, you will be well on your way to that amazing pre-baby body.
Focus on swinging your arms and legs in a more exaggerated way than you usually would, it will make your heart beat faster. Try to push yourself to get a little out of breath, but not losing so much so that you can’t hold a conversation. See if you can find a local new mums
group or grab a friend to walk with – this will help to stay accountable to your exercise program and keep the routine from getting to monotonous.
Remember, that if you’re breastfeeding, always exercise after feeding your baby or express before you exercise. Exercising with full breasts can be quite uncomfortable. It can be a great idea to wear a sports bra over your maternity bra for extra support. New mum’s who are breast feeding should realise that performing high intensity exercise can cause a lactic acid build in the body, which ultimately alter the taste of the breast milk and therefore receptivity of the baby. You can relax, no harm will be caused to the baby though and is it advised to stay with a low to moderate level of exercise intensity. In summary, below the anaerobic threshold, as this will not have any impact on taste or receptivity of breast milk to the baby.