September 23, 2020
Working out as a new mom isn’t just about getting back your pre-baby body, it’s an important part of the recovery process that should begin as soon after delivery as your doctor advises.
The key with all workouts for new moms is easing your body back into shape—especially in the first 45 days after childbirth. When you’re up for that challenge, here are five great ways to get going.
Let’s start with the best type of workouts—ones you can do with your new baby! Whether it’s infant-friendly swim classes, or even just getting out for a long walk, exercising with your newborn gives you a workout while helping you bond with your baby. These workouts tend to be lower in intensity and are a great way to ease yourself back into a workout routine while recovering from birth.
Weight gain is a natural part of pregnancy, and cardiovascular exercise is an important part of helping shed excess weight after your baby is born. Don’t expect to get right back out for a long run or a punishing spin session. You’ll need to ease yourself back into a cardio routine, but the physical and mental health benefits will be well worth it.
During a pregnancy, your abdominal muscles are stretched out and need to carry significant additional weight. Restoring that strength and tone is important—a routine of planks, crunches, and leg lifts can help restore abdominal muscles and core strength. Be aware of the possibility that your abdominal muscles have experienced some separation. If so, you’ll want to manually hold your abdominal muscles together as you do crunches to retrain them to their previous form.
Childbirth is traumatic for one part of your body in particular. Soon after childbirth, you will want to start Kegels —exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic floor. Kegels involve lying on your back and mixing slow and fast contractions of your pelvic muscles, similar to how you stop the flow of urine while using the restroom. These exercises will help speed recovery and prevent urine leakage or weak vaginal muscles.
Being a new mother is a challenge. Group classes provide an opportunity for connection and emotional support from others. And disciplines such as Pilates or yoga can help with stretching, core strength, and flexibility. Best of all? These approaches tend to be friendly to the recovery process for new mothers.
In any workout program, diet plays a key role. This is even more true for new mothers. The healthy weight gains needed to support a pregnancy should give way to a different kind of nutrition plan during recovery. That doesn’t mean you should cut back—especially if you’re breastfeeding. You’ll still want to eat plenty. Just ensure that it’s nutritious and balanced.
Most important: listen to your body. If you experience significant soreness, bleeding, pain, or other symptoms, consult your physician about your workout plan.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information on this web site is for general information purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or health care provider on any matters relating to your health.