Post natal exercise: Planning your post baby fitness

Post natal exercise: plan ahead
Post natal exercise: plan ahead

During your pregnancy it’s all about baby – you want to provide nourishment and a cosy cocoon for your precious bundle. Most women can expect to gain between 17 and 30lb in total through their pregnancy, and whilst some women are witnessing these changes in amazement, it’s perfectly normal to be a little concerned about how you’re going to lose all that extra weight once the baby is born. Well, fear not! If you’ve managed to keep active throughout pregnancy and were fit and well beforehand then getting back in shape may not prove to be as much of a challenge as you’d expect – as long as you’re realistic about what you want to achieve and you plan your post natal exercise sensibly.

Manage your expectations

Carrying a child can drastically change your shape – so it’s important to try your best not to constantly compare how you look to your pre-pregnancy body. Trainer Margarita Bennet explains:

“After birth, everything has stretched out like a balloon so there is nothing holding you up. Poor core stability impacts everything and can make everything ache and many women suffer lower back pain.”

Caring about your core and taking steps to strengthen these muscles not only helps you get back into shape, but will also improve the health of your spine – not to mention coming in handy to lift your growing baby! It’s important not to push yourself too far too fast; the hormone relaxin, which is built up during pregnancy, can mean that you may still be a bit wobbly for a few weeks (or even months) afterwards. Don’t forget – no matter how keen you are to get your fitness plan started, it is imperative that you wait until after your six week check-up before undertaking any strenuous exercise.

Work it into your routine

Caring for a newborn takes up a lot of your time. Often women find the hardest thing about getting back into shape is fitting exercise into your busy day. Experts say that even exercising in short sharp bursts can achieve great results.  Injecting a little more energy into whatever you find yourself doing can make a big difference. Your buggy is a powerful exercise tool, and there are a few things you can do to make it work harder for you. By increasing the speed you are walking you can get your blood pumping, and once you’re in the swing of things you can graduate to a jog, offering great cardiovascular exercise.

If you haven’t chosen your buggy yet, take a few minutes to think about how it could help your fitness. If you are planning to spend time jogging ‘off road,’ a more robust model will better suit your needs. The Baby Summit XC is designed for exercise and will give your baby a smooth ride over all terrain.

Look to your house for inspiration

If you used a birthing ball in your pregnancy or labour, there’s no reason to deflate it now. A birthing ball is practically the same as an ordinary gym ball so you’ll be able to use it during your workout at home. Start simple – just sitting on the ball is a great way to strengthen your core muscles and assist with balance. As you begin to regain some strength in your core, you can start to use your ball to support yourself during half push ups and squats against the wall.

Join a class

Postnatal fitness is very popular, and there are mum-friendly fitness classes available in many areas of the country. Some even make special provision for you to take baby along, so you won’t have to miss out on any feeds or arrange childcare. Kelly Basset who runs BuggyFit, a postnatal class in Brighton suggests:

Working with someone qualified can help as they can look at your posture. It’s all about pulling it all back together. Pilates is fantastic for getting your belly back.”

‘Workout’ with baby

Even without making a special effort to incorporate workout time, a little focus can turn everyday tasks into a mini-workout. Activities like lifting and bouncing your baby, carrying a car seat or changing bag, going for a long walk instead of a drive to help baby get back to sleep – all these simple actions can help tone muscles that you may not have used for a while. While this may not give you the sort of definition and strength you’re hoping for, if you find yourself too tired, or overwhelmed by motherhood to put a proper routine in place, rest assured that your body is working harder than you think. As Margarita explains:

“Try not to turn fitness into a big deal. Remember that life has changed and enjoy your baby.”

For a range of fitness friendly prams plus more advice on everything you need for a new baby visit: http://www.kiddicare.com/

Do you have any post natal exercise tips to share? We would love to hear from you.

20 Comments

  • Thanks for sharing such an amazing article. Really helpful for mommies. Your photos really gave a very good look to your article. :)

  • Helen,
    Its a very useful and informative article I have ever read. I think the most important part of this article is- ‘workout with baby’. My wife is too concern with her kid. I hope this article will open her eyes a bit more.

  • Hey..!!!!!
    Amazing tips. This little bunch of exercises can be a great help for would be mums and even during pregnancy. Future mums can plan their exercise schedule in advance so that they don’t have to worry about loosing weight after delivery.
    Great share.
    Cheers buddy.. :)

  • It’s really very helpful article for those who are already pregnant and want’s to make her baby fit and fine. Thanks for share this type of article.

  • I think all women should read this article
    Post natal exercise: Planning your post baby fitness
    it is really nice

  • Great article. Fitness after giving birth is a very important concept that mothers need to understand. And great tip about fitting in exercise into your daily schedule even if it’s for a short while. That’s better than doing none at all!

  • A HEALTHY HEART
    Regular physical activity and a healthy diet can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of illnesses such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease.

    STRONG BONES
    Exercise, combined with fat-free or low-fat dairy products and other foods rich in calcium, is necessary to build strong, healthy bones and can help slow the bone loss associated with getting older.

    A SENSE OF WELL-BEING
    Being in good shape can give you more energy, reduce anxiety and depression, improve self-esteem, and help you better manage stress.

  • Often they feel they are the only one in the World who cant find time in the day to fit in training. The fact you mentioned the short bursts of exercise fitted in whenever they have a spare 10 minutes can make a huge difference to their body and also their mind. Well said

  • What a great article for Mum’s ! Often they feel they are the only one in the World who cant find time in the day to fit in training. The fact you mentioned the short bursts of exercise fitted in whenever they have a spare 10 minutes can make a huge difference to their body and also their mind. Well said

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