November 29, 2016
Throughout my pregnancy I felt like a glowing, expecting mother but when I looked in the mirror I saw myself wearing a fat suit. The juxtaposition of this was confusing for me to process. I felt beautiful, but I did not always feel like I looked beautiful. Through my pregnancy I slowly abandoned my vanity. All that was important to me was being healthy for my baby. I trusted that my body knew what it was doing in order to properly and perfectly prepare him for birth. Ultimately, that meant gaining 45 pounds.
I was pretty active while I was carrying Killian, because fitness is important to me and great for pregnancy. But when I hit my third trimester, I simply was not able to keep up my normal workouts. Packing on the pounds was coupled with losing strength, muscle tone and flexibility.
After delivering my son I did not just want to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes, I also wanted to be healthy and strong again. I dropped
30 pounds like magic in the first two weeks of my son’s life, but the last 15 required some work. Here is how I have gotten back into a fitness routine
(and my favorite pair of jeans) in the two months since my baby was born.
I was told not to work out for the first six weeks after giving birth because my body was healing from labor and delivery. But I was encouraged by my obstetrician to get outside and walk as much as I could. That began the day after I brought my son home from the hospital. At first, putting him in the stroller was an event that nearly drained all of my energy but once we got into a routine, getting out in the neighborhood for a stroll became one of my favorite activities. This introduction back into working out provided other benefits for me. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular postpartum exercise can boost your energy level, relieve stress and promote better sleep.
Helpful tip: If you wear a fitness monitor, like the Nike FuelBand, your steps will not be counted if you keep both hands on the stroller. I have learned to safely push my baby’s stroller with one hand so I know if I reach my daily goal of 10,000 steps.
As my pregnancy advanced I had to greatly modify my yoga practice to accommodate my growing baby bump and eliminate poses that would be harmful to my baby. Yoga is an important part of my life, so I was anxious to get back into it after giving birth. I resumed yoga at home shortly after having Killian by practicing postpartum yoga, which is nearly identical to the prenatal yoga I enjoyed for 10 months.
Now that I have been cleared by my obstetrician to resume my normal activities, I am getting back into the intense Vinyasa flow yoga that I love. I am practicing patience while practicing yoga because I have lost strength and ability, but I know I will soon gain it back.
Helpful tip: I subscribe to Gaiam TV Fit & Yoga through Xfinity Comcast because it is easier to follow an instructor than rely on my sleep-deprived mind to construct a yoga practice at home. I put my baby in his Pack ‘n Play when he naps and practice yoga next to him in my family room.
Running the stairs, doing laundry and cleaning your home are great ways to stay active when it is impossible to get out of the house. It is important for me to maintain my home, even when I am sleep deprived and wishing for a bubble bath, because my mental health requires order and cleanliness in my surroundings. Doing household chores is not just good for my psyche, but it also burns calories: mopping the floor can burn 153 calories and vacuuming can burn 119 calories in 30 minutes. Doing your normal motherhood routine can also help shed pounds: carrying your baby, changing diapers, bath time and breastfeeding all burn calories.
Helpful tip: Develop a cleaning schedule for your house so you do a little each day. This will allow for you to keep your home clean even with an infant taking up most of your time.
I discovered Barre3 when I was in my second trimester and living in the suburbs of St. Louis. I fell in love with its mix of ballet, Pilates, and yoga and was able to enjoy the intensity of the classes even with my baby bump. Once I moved to New Jersey, I subscribed to Barre3 classes online. It was easier for me to practice in my home as I advanced in my pregnancy. Because Killian is so young, has not yet been vaccinated and therefore I do not get out of the house often, Barre3 online classes also work well for me now.
Becoming a mother has been the greatest gift of my life. I would have gained 100 pounds if needed. Part of my duty as a mom is to live a healthy life so I can be around for my son for many years to come. That is my main motivation for working out and being active. But fitting back into my pre-pregnancy jeans is a really nice plus.
How did you get back into a workout routine after delivery? What exercises did you find most beneficial after giving birth? Share in the comments below or Tweet me at @ThePhillyVoice and @KathleenEGagnon.