Once you have a baby, considering working out is not one of the first things that comes to mind. But after you receive your clearance (usually at your six week follow up appointment with your OB/GYN), it’s a good time to start thinking about the baby steps you can take to getting back into or starting physical activity. Getting your body back to it’s pre-pregnancy form can be a tall order, but it is doable for most. Depending on your birth story, the way your body handled the increase in weight and stretching while hosting your bundle, and how active you were before and during pregnancy determines how quickly and how close to your previous figure we can get (with the welcoming of some extra stretch marks and skin that hangs a little…let’s be real with eachother!)
The benefits of exercising once baby is about 8 weeks old are:
- reduction in risk of postpartum depression
- increased energy level to sustain you through late night and early morning feedings
- release of good hormones and improve mindset and ability to cope with new baby challenges
- another opportunity to bond with the baby
- increased skin-to-skin and bonding time
- engaging and stimulating sensory response
- aids in establishing routine
Easing back into your workout at about 40% of where you were prior to delivery, or starting to exercise for the first time, try a 20-minute bout and see how your body responds. Signs that it may be too much at first would be:
- presence of/or increased spotting
- pain near incision if you had a c-birth (c-section)
Gradually increasing your exercise by 10% every two weeks, and accumulating 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, is recommended. As baby gets older, and is able to hold their head up, sit up on their own, etc. exercises with baby can be modified for maximum benefit for both mom and baby; such as holding baby certain ways to help build muscle tone and improve flexibility. Be sure to stay well hydrated when exercising, especially if you are breastfeeding, by drinking 4-6 additional ounces of water for every 15 minutes of exercise. Safely losing weight should average 1 pound per week to ensure you take the weight off and keep it off.
Custom Mom and Bundle workouts are available!
- ACOG – Exercise During Pregnancy
- American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. 6th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2000
- Hyatt, Gwen, and Cram, Catherine. Prenatal and Postpartum Exercise Design. Tucson, AZ: DSW Fitness, 2003. Print.