During pregnancy, it’s normal and healthy to gain weight (unless you’re obese when you become pregnant). The extra pounds are used to support your growing child and to provide extra calories your body needs for breastfeeding. Mothers naturally lose some weight postpartum; however, if you don’t lose it all, you likely need more exercise after your postpartum checkup.
Here are some tips to help you with your postpartum exercise plan:
* Involve your baby. You don’t have to wait till your child is asleep or with a babysitter to workout. Get a baby sling so you can go for a walk with your baby.
* Don’t start too soon. If you start a workout routine too soon postpartum, you can set yourself up for uterine and/or breast infections. It’s usually recommended to wait 6 weeks before you start trying to workout; however, if you had a vaginal delivery, you can use those first 6 weeks to strengthen your vaginal muscles and start stretching exercises. You can also do some easy Piilates moves and deep breathing exercises. Just be sure to check with your doctor before you start any exercise program.
* Don’t work too hard. It’s pretty likely that you haven’t been able to do a normal workout for at least a few months, maybe more. Trying to do too much too fast is likely to do more harm than good. You don’t need a stress injury postpartum! Before you start working out, ask your doctor for recommended exercises and how often you should do them. Remember, if you hurt yourself, you’re not going to be able to take as good care of your baby.
* Fit exercise into you schedule. While having a regular routine is helpful, it’s almost impossible to get a baby to conform to your schedule. This means you have to change your schedule to fit your baby’s. You’ll probably have to squeeze in workouts where you can. Choose exercises that you can do in different places at different times. Get an exercise tape or something else you can do at home. You should also remember that two 15 minute workouts or three 10 minute workouts can be just as helpful as a half hour work out. If you can set a rigid work out schedule, that’s great. If you can’t, set a flexible schedule (I will work out for thirty minutes before I go to bed) and be sure to stick with it.
Getting back in shape after a baby can be difficult, but with postpartum exercise, you can get back to your old self in time.