After having your beautiful baby, you are keen to get back up and shed the kilos. You may want your flat abs back and to fit into your skinny jeans. Or you just want to be back to the old you. Well as I start it’s best to remember the old you has changed. You must look to accept the new you that has brought life into this world. Your body has just created something amazing and yes you are left with some things you would rather not have. Following my pregnancy I was left with a few things I have had to learn to embrace. But there are things we can focus our limited energy on. And that’s building strength, from the inside and out. I forgot how much strength we lose. You would think you get stronger carrying around all that weight but you keep getting told not to lift, to get your feet up and rest!
Getting Back to Pre-Baby Weight
Your number one goal is likely weight loss. I have to admit my weight fell off easily with breastfeeding. I lost 15kgs in a few short months as my monster child fed his way through all my calories. So my advice is to breastfeed if you can. I still needed to follow a balanced, nutritious diet and gentle exercise but it worked fast. If you can’t breastfeed then start off slow and remember the rule that it took you 9 months to gain it so it should take at least 9 months to lose it. I hear many mothers joke that their child is 18 and they are still trying to lose it but we probably shouldn’t leave it that long! Your body is still recovering so make sure you are providing your body with nutritious foods, eating regularly and getting active each day. Once your baby becomes mobile, you will be glad you have slowly built your activity levels.
What type of exercise should you choose?
This is all depending on how you delivered your baby and any medical procedures that were required. I delivered via c-section so I had to recover from major abdominal surgery. I started by walking and walking really is the best way to start. You can take your bub out and you both get some fresh air. Some babies will drift off to sleep being pushed in the pram and you get the opportunity to clear your head or have a break from daytime tv!
You should avoid running initially, especially if you have weakness in your pelvic floor. Your abdominal muscles will also be weak from the pregnancy so you will need to start some gentle core exercises. Avoid doing crunches and situps as they will not work your entire core and you may also have a separation of the rectus abdominis muscle that is yet to close. Plank exercises can also be detrimental if you are not activating your muscles correctly. Your muscles will be very weak so you need gentle retraining to begin.
Breathing is one that is forgotten. You have just had a baby pushing up against your diaphragm for months and you have learnt to breath with limited movement of this muscle. You should focus on retraining your breathing to ensure you are using your diaphragm. I come across many women post natally in both my massage practice and fitness clients that cannot breathe properly. It affects their ability to train effectively and they also develop pain in the muscles of their upper chest and neck where secondary breathing muscles are working overtime to lift their ribcage.
We all remember the juice ad with the guys in orange bike shorts that was quickly banned for being sexist to men. Well that little jingle plays in my head whenever I talk about pelvic floor muscle exercises. Kegal exercises should be completed following childbirth and you just have to squeeze. If you experience any issues with your pelvic floor make sure you consult a Women’s Health Physiotherapist who specialises in pelvic floor. If you haven’t seen the Just Squeeze ad click here
Stand up tall and be supported
When feeding your baby you may find yourself hunched over and half asleep at 3am feed time. Try to create a supportive environment for yourself by placing a pillow behind you and underneath bub so you are not slouching. This will help to prevent pain in your upper back and neck. Standing up tall begins the process of retraining those weak core muscles and will make you appear to have lost more weight.
There is so much to think of when you have a new baby. Your life has just been turned upside down when you realise this little person is so dependent on you. So my advice is to keep it simple. Add one new thing a day or week, whatever you can handle. And try to relax and enjoy your little baby, they love you no matter what size your bum is so you should love yourself too!
If you require assistance in setting up an exercise programme, starting safe core exercises or have developed muscular pain then Contact Us to see how we can help.
Here I am the night before Blake entered the world.