Firstly, congratulations on your bundle of joy. Now what? After nine months of pregnancy, you may be rearing to get back into the gym but most doctors suggest you take a minimum six weeks to allow yourself to heal.
After giving birth your pelvic floor, cervix, uterus and core muscles will need time to heal, so get to know your little one and plan on starting back slowly. If you’ve had a c-section or the birth required stitches, you may need to wait up to three months or longer. Be patient with yourself. Childbirth is a major event and it can take its toll on the body. Allowing yourself to heal now will help prevent complications in the future. Gentle stretches can be done during this period but avoid strenuous exercise.
After the doctors okay
After your doctor has given you the green light to train remember to start slow. You may have been a superstar before the pregnancy and chances are you’ll be a superstar at again, but your body needs to work back up to that. Here are some tips for easing back into your level of fitness.
- Walking is always a good starting place. It can be done anywhere, with a carrier, stroller or alone at a pace you set.
- Pay attention to your body (especially your core.) If you begin bleeding heavily it may be a sign you still need time to heal.
- If you feel anything is wrong, talk to your doctor.
Once you’re comfortable moving and being active again. Here are some easy workouts to do with your baby.
Yoga – The pregnancy may have affected your flexibility or muscle strength so remember to start slow and hold off from power yoga until you’re comfortable and strong again.
Kegels – they’re easy to do, can be done literally anyway and aid in tightening your pelvic floor meaning less leakage (a definite plus!) Just squeeze your pelvic floor muscles for a few seconds and release them for a few seconds.
Planks – an easy way to build core strength while minimizing physical stress. Start at 20-30 seconds and work your way up. Try these out before you start back with sit-ups.
Baby sit-ups – there are several variations, but the simplest is your typical curl up from a lying down position with your knees bent. Place the baby in a reclined or seated position near your pelvic area and hold onto his or her torso.
Baby bench press – use the same body positioning as the sit up, but use your arms to raise and lower the baby.
Baby overhead press – sit with your legs crossed looking forward. Hold your baby to your chest with your elbows bent. Raise and lower your baby overhead.
Squats – this can be done with a carrier or while holding your baby to your chest.
Lunges – these are handled in the same manner as with squats. Note – they can be done going to the side as well as backward for more variation.
Cycling – You may want to consider a seat with more cushioning, padding or a hole cut out to relieve pressure on your pelvic floor, but if you have the okay from your doctor, cycling is a great way to get out and exercise. If you happen to fall in love with cycling and want to bring your child on your adventures you may want to look into one of the seats reviewed by TinySweetHeart.
For the more advanced or those who just love to move
Once you’re back into the swing of movement feel free to make your lifting exercises more challenging through free weights. Call a babysitter and get back into your power yoga, Zumba or swimming. At this point (so long as you’ve spoken to your doctor) the world is your oyster and you’re good to go. If you and your little one are happy and healthy you really can’t go wrong. Stay healthy and remember to have fun!