SHAPING UP AFTER DELIVERY
woman who's ever had a baby knows how difficult it is to take
off that extra weight. Though it is tough but it is possible
with little patience and regular workouts. This is no small
task, but by starting your fitness regimen and starting a
modified exercise program for the first time, you can improve
the tone of your body and get back your previous figure. However
before you decide to begin, you should check with your doctor
before starting any exercise program.
It is necessary to know
that during pregnancy:
- A woman's waist expands 50 inches
- Her skin is stretched by 400%
- Her hips widen half a foot
- Her fat cells grow to 125%
their original size -- all 30 billion of them!
Despite these challenges,
it is possible to lose post-pregnancy weight without losing
How early can you
start your postpregnancy exercise program?
The big question is how soon can you start? It all depends
on the type of delivery that you had, your condition and whether
your body is ready for it. If you exercised regularly throughout
your pregnancy and had a vaginal birth, you'll have a much
easier time getting back to start your exercise program. You
may feel ready to start exercising in as little as two to
four weeks after delivery. However women who didn't stick
with a fitness regimen throughout their pregnancy, had a caesarian
birth or an episiotomy (a cut made between the vagina and
rectum in order to enlarge the vaginal opening to prevent
tearing) will take longer to build up your strength.
Your Postpregnancy Exercise Program
Both fit and unfit new moms should ease into an exercise routine
by taking 20-minute walks three days a week, for example.
You should slowly increase the duration or distance of your
regimen each week. Initially you can begin walking and working
on exercises for your abdomen, lower back and pelvic muscles.
During the first six weeks, you can start walking to increase
your circulation and get some general exercise. Do what you
can handle, even if it's only for 10 to 15 minutes. Increase
the time duration as you get stronger. After you've received
your doctor's approval, move on to 50 to 60 minutes of continuous
walking, for four to five days a week. Of course, you can
take your baby along in a pram/a stroller if you have to.
Once you can walk comfortably for 20 minutes, begin to increase
Include the following exercises
in your daily fitness programme:
Pelvic floor exercise:
Weakening of the pelvic floor is common after childbirth.
The pelvic floor is a hammock shape of muscles slung between
your coccyx bone and your pubic bone. The muscles support
your bladder and bowel. The effect of a weakened pelvic floor
is that you tend to leak urine especially when you jump, cough
or sneeze. Therefore you need to do regular pelvic floor exercises
to cure the problem. Start pelvic floor exercises as soon
as you can after the birth. They may feel weak at first but
the more you do, the stronger the muscles will get. It also
has the added advantage of improving your love life later
Steps to do pelvic floor exercise:
To practice pelvic floor exercises imagine that you need to
stop yourself from going to the toilet, you are desperate
not to let go, pull the muscles up and in. Hold the position
for five counts, then release back to the starting position.
Repeat that as many times as you can until you feel the muscles
being to tire. Try to breathe normally.
Another exercise is to pull the muscles up and in as before,
but to lift, squeeze and tighten the muscles quite quickly,
as in the beat of a pulse and then release. Repeat five times.
Again breathing normally.
Some handy tips:
yourself only once a week
to keep the stress of slow weight loss to a minimum.
Losing about a pound per week is safe.
new to the joy of exercising, start
slowly and increase your intensity and duration over time.
If you exercise too hard too soon after your delivery, your
vaginal flow may increase. Thus increase your exercises
gradually allowing yourself time to build up over a number
Praise yourself for small goals
and achievements, such as exercising
three times per week.
isn't the time to diet to lose weight.
If you're nursing, you will need to eat about 500 calories
more per day as compared to when you became pregnant, including
65 grams of protein. Though milk production is largely independent
of nutritional intake during the first few months of nursing
(the fat accumulated during pregnancy provides a ready supply
of calories), if your diet isn't adequate you're more likely
to experience fatigue and listlessness.
comes to the abdominal work, ensure
your rectus abdominal muscles have come back together before
going on to more advanced exercises.
(You can ask your doctor, physiotherapist or your
postnatal exercise teacher to show you how to check on these
to keep the abdominal muscles as 'flat' as possible
(drawing them towards the spine as you work). Try
to do this in everyday life but especially when working
down your exercise routine by half in hot weather or when
you feel under the weather.
and keep the body in good alignment
- hips and shoulders kept square, and when doing knee bends
allow the knees to follow the line of the toes.
to exercise early in the morning or late in the evening
when it's cooler. Wear light clothing.
is a warning signal that should never be ignored.
Make adaptations or stop altogether (always stop exercising
when you feel your body has had enough).
plenty of water both before and after you exercise,
so that you don't get dehydrated. If you're out and about,
carry a water bottle in your baby's changing bag to remind
yourself to replace those fluids during the day.