A new baby is wonderful and all-encompassing experience for a woman. It’s natural to feel more than a little overwhelmed. Getting up for midnight feedings, breast-feeding, keeping up with all the laundry and other chores can leave a new mother very little time for anything else. Getting back in shape sounds great, but it’s hard to find the time.
Before attempting to get back into shape, a mother should consult with her doctor about her plans to be sure that her body is prepared for all the changes she wants to make. Just as her doctor provided information about post-delivery plans concerning the baby on subjects like immunization and umbilical cord blood banking, a doctor can continue to provide the same informative benefits for a mother concerning her body post-delivery.
No matter how great a mother feels after delivery, it is encouraged that new mothers take time to adjust to the new routine, rest and bond with their infants instead of rushing to get back in shape. For the first couple days, post delivery, kegel exercises and pelvic tilts are recommended, along with abdominal breathing and ankle circles. These very gentle exercises help to strengthen the abdominal floor and improve circulation.
When mom is ready to start exercising her entire body, beginning with low-impact workouts like yoga can be beneficial. There are even mother and baby yoga classes offered; the gentle exercises done with the infant in tow help to strengthen and stretch core muscles and improve balance, posture and an over-all sense of well-being. Most programs recommend waiting four to six weeks to let the body regain equilibrium first. Women who have had a cesarean section or complications should talk with their doctors first. Benefits of mother-baby yoga include:
- Deep breathing
- Strengthening of body’s core
- Stretching to loosen muscles
- Support from other group members
- Social contact for infants
- Bonding between mother and child
Once a mother’s body has made a full recovery, she can begin to increase intensity and build more muscle. Starting intense regimens too soon can damage unhealed abdominal muscles and cause more injury to a mother, prolonging her recovery. The keys to getting back in shape are patience and persistence.
For breastfeeding mothers, vigorous exercise may cause an accumulation of lactic acid that will produce a sour taste in the milk. Although this is not harmful, the infant may not like it. If a woman wishes to engage in very vigorous exercise during the breast-feeding period, it may be good to express milk prior to the session and to discard any milk produced within thirty minutes afterward. Breastfeeding is said to aid in weight loss as well since it burns extra calories.
Women who engaged in regular exercise during pregnancy and had an uneventful vaginal birth may be ready to begin some low impact exercising a few days after the baby comes. Those who experienced complications or needed a caesarian section should consult their physicians first. The most important thing for a mother to remember about getting back in shape after pregnancy is to be kind to herself. Taking the time to enjoy baby and to rest is just as important to a mother’s post-pregnancy care as exercise.
“Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.”