It has been just two months since you have had your baby. And all you want to do now is to snuggle with your bundle of joy and enjoy the bliss of motherhood.
All that bliss apart, when you look at yourself in the mirror, your once-upon-a-time svelte figure is replaced with ‘mummy-figure’. How do you get back your slender frame and be healthy for you and the baby? Well, let us explore this area a little more, especially for all those who cannot hit the gym.
Fitness & pregnancy:
Losing your pregnancy weight makes good sense.
But first, begin with getting your doctor’s approval even before you begin to move a limb. Six weeks after delivery is supposed to be a safe period to begin exercising. Yet with your doctor in the know, you are safe.
If you have stuck to the medically recommended weight gain in those nine months, then it is easier to lose what you have gained. Remaining fit and active up until you go into labour, will make it a lot easier for you.
Remember, along with exercising, it is equally important to eat right.
Begin with gentle stretching and short spurts of brisk walking. As you get stronger, increase the pace and take longer walks. If you feel tired, stop. Never stop suddenly when you are walking briskly. Slow down and then stop. Be alert and don’t overdo exercise. Rest when you have to. After all, motherhood is very demanding. Once you know that you are ‘fit as a fiddle’ you can move on to:
Childbirth weakens pelvic muscles due to stretching. This also causes pelvic organs to sag leading to urine leak (trickle of urine when you cough, laugh, sneeze, etc.) If done on a regular basis, Kegel exercises help tighten and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
- How do I do Kegel exercises?
Kegels are very easy to do and can be done anywhere, anytime, without anyone knowing what you are doing!
Contract your pelvic muscle as if you are stopping from urinating. Squeeze it for a few seconds and relax. Once you get the hang of it, increase the seconds and reps. Be watchful so as not to tighten your stomach, buttocks, and thigh muscles. It is good to remember not to do these exercises when you are urinating. If you do, it may hurt your bladder or increase the risk of urinary tract infection due to incomplete bladder unload.
Yoga : Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) Cat Pose (Marjaryasana), Camel pose (Ustrasana)
Pregnancy weakens the back with the weight it has to carry, especially in the last few months. Therefore, it is a good idea to do some back strengthening exercises. Yoga offers some perfect stretches that are popular and easy to do. If you are attempting these stretches for the first time, do it under supervision.
Like yoga, Pilates too has immense benefit with its range of effective post-pregnancy workouts, especially focusing on those areas which do the most work during pregnancy – back, pelvic and abdominal muscles. As it pays attention to your core muscles, Pilates exercises strengthen these very muscles which need to be healed and toned first.
For the abs:
It’s best not to do sit-ups or any form of aerobic exercise, such as running, high-impact exercises, sports, etc. until your pelvic muscles have become strong. Vigorous exercise can put a huge strain on your pelvic floor muscles. But not to worry, Kegels, Pilates, and yoga will take care of your pelvic muscles.
However, once you have gained more strength and confidence, move on to abs. It is essential to do sit-ups and tone abdominal muscles inside out to get back that awesome figure.
Lower belly fat, new mummy tummy as we call it, can be difficult to lose. Perks of motherhood we say, it will help you do the ‘Plank pose’. For the routine plank pose, get on to a ‘push up’ position and slowly raise yourself till you are set on your arms and toes. Side plank position will help work out those stubborn abdominal muscles on your side, giving your mummy tummy a well-rounded workout.
For the fit mom:
Once you are a fit mom, tone your body with squats, deadlifts, lunges, and pull-ups.
Precautions to take before embarking on an exercise routine:
If you have had assisted delivery or if you are experiencing any back pain or discomfort in the pelvic area consult your doctor. Take your doctor’s advice on the workouts you need to do. If you experience bleeding during workouts, stop and get medical help immediately.
Pregnancy can also impact your joints, so be careful not to embark on too much high-impact activity too soon, especially if you are not used to this type of exercise.
- Breastfeed your baby. Evidence indicates that you can use up to more than 250 calories in a day by just breastfeeding.
- Eating a well-balanced diet will support your exercise routine.
- Avoid crash dieting. You can have your cheat days but the key word is moderation.
- Stay hydrated at all times.
Try not to lose weight quickly. Slowly, steadily and gradually shed it off. It will help you stick to your ideal weight.