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Having a child is transformative on many levels. Your life and your family have expanded to include a new life, a developing newborn. Your body has also undergone profound changes, both while your child was growing and during the delivery.
Whether your labor process was long, quick or involved surgery, it will take time to fully recover. The effects on your pelvis, joints and hormonal balance will heal and rebalance gradually. Consider following these tips to help you ease back into fitness and restore your body after having a baby.
1. Take It Slow and Gradual
Don’t engage in physical activity until the bleeding has completely stopped. If you have had a Caesarian, you should wait a minimum of six weeks before exercising of any kind. Be aware of how your body has changed and compensate for factors like lower back pain and your joints being looser and less steady than they were before.
2. Listen to Your Body
Once the bleeding has stopped, you can begin engaging in light stretching and workout activities. However, take care to stay tuned in to your body every step of the way. Bleeding or discomfort are signs that you should ease up on the activity or take a break. You likely need more time to heal.
3. Strengthen the Pelvic Floor Gradually
Your pelvic floor will be weak and fatigued, so take it slow with abdominal exercises and impact exercises at first. Too much exertion can inhibit healing and cause internal issues. A light Kegel routine is a good way to gently and gradually strengthen your pelvic floor muscles following delivery.
4. Find Ideal Exercises for You
There is no one workout plan that will be ideal for every woman following pregnancy and having a child. Yoga and stretching can provide a low impact way to begin moving again, but some women may be ready for more vigorous activity sooner. Swimming is another low impact activity that burns calories effectively and is also easy on the joints. Experiment and see what feels best to you.
Postpartum fitness is about getting back to basics, and walking can be an ideal way to start moving from low impact exercise to more challenging activities. The beauty of walking is that you can do it almost anywhere, starting slow and adjusting your pace as you heal. Brisk walking can have a cardiovascular, fat-burning effect and is great for the body, mind and spirit. It’s also a nice way to bond with your new addition once they are old enough to be in a stroller.
6. Fitness Videos
There is an abundance of post-pregnancy fitness videos both online and in DVD form. Many are specially designed to assist women in various phases following pregnancy and provide a step-by-step guide you can follow to help get back into shape after your delivery.
7. Diet and Nutrition
Your doctor will have recommendations on the best foods and vitamins following your pregnancy. However, generally eating lots of vegetables and fruit along with lean protein, dairy and a small amount of saturated fats can help with melting away the pounds and strengthening your bones and tissues from the inside out.
Having a baby is a transformative time for you and your family. It also has undeniable effects on your joints, back and the rest of your body. Use these seven steps to help get back into shape so you can feel good, keep up with your new son or daughter and enjoy motherhood to the fullest.