You had your little bundle of joy and are starting to get the hang of this parenting gig. But being a mommy does not mean you have to give up your fitness goals. In fact, post-partum exercise can be beneficial for a variety of reasons.
Exercise can help you lose the weight you gained while you were pregnant and help improve muscle strength. It can also increase your energy level. Most new moms know how exhausting taking care of a newborn can be. Exercise can give you a little boost. Working out can also improve your mood and may even reduce the baby blues that some women experience.
How soon is too soon for post-partum fitness?
You probably don’t want to go for a run a few days after giving birth. But you can usually resume light exercise when you feel ready. According to the America College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, before starting strenuous workouts women should have their postpartum checkup and get the green light from their doctor, which is usually six weeks after delivering.
In some cases, such as if you had a C-section or had complications, your doctor may suggest you wait longer. Keep in mind, just because it’s been six weeks does not mean you have to lace up your sneakers and hit the track. Listen to your body, start slow, and resume exercise when you feel ready.
You might be eager to resume your fitness program or exercise may be the last thing on your mind. Whichever camp you fall in, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. For example, for about four or five months after giving birth, your ligaments and joints are still a bit loose from the hormones you produced during pregnancy. Because your joints are more pliable, it might make you more susceptible to injury.
It’s also important to listen to your body. If postpartum bleeding has stopped and restarts after vigorous exercise, contact your doctor to make sure you are not overdoing things. Keep in mind, the changes your body went through, breastfeeding, and sleep deprivation that commonly occurs with a newborn can leave you fatigued. If exercise makes you feel totally wiped out, you might need to take it a bit easier.
Exercise should not interfere with breastfeeding even if you are working out hard. Be sure to drink plenty of water to make sure you don’t become dehydrated, which can affect milk production. You might want to consider breastfeeding before you exercise, so you don’t feel too full and uncomfortable.
Tips for success
Juggling responsibilities as a new mom can be challenging. You might be returning to work outside the home and have other children to care for. Finding time for yourself is not always easy. But making time for exercise is not something to feel guilty about. Try to carve out a little time on most days of the week to exercise. Even 30 minutes can be enough. Lastly, cut yourself a little slack. Continue to work towards your fitness goals, but be patient. It can take time to get back to your previous fitness level – don’t try to rush it.
Interested in getting back on track to achieving your health and fitness goals after recently giving birth? The personal training team at Elite Triangle Fitness is here to help you with an individually tailored post-partum fitness program. Call us for a free consultation today!