Having a baby is a wonderful yet overwhelming experience. The first six months after having a baby is a time of transition and adjustment that leaves most families exhausted, especially mom! Understandably, new moms also want to “get their old body back” in minimum time.
How Soon Can I Start?
If you’ve never exercised before (or haven’t for a long time) you need to be particularly careful with the intensity, duration and type of exercises you start with. Generally speaking, if you exercised right up to your delivery, you can in most cases perform your pre-pregnancy workout immediately. (with some modifications)
Based on your own physical capability you can gradually resume your regular workouts over the course of a couple weeks. Check with your doctor or midwife for her recommendations.
Is It Too Soon For Me?
Remember that your joints and ligaments will still be relatively loose for about 3-5 months, so watch your step to avoid spills.
Be sure to check that the gap in your stomach muscles has closed before progressing to abdominal exercises.
Always try to exercise after breast-feeding your baby. Your breasts will be more comfortable and your baby will appreciate it too (some research suggests that breast milk changes taste for about 60 minutes after a workout).
Watch for any signs of change and notify your doctor if you are experiencing any abnormal discharge. This is a sign that you may be doing too much too soon.
What’s the Best Way to Lose Weight?
Your body has just taken a “beating” and you need energy to recover. This means good nutrition, NOT starving yourself. This is no different whether you are a post-partum mother, or just wanting to get off the couch and drop a few kilos!
A good goal is to lose no more than a half a kg per week. Of course everyone wants to drop 5kg’s in a week, but this is both unrealistic and unsafe. It also does not take into account that healthy living is a lifestyle.
Get on a good nutrition plan. See a lifestyle management consultant or nutritionist to establish your nutritional requirements. (I can offer assistance in this department) A qualified consultant will establish your metabolism level, determine the appropriate calories you should be eating, and develop an eating plan that gives you energy, helps your body heal and burns that fat that may have accumulated during your pregnancy.
Create an exercise plan for the first 4 weeks.
Revise your exercise plan every month. What may work for you the first 4 weeks may not create change in your body the next month.
Try to work out for at least 30 minutes/day and plan for this to be “time for you”.
Try to increase your exercise time to 60 minutes/day and spend at least half that time doing aerobic exercise.
Use the reminder of the time, 3-5 times per week, to begin strength training and toning exercises to re-shape your body.
Finally, hang in there and think positively: Although the extra weight is emotionally difficult to deal with, take a quick glance at your sleeping baby to reassure yourself that the effort is worth it!