Most of the women that were fit and working out before pregnancy, even during the pregnancy to some extent, tend to have ambitious plans regarding their postpartum days. To get rid of the few extra pounds and get in the shape within a few weeks sounds fairly easy, but most of them face the facts quite soon. Compared to being pregnant, the postpartum body is quite a surprise considering general fatigue, bad posture, atrophied muscles and hormones that are raging and pulling back. In such physical state, exercising can do you only good, but only if you play it smart.
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First two weeks
There is an ongoing debate on how long should women wait before starting to work out again, as well as how soon is too soon. Most of the gynecologist and obstetricians agree on the fact that during the first six weeks after the birth women should keep it slow since pregnancy related changes persist in the body throughout this period. However, useful and exercise-like activities that women should do during the first days after the birth are simply walking and Kegels. Brisk walking can wait for a little while, but before you give it a try make sure to consult your obstetrician.
Third and fourth week
At this time you may intensify your walk and perhaps start mild stretching and slow strengthening of your upper body parts. Having a newborn is challenging in many ways, not to mention that making time for yourself can seem impossible at the time, but if you manage to organize family or daddy, look for some gentle yoga classes. There are special postpartum exercise classes that may suit you, but if that is not an option, start slow exercises at home while your baby is having a daddy time. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard. Pay attention to lochia flow and see if your incision is healing well. If your breasts are sore and you feel too tired, postpone exercising and simply rest.
Around the sixth week and after
Time flies when you’re with the baby, so at the end of the first month, you’ll get to be much stronger and more like yourself. The tendons and ligaments in your wrists and ankles will toughen, so you will be able to do some more demanding exercises. Again, keep in mind that your body is still not fully recovered and take it easy. Yoga classes and moderate aerobic activity will do the trick, in addition to that, you can do some exercises, while holding the baby, to strengthen your muscles and joints. Start with some turned-out squats and double crunches or even push ups while your baby lies on the mat. It can turn out to be so much fun.
Work out and breastfeeding
For breastfeeding moms, the only trouble is to find time in a busy nursing daily schedule. Exercising does not affect milk supplies or the quality of the milk so feel free to continue your workout routine. However, keep in mind that the taste of sweat that may distract the baby and that level of lactic acid increases after an exhausting session. Therefore, after the nursing, get in your yoga tights and supportive bra and exercise while keeping it mild to middle intensity. And don’t forget to shower afterward.
Hydrate and rest
Remind yourself to drink water as often as possible, especially if you are a breastfeeding mom. Keep the water bottle within eyesight and try to rest as much as you can. Take that old advice to sleep when the baby is sleeping, even though not so many women follow it. Understand that only if you feel rested and restored, you will be able to take good care of those who need you the most.
Working out can be quite beneficial for the new moms, but it can also bring needless difficulties if the routine exceeds the energy capacity of the postpartum body. Be patient and smart, follow the signals your body is sending you and resist the unnecessary pressure to be a top-model mom. Be a mom first and with clever exercising, the perfect shape will happen in time.
Guest post by Ian Pearson
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