Your Postpartum Fitness Guide
Picture this: you’ve had your baby, and you’ve been cleared by your doctor to hit the gym again. Now what? Chances are, you’re not going to be up for your pre-baby HIIT routine, so start small and work your way back up. Read on for more tips and tricks that are sure to get you motivated and back to your old routine in no time.
What to Expect
Let’s start with what notto expect: picking up right where you left off. Your body is so different now, and workouts you used to breeze through may now feel impossible. The first couple times you work out are going to be understandably hard. Try mommy and me yoga in place of your old Bikram class, or a walk through the park with your brand new jogging stroller over an intense trail run. This allows you to continue doing things you previously loved, but in a way that’s more appropriate for your body.
When to Start
Experts agree that two weeks post-birth is the absolute earliest you should exert yourself, let alone get back to the gym. If you’ve had a C-section, you should take it easy until after your first post-op checkup to ensure your skin has healed properly.
Once you feel like you’re ready to get moving again, start with short walks around your neighborhood with a jogging stroller. It’s a great, low impact way to get out of the house with your baby. Plus, low-impact exercise like walking helps get your hips back in order. Around the six to eight-week mark is when you’ll generally get the green light from your doctor to do more than walking. Three to five months out is when women typically start to return to their normal pre-pregnancy routines.
What to Do
It’s up to you! There are plenty of online resources with sample exercise plans you can reference, or you can enlist the help of a personal trainer. However, it is important to note that rapid weight loss can slow milk production, which has a detrimental effect on breastfeeding moms and babies. Nutrition is key here, so consult your doctor for advice on how much weight you should expect to lose and how quickly. For most moms, feeling active again trumps the number on the scale, so focus on one day at a time, and don’t get discouraged.
Set Realistic Goals
If you exercised regularly before and during your pregnancy, you’re more likely to experience a faster recovery process than women who did not. Be honest with yourself, and know that it can take months and months for even the most fit moms to achieve pre-pregnancy fitness levels. You just gave birth, your body is different now, and learning to embrace everything you went through is part of this journey. Setting new goals is part of the fun, and you’ll feel great when you achieve them!
This is an amazing and exciting time for you and your growing family, so embrace it! Tell us about your favorite postpartum workout in the comment section below.