Get Your Pre-Baby Body Back
Welcoming home a new little one is an amazing experience, but it’s not always easy.
As a father of a two-and-a-half-year-old and a newborn, balancing my growing family with workouts and other responsibilities is a constant juggling act. And of course, it’s even tougher on the mom, whose body has undergone drastic changes. But studies show that moderate exercise will not only help you shed those post-baby pounds, but it can also boost your mood and improve your fitness level. (Don’t stress if you’re breastfeeding: Moderate exercise doesn’t seem to affect milk production, according to research.)
To get back on track after baby, you should be:
Patient. You gained your pregnancy weight gradually so don’t expect to lose it right away. While it’s not uncommon to drop 10 pounds shortly after childbirth, the rest may come off more slowly. What might be even more frustrating is that many women aren’t able to return to their original fitness routine right away, particularly if they’ve had a C-section. Once you get the OK from your doc to start exercising, aim to build up slowly. For instance, if you used to go for a 30-minute walk three times a week, start with once a week for 10 or 15 minutes, or as long as you can comfortably go. The next week, try to increase the time by a few minutes. Once you get back up to 30 minutes, add another day of walking, and so on.
Ready to work. Once you’re back to your pre-pregnancy fitness level, you’ll probably need to increase the frequency, duration, and/or the intensity of your cardio sessions even more to continue to lose weight. For new moms who don’t have a lot of extra time, intensity becomes a key factor. If you exercise at a more vigorous pace, you can burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than if you exercised at a moderate pace.
Flexible. With a new baby to care for, you may not have the time or ability to stick to your regular workout schedule. Staying in shape may now involve being a little more creative. For instance, you may have to break up your workouts so you do several mini-sessions during the day, like when baby’s napping, instead of one long one. And I’d recommend taking advantage of whatever resources you have at home; instead of trekking to the gym, simply pop in a fitness DVD. Or rather than going for your regular run, put the baby in the stroller and take a brisk walk. If you think that your sexual health is affected due to your pregnancy, try using kegel balls for better vaginal health.
Realistic. Even if you do take off most or all of the weight, it’s possible that you won’t be able to reclaim your original figure or get back down to your exact pre-pregnancy size. Remember, it’s not just about fitting into a certain dress size, but living a healthy life and, of course, taking the time to enjoy your new little bundle of joy.