Your whole life changes the moment you give birth to your precious child. Who knew something so small could have such a big impact? But with these new and exciting changes also comes trials. Half of the women in one study weighed more one year after giving birth compared to their pre-pregnancy body, and most reported feeling unhappy with their body. If you feel the same, here are five easy and safe ways to get your body back after giving birth:
Giving birth and taking care of a new baby can leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Exercising probably isn't the first thing on your mind, but that's OK. Your post-baby body won't be ready for exercise until at least six weeks after giving birth, according to Renee Jeffreys, exercise physiologist. Take it one step at a time, and don't strain yourself.
You can start getting your body back before the six-week mark by eating healthy. While eating healthy is always important, it is especially important when you're postpartum. "Being a new mom means you're going to experience serious fatigue until you adjust to your new routine, so you need a diet that can help carry you, not one that will leave you constantly hungry and feeling deprived," said Kathy McManus, Director of the Department of Nutrition at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Reaching for sugary snacks will increase your blood sugar, leaving you even more tired than you were before. Snack on a hard-boiled egg, salad or smoothie instead.
It is fine for women who have recently given birth to do almost any physical activity, according to Edith Kieffer, Ph.D., a maternal health researcher.
However, you should know your limits. Post-partum women can participate in dancing, swimming, walking and jogging, but Kieffer says they should avoid sports that can cause serious injuries such as gymnastics and skiing. Watch for signs from your body such as uncommon pain and excessive fatigue. Working out can leave you feeling tired, but it shouldn't make you dizzy. Remember, you are still healing, so if you experience pain in your vagina, consider toning down the intensity of your exercise or taking a break.
You might have trouble controlling the urge to urinate following giving birth. If you find yourself leaking when you laugh or sneeze, or having the urge to go again shortly after using the restroom, Kegel exercises can help. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold it for five seconds. Relax for five seconds and repeat. The Mayo Clinic suggests completing this exercise five times in a row three times a day. The best part about this exercise is that you don't have to carve time out of your busy schedule to do it; you can do Kegel exercises anywhere without anyone noticing.
Wear a baby wrap while you run errands. Straighten up your home. Take a dip in the pool. Go for a casual walk at the park. No matter the activity, try to incorporate aerobic exercises into your daily routine to get your heart pumping. This will increase your body's core temperature, making it easier to burn fat and retain high energy levels, according to Family Education. Aerobic activity also helps burn stress hormones, which can be a huge plus for the new mommies out there.
Everyone's body is different, and that includes post-baby bodies. Some women bounce back and others take longer to lose the baby weight. Whenever you get discouraged, just look at your sweet child, and remember they are worth every pound and stretch mark.