Labor really was laborious and — though you’re thrilled with your new baby —your body needs a break. Post-pregnancy is a great time to pamper yourself and let your body recover from gestation and delivery, but it’s no time to skimp on exercise. To stay strong for yourself and your newest, cutest family member, the American College of Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends instituting a regular exercise routine within a few days after giving natural birth. If you had a cesarean section or a complicated pregnancy or delivery, your doctor can give you a safe timeline.
Once you’re healed and strong enough to be on your feet, ACOG’s minimal suggestion is 150 minutes of moderate-aerobic exercise each week. That’s 30 minutes a day, for five days, or divide it however is best for you.
Exercise Makes You Feel Better
One of the greatest benefits of post-baby exercise is that it gives you a giant mood boost and lots more energy — both of which you’ll need in the busy days of acclimating to your new baby’s schedule. Numerous studies have shown that exercise reduces stress. And, maybe best of all, it’ll help you sleep like — well, a baby. Some studies even suggest that exercise alleviates or reduces your risk for post-partum depression.
Even if you’re not ready for a full-on routine, start with a 10- to 20-minute minute walk with Baby in a stroller or carriage. As you feel stronger, increase the length of your walks, pick up the pace, and take more than one walk per day.
Or, if you prefer indoor exercise, use a treadmill or a stationary bike. Whichever aerobic exercise you choose, your goal is to raise your heart rate high enough so that you sweat. You should be breathing easily enough that you can still talk normally (Baby will like that), but you shouldn’t be able to sing (Baby can wait for his lullaby).
Be sure to stay hydrated! Even if your exercise is light, you’re still burning calories and sweating more than normal. Drink plenty of water and be sure to warm up and cool down after your workout.
Exercise Takes the Pounds Off
Walking alone may be enough to burn off the extra fat you accumulated for gestation. But if you would like to accelerate the pace — or if you were vigorously exercising before pregnancy — talk to your OBGYN about when and how to add in a more intense work-out. Some examples of more intense fat-burning activities include:
- Jumping rope
- Cycling outdoors
- High-impact aerobics
Jumping, running, and other high-impact activities jostle your breasts. Give them support with a running bra. If you’re nursing or still leaking, be sure to express milk from your breasts before starting your routine. Have a water bottle handy so you stay hydrated and healthy.
Exercise Re-Builds Your Muscles
Pregnancy wreaks havoc on your abdominal muscles — stretching and tearing them so that even after you deliver, you may still have a “tummy.” Your vagina was stretched during childbirth and your other organs and tissues were under stress, too. You may have even noticed that you can’t contain your urine the way you used to. You may leak when you laugh, sneeze, jump, or move suddenly.
To strengthen your urogenital muscles and pelvic region, continue the Kegel pelvic-floor strengtheners your doctor prescribed when you became pregnant. Add in a pelvic-tilt routine, too.
- Next time you void your bladder, locate the pelvic-floor muscles you’re going to use by stopping your urine flow mid-stream
- You can lie down for Kegels — if that’s easiest — but you can actually do them in any position, including while seated at your desk
- Isolate and tighten your pelvic-floor muscles. Try not to tighten your buttocks or any other surrounding muscles
- Hold your muscles in a contracted position for 5 seconds.
- Release for 5 seconds
- Try 5 times in a row
- As your muscles get stronger, hold them for 10 seconds and repeat the exercise 10 times in a row
- Do your Kegels three times a day
- Lie face up on the floor or other supportive surface
- Bend your knees, keeping your feet on the floor
- Tighten your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis up slightly until your lower back is pressed into the floor
- Hold for at least 10 seconds
Building up the muscles in the rest of your body, too, will make your system burn fat and calories more efficiently and make you stronger. Talk to your OBGYN about when it’s safe to start a weight-lifting routine. You can find a trainer at a gym or community center to help you devise a safe routine that builds up every muscle group. You might want to place extra focus on your abdominal muscles, since they support your entire core.
Turn Exercise Into a Social Event, Playtime, or Me-Time
Be sure to vary your exercise routine so that you stay engaged. One of the easiest ways to do this is to take classes, join a gym or community center that offers exercise classes, or start a work-out group with friends or other new mothers. You can even find Baby-and-Me classes that use your little one as a counterweight, to make exercise a special bonding time, too. Some ideas for classes or groups include:
- Weight lifting
Ease In, Ease Out
Whichever exercise routines you try, always be sure to warm up gently for at least 10 minutes and cool down after your workout for another 5 minutes. You can walk in place to get the blood flowing. Do gentle stretching exercises to prepare your muscles for work and allow them to recover afterward. Hold each stretch for up to 30 seconds at a time.
No matter how determined you are to get back to your pre-baby figure, it’s important to notice and react to your body’s cues. If you feel pain, either stop that exercise, or ease up. Feeling stress as your body pushes past its normal limits is healthy; sharp pain is not.
Get Back to Your Pre-Baby Body
Even when you’re diligent about your post-baby diet and exercise routine, sometimes your abdominal muscles are torn so badly that they can’t be strengthened. Or you may have developed bulges of fat that aren’t responding to exercise. You don’t have to resign yourself to your post-baby figure. A Mommy Makeover can get you back into your ideal, pre-baby shape.
When you’re considering mommy makeover options in las vegas, it’s important to find an expert plastic surgeon like Julio Garcia, MD, who brings both surgical skills and an artist’s eyes to your new figure. He spends time talking to you, learning about your current frustrations, looking at photos of yourself before Baby, or photos of an ideal body you haven’t yet reached.
During your Mommy Makeover, Dr. Garcia tightens and restitches your damaged and stretched abdominal muscles. He uses liposuction to remove fatty bulges in the lower abdomen, hips, and thighs. He then tightens your skin to fit over your sleek new contours, stitches and secures your new figure, and trims away redundant skin.
Not only does your Mommy Makeover return your figure to its pre-Baby days, your urogenital muscles will be tighter and stronger, too. One of the significant benefits of a Mommy Makeover is that it improves or resolves urinary incontinence. Because it tightens your abdominal muscles, a Mommy Makeover also improves your posture. If you developed a ventral hernia during your pregnancy, Dr. Garcia can repair that, too.
If you’re considering mommy makeover options in las vegas , call Dr. Garcia for a consultation. He’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about recovering your pre-baby figure.