As a woman’s body changes to accommodate new life during pregnancy, there are so many muscles, bones, and joints that we need to think about that were never an issue before. Some women choose the route of acceptance: things have changed, and there’s no going back to the way things were before.
But chances are if you are reading this article, it is because you are ready to get your body back! Many have been able to achieve fitness at even a higher level than before having a baby.
Being pregnant during Covid-19 can be a frightening thing, especially when you aren’t able to meet up with girlfriends that understand what you are going through. The heavy emotions and physical changes can be overwhelming. Even before the birth of your baby, you might be thinking about what to do.
While reading these nine things to know about postpartum fitness, remember this vital detail: every physical body is different. And what’s more, is that every individual pregnancy is different.
It means that even though you experienced one thing with the birth of your first, your second pregnancy may be remarkably different. The best thing you can do is listen to your own body and your current experience rather than comparing to others.
9 Things to Know about Postpartum Fitness
1. Consult your Doctor First
You might have seen the stories of many women who never stopped working out and participated in tough challenges like crossfit and powerlifting. The consensus is this: if you have always been athletic, don’t stop; if you have never been active, don’t start while you’re pregnant.
Pregnancy is absolutely a necessary time to find healthy movements, but you should ask your doctor if your method of exercise is right for you during pregnancy and postpartum.
2. Aches and pains
It can be all too tempting to choose to laze away at every opportunity and spend each moment bonding with your baby or snoozing; If not for sheer tiredness, then for all the new aches and pains.
Places in your body you didn’t know could have separated and stretched to grow a new life; the softening of joints so that the bones in your pelvis could open during delivery. You have done amazing and challenging things to get this far!
To ease the pain of these postpartum side-effects, stay tuned for some helpful exercises that will help you move past this stage of motherhood.
3. Emotional challenges
A good doctor would have already given you this spiel, but pay attention to your body and feelings. Entrust a loved one like your spouse or a close friend to be frank and sincere with you if they notice your moods are much lower than normal or if bouts of crying and anxiety are becoming the norm—you will need to consult your doctor.
These are all signs of postpartum depression. Immune boosting foods like citrus fruit and berries not only help prevent illness during this time when your system is weakened, but they also help to boost your mood and ease depression symptoms.
4. Labor and Healing
Whether you chose a traditional birth, a water delivery, or had to have a c-section, your body has undergone miraculous feats for the last nine months. You might not have been made aware, so here it is: the feeling of cramping and contractions can last after the birth of your baby because your body still needs to expel the placenta.
Pain can continue as nurses return, when it’s necessary, to press your fundus to empty fragments. Kegels exercises are one of the greatest things, you can do to prepare for this stage.
5. Rest up
Resting and sleeping whenever you can is one of the best things you can do during this time to restore your new mom-body to its best shape.
Let’s not forget: amid all the hopes and dreams about a healthy and fit postpartum body, there is a little newborn that will wake every three hours to feed, and if this is your first child, it could get exhausting and overwhelming.
There is no shame in walking for exercise, so even if that is all you fit in that day, then well done!
One of the vital ingredients for keeping the body fit is a healthy diet plan. If you plan to breastfeed, then the healthy foods needed to make healthy milk for your baby are already part of it. Avoid foods that cause gas because not only will they cause bloating for you, but also painful discomfort for the baby.
Weight loss might be a challenge during this endeavor as breastfeeding can increase hunger, but at the same time, it also burns calories and increases oxytocin—the hormone that helps your uterus return to normal.
7. Take it easy
You may not feel like working out, and that’s okay. Rest is the first step in recovering from giving birth. There is no need to compare what your body needs to anyone else. If your body is saying take it easy, then don’t be jealous of other women who were already back to their old routines.
8. Wait for the bleeding to stop
You don’t have to wait for the bleeding to stop to begin exercising; however, strenuous activities can cause bleeding and cause your body to heal more slowly—and this is a sign you’ve gone too far.
Start with activities in 20-30-minute increments that are gentle. Think yoga, stretching, or a brisk walk. It may seem like an instinct to jump into ab workouts, but your pelvic floor may not be ready for that. This condition leads to our last point…
9. Start postpartum workouts slowly
You might have bursts of energy, or you might be more exhausted than you have ever been in your life.
No matter what you are experiencing, ease into your exercise routine, and pay close attention to your body. Your pelvic floor and ad muscles may not be ready.
But never fear! There are exercises and routines like Kegels to help combat this problem.
Bonus Tip: Exercises to Try
These helpful exercises assist in strengthening and restoring those pelvic floors and ab muscles without causing too much strain.
- Heel Slides
- Glute Bridge with Ball Squeeze
- Pec-and-Shoulder Release
People Also Ask
A: Continue doing Kegels exercises and try slow and simple stretching.
A: The answer is up to you and your doctor. Some women could do lunges freely while breastfeeding while others don’t have that ability. Chances are, if you were active before, your body will feel the call to be active again when it is ready. If you were not active before giving birth, ask your doctor when and how to start an exercise routine.
A: You might not be able to achieve a flat tummy, especially if you are going to breastfeed. Some quick fixes are to avoid gassy foods like broccoli or cabbage, but your muscles and joints may be loose and need time to heal—in short, you should not expect a flat tummy as soon as the baby is out.
A: It is best to consult your doctor. A typical rule is no heavy lifting, but paying attention to your body is the best choice.
A: All women are different, but if you feel like you need to rest, then you should. Your body may not be ready for anything too active until after bleeding has stopped. Most women experience the completion of this cycle at six weeks, but eight is normal for many. If it seems like you can’t remember a time when there wasn’t blood oozing at every step, you may need to ask your doctor in case any underlying issues are occurring.