Getting Back in Shape after Pregnancy
Getting back in shape after childbirth doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are some simple ways for you to get fit
Getting Back in Shape After Pregnancy
As we go through pregnancy, our body changes inside and out. Besides getting a new family member, we might also end up with a new clothing size and even a new shoe size! While we all want to bounce back and get our body back in shape as quickly as possible, it’s also important to remember that our body after childbirth will be different from pre-pregnancy. During pregnancy, our joints at the hips naturally loosen and widen to allow room for your little one to grow and for ease of birth. Our breasts will also increase in size in preparation. So don’t try to squeeze yourself into your pre-pregnancy clothes immediately after birth, do let your body time to heal and adjust first.
Getting back in shape after childbirth doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are some simple ways for you to get fit and shed the pregnancy weight without the pressure:
1. Start moving
After getting the all clear from your doctor, you can start by doing some light movements to ease your body into a new routine. While it is tempting to just rest in bed all day after delivery, getting your body moving will help with blood circulation, improve bowel movements, speed up recovery and burn some calories too. It can be something as simple as just going for a walk around the block or some light stretches by your bed.
Don’t push yourself too hard though, take a break and rest if you’re feeling lightheaded or dizzy. Work your way up slowly as your body is still adjusting.
2. A balanced diet
The sleep deprivation that comes with motherhood is real, and it can affect our appetite. When our body is tired, we tend to crave for more junk food like sweets for that quick energy boost. Prepare healthy snacks ahead of time to reduce the temptation of reaching out for a bar of chocolate. Make healthy swaps instead like choosing fresh fruits over biscuits, or plain yoghurt over flavoured yoghurt to minimise the consumption of extra calories that will add inches to your waist.
An unhealthy diet will cause a surplus of energy which will then be stored in your body as fat. Therefore, it is also important to eat a balanced diet by including a portion of protein, a portion of fat, a portion of vegetables and a small portion of complex carbohydrates in your meals.
3. Simple workout
No time to go to the gym? No worries! Conduct simple workouts from the comfort of your own home. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week2, which can be broken up into 20 minutes a day, or a few short sessions in a day. Plan a workout in your living room, or add some exercise moves while doing your chores. You can even work some squats or use some weights while you clean up the room for an efficient way to burn calories and strengthen your muscles at the same time!
Always remember that your body postpartum has been through a lot of changes. Your muscles, ligaments and joints have expanded, stretched and loosened to accommodate a growing child, so you’ll have to slowly work your way back to pre-pregnancy fitness.
4. Check for diastasis recti
Before starting any abdominal workouts, don’t forget to check for diastasis recti. It is a separation of the abdominal muscles that is common after pregnancy.4 This can be done at home, or by going to a physiotherapist who will be able to check for you. There are different variations of diastasis recti, and while some are able to close on their own, more severe cases will require medical help.
Exercises such as crunches and planking might also make the separation bigger, which can lead to a mummy tummy that won’t go away. So it is important to ensure that you do not embark on any exercise routine without checking for diastasis recti first.
No matter how eager you are to get back in shape, don’t forget to take things slow and always listen to your body. After all, it took months to grow another human being in your body, so don’t expect for it to magically shrink immediately. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
This article was written by Motherhood.com.my
DISCLAIMER: The content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Due to unique individual needs, the reader should consult health professional to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader's situation.