Post-Partum Fitness: Getting Your Body Back Nothing brings more joy than the birth of a new baby. But sometimes for new moms, that joy is dampened when we look at the post-partum aftermath that is our belly.
Yep, that’s our saggy, flabby belly down there. How the heck did that happen? We ate right, we went for walks, we did pre-natal yoga, but darn it, things are not looking good below the belly button! It’s time to get that post-partum belly back into shape. Fear not! It can be done.
First, make sure that you know what kind of exercise your doctor says is appropriate for you, and when you should resume any fitness activity. Don’t try to push yourself—let your doctor be the guide, but listen to your body as well. If you’re recovering from a cesarean section delivery, you’ll have more restrictions and a longer recovery guide—do not mess around with that. You want to make sure you are fully recovered and have your doctor’s approval before you start any exercise.
Once you’re ready and have the “all clear” from your doctor, start slow and steady. Try to do a little bit of something every day, or at least on most days. Some moms struggle with post-partum depression, and a little exercise can ease those feelings. Plus it’s good for the baby to get fresh air, if the weather is nice.
Walking is a great choice in the beginning, taking it easy at first, then increasing a little each day. For those who were already in good shape and had an easy birth and recovery, you may be able to jump right back into the milder exercises you used to take part in.
The big obstacle to post-partum fitness is that you now have a little one to care for, and not everyone has a nanny or a granny to help take care of the baby while they exercise. So finding ways to exercise while you watch over your baby is key.
Exercising at home while the baby naps is ideal. If you have weights or a home gym, you’re in luck. If not, try exercise videos, using a rebounder (mini trampoline), a jump rope, or a fitness ball. Walking up and down the stairs is an option, or even jogging around the house, if there is enough room, is a possibility. Dancing in the kitchen while you prepare meals is a great way to slip in a little calorie burning as well.
Once your baby is old enough, you can go to a gym—many gyms have childcare, some for as little as $1.50 an hour. Or you could join a mommy-and-me exercise group that meets to go on walks or light runs, with the babies in jogging strollers. Don’t worry if you have two or even three little children—they make jogging strollers for up to three children that are 50 pounds and under!
Sit-ups, stretches, and weight-bearing exercises can easily be done in the home. Yoga and Pilates are also great for toning, and can be done with exercise videos or by going to classes.
Regaining your fitness may be a little more challenging after having a baby, but with time and some dedication, you may be able to say “bye-bye” to that post-baby belly!