The period of pregnancy and childbirth is the biggest physical and emotional challenge in any woman’s life, and the challenge does not end when the baby is delivered. The difficult job of motherhood follows, even as the new mom is faced with the task of recovering her health and fitness. It can feel overwhelming, but with a bit of time planning and patience, almost every young woman is equipped to bear the load and do it full justice. Here are 8 useful tips to get back in shape after a pregnancy.
1. Begin with Rest
Immediately after you have delivered your baby, the most important requirement for your body is rest. It needs time to heal from the immense strain it has borne. If you are a first time mom, you may get scared looking at your deflated bundle of a belly. However, that is normal. Your uterus will contract slowly and within 5-6 weeks, you will recover your skin elasticity. Generally, doctors will tell you that you should get serious about an exercise regime only 6 weeks after delivery. However, the recovery period varies from person to person.
2. Start Slow
It is important not to plunge into any exercise routine head on. Start slowly and build your strength and capacity gradually. Starting too hard will give you aches, pains and de-motivation, and you will be unable to sustain that sort of a schedule. Be patient with your goals, and give yourself 6 to 12 months to hit an ideal level of strength and weight. The most important factors with any exercise regime are consistency and sustenance.
3. The Right Diet
Diet constitutes one of the most important tips to get back in shape after a pregnancy. After delivery, it is important to quickly switch to a healthy and balanced diet. Since your body will take time getting used to eating a more normal quantity once again, your first emphasis should be on quality. Get in lean meats, whole grains and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Since your body’s milk is your baby’s prime source of nourishment, your diet will have a profound impact on your baby’s health at this stage. A good diet will also help you achieve your weight loss goals faster.
4. Flexibility and Core Strength
When you begin with your exercise regime, fit in a session or two of Yoga or Pilates every week. These exercise systems will help you improve your flexibility, core strength, spinal alignment and stability. All these are very important, given the amount of bending, moving and lifting you will be doing with your baby.
5. Fitting in Variety
Once your body is used to a workout routine, try to challenge yourself with some variety rather than practicing the exact same exercises everyday. At a very basic level, it is ideal if your body can get in a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training. Wile brisk walking, jogging, cycling and swimming are great cardiovascular exercises, there are some great DVDs out there devoted specifically to post-pregnancy strength training. If you are comfortable with a gym and personal trainer, you can even get some real time professional help.
If you get into strength training without proper guidance, you can cause yourself injury, so be careful.
6. Exercise as Part of Your Daily Routine
One of the best and most practical tips to get back in shape after a pregnancy is integrating exercise into your daily routine. So, if you are stepping out, put on a baby harness or put your child in a stroller and walk it. You will be able to get some work done, spend some time with your baby and also manage to get in some exercise in the meanwhile. The more exercise you can get in without taking special time out for it, the faster you will build your strength and fitness.
7. Protect Your Breasts
Finally, you need to keep in mind some precautions while exercising. To begin with, invest in well-fitting sports bras and avoid exercises that will put undue strain on your breasts, or expose them to sudden jerks or jolts. This is a very important tip to get back in shape after a pregnancy.
8. Exercise Sensibly
It is important that the exercise you are doing does not put your health in risk in any way. So, if you are feeling unusually uncomfortable, dizzy or nauseous during any exercise, stop immediately and give your body some rest. If there is a particular exercise that always put your body through unusual discomfort, consult a specialist or physician before continuing with the exercise, and find out why. Maybe you are doing something wrong or beyond your current level of fitness. In either case, a qualified fitness expert will be able to give you the right advice.
If you do manage to implement these tips to get back in shape after a pregnancy, you will make gradual and consistent progress with your weight loss and fitness goals. Within a year you will be looking sexy and strong once again, probably even more so than before! Looking forward to getting into your pre-pregnancy clothes?
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