The initial few weeks after having a baby are the busiest days for any mother. In the midst of diaper changes, breastfeeding and night waking, there is little time that you may get for yourself. Amidst all this postpartum exercising may be the last thing that you have on your mind. But if you are able to find time for it, it will be the best gift you can give your body.
During pregnancy, the pelvic floor and belly muscles stretch to their maximum limit. Immediately after the child is born, these muscles bounce back. However they cannot go to their original shape immediately. The uterus that had expanded during pregnancy may take a full year to involute and come back to its normal shape. Similarly the muscles of the abdomen tend to sag. Systematic and planned muscle toning exercises can help you get back to your normal shape soon. A post baby diet and exercise plan can be made according to your body type and medical condition.
How To Begin An Exercise Regime?
How to lose weight after birth? If you have had a normal delivery, you can begin exercising immediately once you get home. If you have been active and also working out throughout your pregnancy, then it will be easier for you. Begin with light exercises like walking. If you have had a C-section delivery, then you need to wait till your gynecologist gives you the permission to start exercising. You may begin walking but exercises for the toning up of muscles and weight loss should be started after a six week wait or once your doctor allows you. The reason is that the scar of the C-section takes a while to heal and if you over do the abdominal exercises in the early days, you may cause pressure on the scar. It may also increase your chances of developing a hernia later on. The scar needs to heal completely before you can do abdominal muscle exercises like crunches and sit ups.
(a) First few weeks: To begin with you must start walking for 10 to 20 minutes a day. Walk with moderate speed and gradually over a month or so, increase the speed and the length of your walk. Walking is the best way to lose weight after pregnancy.
Crunches and sit ups are not advisable in the early days. Instead take the help of a physiotherapist who will be able to guide you with postnatal exercises that involve breathing in and holding the breath while you pull your abdomen inwards. Pelvic floor exercises should also be done during this time. This kind of exercise variations are very helpful in tightening of the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles and it is the best way to tone your body. You will begin to see the effects only after a few weeks as these toning exercises take a while to show the results.
You must take care to avoid swimming in the early weeks, as you will be bleeding. Once the lochia discharge stops, you may begin.
(b) After three months: After 6 weeks of your delivery, you begin feeling normal again and your c-section scar is healed. Many mothers begin planned weight loss exercises after a few months of giving birth.
Types Of Postpartum Exercising
- Lower abdomen muscles:You can try a number of exercises. Begin with the breathing in and holding the breath while contracting the abdomen muscles and pulling the pelvic floor inwards. Hold this position for ten seconds and then release. Do repetitions of the same.You can also do this exercise using an exercise ball. Sit with both your feet touching the ground. Lift one leg and squeeze your tummy and pelvic muscles and hold the position for a while. Repeat five to ten times on each leg.You can check out the videos of post pregnancy ab workout to get a better idea about the postpartum exercising.
- Pelvic muscles:You can do pelvic tilts while sitting or lying down. Do this by pulling in the pelvic muscles and pushing down the back that is arched. Hold the position and then release. Never hold your breath during these exercises. These are good for your back and pelvic muscles.
- Upper Back and Neck:As a breastfeeding mom, you may sitting in a slouched position for a lot of time. Straighten your hands above the head and stretch your arms and twist from side to side. Another exercise is to hold your arms up for a few seconds and then bring them down.To strengthen your neck muscles, do side to side movements and rotate your neck slowly. This can help you with the stiffness and pain in neck.After few months go by, you can shift to more intense exercises like planks, sit ups and crunches so as to strengthen your lower abdomen. You can also enroll yourself in postpartum weight loss program.
Advantages Of Postnatal Exercising
- Depression after childbirth is a common problem as you tend to get overwhelmed by all the changes and your hormones add to the trouble. Exercise releases endorphins in the body and make you feel good. It helps to uplift your mood.
- You can try yoga after delivery which is a steady and safe method to lose weight. It also helps you relax mentally and you are able to cope up much better with the changes around you.
- Exercise helps to prevent aches and pains and boosts your energy levels.
- You can do these exercises at home using work out videos for women post delivery or join postnatal fitness classes. Whichever suits you best can be selected.
Lastly a word of caution, if you experience bleeding or pain after any postpartum exercising, make sure to visit your doctor. Do not begin strenuous exercises without medical advice as it may land you in complications. In the initial weeks or months, restrict yourself to muscle strengthening exercises and gradually increase the intensity. Swimming as a part of postpartum exercising should be avoided in the first six weeks after giving birth.