A big challenge for any new mother is gaining back her pre-baby body. Many women experience physical problems post-pregnancy, either a consequence of the birthing experience or caring for young children. The pelvic floor, lower back, stomach and core abdominal muscles are weakened. Women also grapple with incontinence, lower back and knee pains due to weight gain, post-partum depression, low energy levels and stress.
Begin when you feel ready
In the past, women were instructed to wait at least six weeks after giving birth to begin exercising. However, if you had an uncomplicated delivery, it’s generally safe to begin working out as soon as you feel ready. Check with your doctor, to be on the safe side.
Increase the pace of exercise gradually. Ligaments and joints are supple and pliable, so it is easier to injure yourself by stretching or twisting too much. Avoid any high-impact exercises or sports that require rapid direction changes.
Set realistic weight loss goals
Don’t expect nine months of pregnancy weight to disappear as soon as you begin your workouts. Many mothers lose about 10 pounds when they give birth and can expect to lose approximately one pound per week once they start a post-pregnancy diet, so use these standards as approximate goals. Drink plenty of fluids and wear a supportive bra (if you’re breastfeeding, also wear nursing pads). Stop exercising if you feel pain.
After giving birth to triplets, and injuring my back in the process, I found myself 30 kg overweight. My determination to get healthy is what eventually led to a career in fitness and I did get back in shape. Read on, and I’ll tell you how to get there too.