Giving birth can be both thrilling and, at the same time, overwhelming for you as a parent. As a new mom, you may be surprised to find that most of your time and energy will be used to care for your new baby.
If you’re looking to get back in shape after giving birth, you need to breastfeed, get back to a regular exercise routine, and also give your body time to recuperate. This article will guide you on how to get fit after pregnancy.
You know how pregnancy changes you. Not just your mental state, but the state of your body too. Usually, as you would agree, most bodily changes relating to pregnancy start to show around the second and trimester of pregnancy.
Fat begins to accumulate around your face and your arms and legs, and your tummy pushes out more and more.
So you would watch yourself slowly lose the shape you once had.
Sometimes, you might even catch yourself wondering what every expectant mother has at some point wondered: “Would I ever get my shape back?” You wonder when your tummy would relapse to being as flat as it was. If your arms and legs would lose some fat and if your stretch marks would clear out.
The good news is, the answer to most if not all of these mental questions is yes. Yes, it is very possible to return to being youthful, healthy, fit, strong, and happy.
By practicing the right methods in which you would regain your fitness and being patient with your body, you can and will definitely get back in shape.
Would this happen in a flash, like magic? Sadly, no. It’s unrealistic to expect your body to go back to the way it used to be so fast.
For some people, the transition back to normal body shape and size might take longer than it would for others— it’s weeks for some and months for others.
But the guarantee is, if you practice the right methods meticulously whilst going easy on yourself, that is you will get back in shape.
5 Steps to getting back in shape after childbirth
1. Manage your anxiety
Anxiety is a common after-effect of pregnancy, and it’s perfectly normal for mothers who have just delivered children to feel anxious. But do you know anxiety can mess with your weight? Yes, it can. Anxieties increase body cortisol levels.
Cortisol, simply put, is some hormone in the body that helps with energy regulation.
When anxious, your body releases a lot more cortisol than it normally does. This cortisol might cause a build-up of fat in your stomach and thus lead to increased weight.
So, you might want to deal with any anxieties you might be having. Do this by eating healthy and avoiding stressful situations.
Anything that stresses your body or mind is a no at this point. Maintain a healthy sleep pattern and keep your mind in check.
Call your doctor whenever something health-related perplexes you. And speak to your partner about personal issues bugging you. Managing your anxiety would also improve your blood pressure.
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2. Eat healthily
The food you eat, to a remarkably large extent, influences your weight and outward appearance. As much as it is advisable not to eat high-calorie foods during normal life, you should eat some healthy high-calorie foods after childbirth.
This is because, as a nursing mother, you use some more calories than you normally would if you were not nursing a baby.
Cutting back the number of calories you take in just because you want to manage your weight might not be healthy for your baby.
High-Calorie foods do not have to include junk food and unhealthy snacks. They can be healthy whole meals and natural carbohydrates.
Stick to eating healthy vegetables and proteinous foods, which would help you and your baby.
Protein builds muscle and helps with the repair of tissues. Also, eat food containing essential vitamins, too, and please stay away from drugs that could harm your child. Consult your doctor before taking any medication.
Don’t smoke, and don’t take tobacco or caffeine. These wouldn’t only affect your body; it’d affect your baby too.
3. Drink lots of water
Water has been nicknamed the fluid of life. You should drink quite a lot to help you get your shape back. Water helps with the circulation of blood around your body and is good for your kidneys and vital organs.
4. Get enough rest
Make out time for yourself and rest. You’d need all the rest you can get for your body to return to its normal functionality.
People usually don’t like this part and it’s no surprise why. Exercising can be hard and proves even harder when you have to do it consistently.
But it is quite important and can’t be done without. To get your body back after delivering a baby, you have got to exercise.
Exercise helps build your muscles, improves your blood flow, helps with anxiety and insomnia, and helps your body burn away excess fat. It would as well improve your posture, reduce backaches, etc.
What Exercises are best for you after childbirth?
Whilst exercising is generally good for you, not all exercises are good for you at this point. Remember that you are still recovering from the effects of quite a lot of stress on your muscles and body.
Also, remember that you most likely are breastfeeding a child. This means your body’s state is going to affect your baby’s.
The exercises you’d need to do whilst trying to get back in shape after pregnancy must not be vigorous. They must be ones that likely target the areas of your body where you desire to see changes. Some include:
Abdominal, hip, and back exercises
You can start performing abdominal exercises and exercises that target your pelvic floor a few days after giving birth. During pregnancy, your abdominal muscles are usually separated. They, however, join back after childbirth and you can start doing:
- The One Leg Heel Slide
- One Leg Extension
Don’t do these exercises if your abdominal muscles have not joined back yet. At least don’t do them without consulting your doctor.
Two hip and back exercises you can do are:
- Arm and Leg Lifts
Please note that these are only a few exercises out of the many that can help you. Again, you must not begin exercising vigorously just after childbirth.
Wait at least six weeks before you begin exercising the way you should. And during this time frame, stick to taking walks and swimming. Don’t swim until a dozen days after every bleeding must have stopped.
You should stop exercising if you feel pain, spot blood anywhere, or hear snapping noises whilst exercising. Call your doctor immediately. This is especially if you delivered your baby via CS.
If you delivered your baby via the CS, you might be advised to wait a lot longer until you are allowed to exercise again.
This is because your wounds have to heal probably, and strain on muscles and tissues can prove a problem against the healing process. (2.)
Other methods to gain your body back after giving birth
1. Retinoid creams
For your stretch marks, retinoid creams should prove quite effective. Stretch marks are harmless and usually fade out on their own.
But if you don’t want to look down at your tummy and spot then constantly, you might have to try using retinoid creams.
Retinoid creams are derived from Vitamin A and should be applied directly to stretch marks. (3.) Consult your doctor for advice.
Returning to sex might be cumbersome. This is because, shortly after birth, your body tries to stop you from having sex. Your libido is likely going to drop and the idea of sex isn’t going to interest you much
But it is a vital part of intimate relationships. and could help against anxiety and help you sleep better, just like exercise.
You shouldn’t start having sex immediately after having birth. Your doctor is likely going to let you know when it is safe. This is probably going to be around the 8th week after giving birth. (4.)
Your body needs a lot of nutrients which are usually not found in enough quantities in normal means. Especially as you are now breastfeeding.
Vitamins. Choline. Omega-3 fatty acids. Iron. Consult your doctor and he should give you some supplements which would replenish your body’s nutrients. (5.)
A lot of changes after you deliver a baby. Some of which go unnoticed, others of which you are not comfortable with. Is it possible to get your body back after delivering a child? Yes. It is, however, probably going to take longer than you expect.
So you should be patient with your body and try to not stress your mind. You can start seeing positive changes in your body if you:
-Watch your diet
-Drinking lots of water, etc.
Your doctor should be as close to you as a friend at this point in your life. Please do not fail to contact him or her doctor concerning your health. He should know how you are doing and must not be kept in the dark.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash