Work It Out Baby
After your baby is born and life takes on a whole new perspective, you may find yourself pining (just a little) for your prepregnancy body. You vaguely remember being able to fit into slim jeans and fitted tops. Now, it seems that you can't throw those stretchy top pants out just yet.
Diet? Not So Fast. Exercise? You Betcha!
It is established that post-pregnancy dieting is not advised, especially in the first month after the baby is born, and definitely not if you are nursing. Even though dieting is out, exercise is very much in and is something that benefits both you and your baby. It will help you get your body back into shape and it also increases stamina and energy. A well known fact about exercise is that it produces endorphins in the body-those little happy hormones that keep a person feeling up as they help to reduce the risk of post-partum depression.
Unless you had a c-section to deliver your baby, the reins on exercise have been loosened considerably and new moms are encouraged to be active, starting to exercise at a level that is comfortable and easy to keep up. If the program you choose is too strenuous, then it needs to be revised until your strength is such that you can keep up without stressing yourself.
Start Off Walking And Go From There
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that one of the easiest ways to get into an exercise routine is by walking. This is where you and your little one get to spend time together outdoors. Walking-stroller workouts are very popular these days as new moms meet together at a starting point and "stroll" their babies together. The stroller becomes a piece of fitness equipment and there are even special "stroller workouts" where walking and exercise using the stroller are combined for a workout.
If you exercised throughout your pregnancy, you've got a head start on getting back into shape quickly. Should the stroller exercises be too easy, or if you feel you can handle more, then gradually add the exercises you did toward the end of your pregnancy, in your third trimester, to your routine. The stronger you get, the more you add. Continue adding exercises by going backward through the program you used while you were pregnant. Before long you will be back at what you were doing before you got pregnant. This entire process should take about six months.
Tighten That Core
One area of focus that is really important is your core strength. Pregnancy stretches the abdominal muscles and, even if your core was strong before you conceived, the pregnancy itself will take a lot out of those muscles. So, focus your energy on creating a strong core. You can begin with pelvic tilts and modified crunches. However, one of the best ways to strengthen the core muscles is Pilates. Today there are myriad sources for post-pregnancy Pilates strengthening which will help you get those muscles in your stomach and back into shape again.
A Word Of Caution
Regardless what method of exercise you choose, go slowly and be aware of any warning signs that indicate you may need medical care. Abdominal pain, shortness of breath, feeling exhausted after mild exercise, excessive bleeding or soreness in the muscles that hasn't gone away after a couple of days, are all indicators that your body may be more stressed than you thought.