It's such a wonderful and exciting time having a baby! The joys of being a mum is incomparable, it fills your heart with so much love and joy having the new addition. But for some, it can be quite overwhelming - with the change of routine, change of priorities and even not being able to do things you were used to. For someone like me who exercises a lot, it put me in a bad position when I had a baby. I had to wait a gruelling 3 months before I can do any form of exercise. This can vary depending on the type of labour you had. For a Caesarean, it can take up to 8-12 weeks before you can start exercising again. So how did I get back into shape after pregnancy? Here are just a few tips:
1 Don't miss your 6-week post natal check. Make sure to see your GP 6 weeks post natal just to make sure that your body is ready and if there is anything that needs to be addressed. Commonly, women have abdominal separation. Make sure to see a physiotherapist that can help you with it. No need to worry though because issues like abdominal separation and weak pelvic floor can be easily addressed.
2 Start slow. With the influence of social media, we see a lot of fitness professionals posting their post baby bodies, and sometimes we tend to compare ourselves to them. Some of them already bounced back with their pre-pregnancy bodies even after just a few weeks. Always remember that each woman's journey is different. We carry our babies differently and we recover differently too. So, don't feel pressured that there is a timeline. Take your time. In my case, I was seeing my physiologist to help me build up my core strength. I started with doing body weight exercises whenever I can at home. I go for walk with my baby on the pram. The key is to just get your body moving.
3 Be diligent with your pelvic floor exercises from day 1. This is one of the most important things if you want to build up your fitness again, whether it be strength or cardio wise. Your pelvic floor is such a huge part of your core muscles. A strong pelvic floor will be your foundation to being able to lift weights again, jog/run or any cardio exercise. Do the squeeze and lift technique, engaging your pelvic floor muscles without holding your breath is the key. You can do this while lying down, seated or even while driving! Do 5 sets of 10 seconds and slowly build up. Do it at least 3 times a day.
4 Get quality sleep. I know it sounds crazy but a lot of parents would probably agree that sleep is non- existent when you have a baby. But you know what, you have do what you need to do so you can get at least 6 hours of sleep. Sleep is such a huge factor to your metabolism and appetite. Always try to squeeze in some sleep when the baby sleeps. Chores at home can always wait. Poor quality of sleep affects hormones that regulate appetite. The less sleep you get, the more likely you tend to consume more calories. In terms of metabolism, it does slow down too when you get less sleep.
5 Eat a healthy, well- balanced diet. If you are breastfeeding, you need to consume 500 calories more than those who don't. Remember that what you consume, the nursing baby also consumes. Do not deprive yourself with calories as this can weaken your milk supply. Drink at least 2 litres of water and limit caffeine intake. Variety and balance are the key to a healthy diet so eat a great mix of carbs, protein and fat in a meal to keep you feeling fuller longer. Eat a lot of greens like spinach to help you increase your iron levels. Consume a good amount of good fats in your diet like avocados, almonds, and salmon to help you balance your blood sugar levels. This will help you avoid cravings and binge eating.
Above all else, remember to take time to enjoy this new chapter of your life, it goes by so quickly!
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.