Getting Mum Fit – Exercising after Pregnancy

Noah is 7 weeks old now, so I’m starting to think about getting back to training and getting fit again. Suffering from SPD has meant that I hardly did any exercise at all for the last 5 months of pregnancy, not even walking the dog. So it’s safe to say that I’m feeling sluggish and really unfit now. And although I’m not usually focussed on “losing weight” I have put on a fair few pounds from pregnancy. I don’t know how many as I don’t weigh myself, but I’ve gone from a size 8 to a size 14 in clothes. So I would love to be able to get back into some of the clothes I bought (and felt really good in thanks to all the training) before I fell pregnant.

After struggling with so much pain during Noah’s pregnancy it’s been lovely to be able to walk again since having him and I feel ready to get back to working out. In fact, I’m really looking forward to it. BUT I also feel a bit daunted about where to even start. Luckily, I’ve got Matt to help me on my way and so I asked him for some hints and tips for getting fit after pregnancy and as always he agreed to share them with you all. So here is his wisdom for starting to exercise after pregnancy.

 

So, your baby is here and has arrived safely. Now how do you shift the pounds you gained during pregnancy and get your fitness levels back up?

The goal to lose weight after giving birth is very achievable but needs to be done safely. Those extra pounds you gained WILL come off with a bit of work and consistency. But don’t expect your pre-baby body (https://www.fitpregnancy.com/exercise/postnatal-workouts/easy-ways-get-your-body-back) to appear in the mirror again just weeks after the arrival of your little one.
Getting rid of the pregnancy weight takes time.

Safely Lose Weight After Birth

First things first, you need to make sure you are safe to start exercising and regaining your pre-pregnancy body.  You should really wait until you have been to the Post-natal check up with your doctor, which is usually done 6-8 weeks after the birth.  This will make sure you are healthy and ready to start exercising safely again. This is especially important if you had a C-Section.

Once you have the all clear you can get started.

Benefits of exercise

When you are looking to lose weight after the birth, exercise is a perfect way to burn off some extra calories which will mean the number on the scales will come down.  Exercising whilst pregnant is great for you and the baby and will help you get back to fitness after the birth as well.  It will also help reduce the muscle imbalances caused by being pregnant which is great as if your muscles stay imbalanced this can cause postural problems which can lead to lower back pain.  Exercising and working the weaker muscles will help stop the muscle imbalances and make sure you have no further problems.

But if you weren’t exercising before you were pregnant then this is a great time to start.
You can start at a lower level and slowly build yourself up to be doing more and more.
Exercising after pregnancy has many advantages and will especially help you lose weight after the birth (and help keep it off in the future).

Take it slow

It is usually safe to start exercising after birth (as long as you’ve consulted your doctor) but you need to start off at a lower level.  Don’t think you can go back to lifting huge weights straight away, you need to start off with easier and less intense exercises. If you were a regular runner, a good way of getting back into this would be to start going walking.  Maybe start walking for 30 minutes every day.  This may sound too easy if you’re a regular runner but remember you will be pushing a pram or carrying a baby plus you need to avoid high impact activities at first.

It may be irritating not being able to jump back into all the activities, classes and workouts you were doing before you were pregnant.  However, you need to take it slow and gradually build your activity levels back up over time.  This will reduce the risk of injury and having any further problems. Also, not starting too intensely will mean you are less likely to get too warm and end up being nauseous.

Avoid crunches

During pregnancy, your stomach muscles usually pull apart and you end up with a gap.
This means you should avoid doing abdominal exercises such as crunches and sit-ups as they put unwanted pressure on the muscles (and scar if there is one).  Instead, you should try to start doing your pelvic floor exercises. Even the day after the birth if it is safe to do these and there is no pain so you can start this immediately.  They are super important for women after giving birth so don’t skip on these.

You should also avoid any exercises which involve you closing and widening your hips.

Light Stretching and Low Impact

Even after pregnancy, plenty of the hormones that were there for the past 9 months are still floating around in your system.

One of these causes the joints and ligaments to relax, which could prove harmful if we overstretch or hammer our joints with high-impact activities.  For this reason, it is recommended that only light stretching is done and that impact activities (jogging, jumping, rugby etc) are avoided.  When stretching, aim to feel a light stretch and hold it for only up to 15 seconds.  Don’t go too far into stretches and don’t hold them for long periods of time.

You are naturally burning more calories

If you are breastfeeding it should be easier to lose weight than any other time since your body is naturally burning more calories than normal.  This is due to breastfeeding using up to 500 calories per day.  That means that if you have a good diet, these extra calories burnt naturally could help you lose around 1lb a week.  You don’t have to eat any less to lose the weight while you are breastfeeding.  Your body is naturally working harder and so means you don’t have to do as much work to lose the baby weight.

It is a slow process

Losing your baby weight is definitely achievable.
However, it can take time. Don’t forget it took 9 months to get to where you are now so don’t rush it.  It takes time and some effort to get there but it can be done.

Just remember, healthy eating and exercising regularly are the key to losing weight after the birth and keeping it off.  You should aim for around 1lb a week of weight loss, but know that it could only be 1/2lb of weight loss each week, due to all the hormones inside your body.

It won’t be a quick process but it will be worth it.

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