Want to get your pre-pregnancy body back? Here’s how to do it!
New to motherhood? Congrats! Just don’t expect to shrink back to your pre-pregnancy shape immediately. According to data from parenting website, it takes the average mum one year and seven months to get their pre-baby body back. But it can be done! While pulling on a pair of workout leggings might not be top of your priority list right now, exercise offers big benefits for both you and baby. Not only might it reduce your stress levels and improve your body confidence, but research from Bupa also shows that mums who exercise claim it improves their parenting skills. The gains are good. Here’s how to do it safely.
Let’s start by answering the question that’s on every fit mum’s mind – when can you begin exercising? The answer is: it depends on your body, the method of delivery and whether a GP has given you the six-week “all clear”. As a guideline, experts recommend that new mums avoid all physical stress (yes, even heavy lifting) for two weeks after birth – then you’ll need to wait another four weeks until you can resume normal activities. And if you had a C-section, 12 weeks is a far more appropriate amount of time for healing. The hormone, relaxin, can continue to affect the elasticity of your ligaments and stability of joints for 3-12 months after labour. Be mindful of over-stretching for 16-20 weeks and don’t exercise to exhaustion until your joints feel stable again.
Good news – there is a silver lining because you can do some activities straight away. For example, it’s fine to do transverses abdominal (TVA) exercises and pelvic floor (PF) work such as Kegals immediately post labour, and many mums can start strolling as well. Love running? Walking is the best starting point for you. The jury is out as to when new mums can begin running, mainly because it requires balance, a range of motion, good TVA strength and PF control. The sound advice is to listen to your body and begin with a gradual run-walk routine.
TONE MUM TUM
Pilates is a great workout for new mums. After you have been cleared to exercise, a basic programme of post-natal Pilates will improve your posture and core strength, as well as help you to regain full movement and co-ordination. A word of warning – it can take six weeks for abdominal muscles to recover from pregnancy – longer if they were weak before motherhood. Gentle ab exercises in the early post-natal period will be vital in tightening the tummy but seek expert advice if you have had abdominal separation (also known as diastasis recti).
BACK ON TRACK
Exercising after labour boasts a horde of benefits. Here a few gains- Improved posture
– Weight loss
– More energy
– Reduced anxiety
– Boosted muscle endurance
Don’t forget: Breast feeding and exercise drain the body of fluid. Be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.