Postpartum Weight Management: Exercise
In case all those images of lean and shapely new moms in the celebrity world have left you feeling like the "ugly duckling," don't despair! Postpartum care takes discipline and dedication if you want to look like you did before your pregnancy days. It also involves a lot of patience.
Healthy Care after Childbirth
The benchmark for all of us moms is set high. Nonetheless, this seems unrealistic, and toning down with unrelenting speed isn't the answer. Most women who lead regular lives don't have lifestyles that afford weight loss so fast. The sooner women realize that this is a reality, the better they'll feel. Celebrities don't gain much weight during pregnancy, states Dr. Laura Riley, MD and high-risk pregnancy expert. Riley says that they have the resources of personal trainers, chefs, and nannies at their beck and call post-childbirth. Moms can devote some serious time getting back into shape. Crash diets and rigorous exercising should be avoided, say experts, especially after a difficult pregnancy or a C-section1.
The Importance of Getting Back in Shape
The worst thing you can do is do too much too early. Straining your body after it has been put through childbirth isn't wise. If you do indulge in strenuous routines to swiftly lose weight, you will only discover that you get so exhausted, you lose the motivation to continue. Moms agree that going on a healthy fiber diet is the quickest and most effective way to lose weight in the postpartum period. This doesn't mean you should drastically reduce calories. Doctors acknowledge that 1,800 - 2,000 calories per day good, mainly if you're breastfeeding. The good news is that breastfeeding burns calories.
In case you aren't breastfeeding your baby, you can target weight loss at a pound a week. Exercise is not off-limits. Postpartum care, regarding exercise, is recommended if you want to regain your original figure. This isn't the only benefit. Exercise helps you increase your energy levels and reduces the risks of postpartum depression. Research has shown this as gynecologists allow new moms to indulge in more active lives than before2.
What Exercise Works
Whether you start seven days or seven weeks after childbirth, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology says walking is the perfect way to start. The positive outcome of this is that you can do it with your baby. Walking while pushing a stroller is an ideal way to stay fit. It brings a fair amount of consistency too. The area that you may want to start with is the core of your body. Strength-training in this area is neglected during and after pregnancy.
Start Simple, Go Slow
Begin with a simple pelvic tilt. This is a modified sit-up. Lie flush on the floor and lift your behind, keeping knees bent and feet flat on the floor. You can place a pillow between your knees and squeeze and relax. This will build your core and add strength to your back in the postpartum period. Too much stress on the joints in not advised. During pregnancy, a hormone known as relaxin is produced. This makes joints loose, becoming sensitive to injury.
After your second trimester, the pregnant uterus becomes heavy and shifts your center of gravity into a forward position. This causes an anterior back tilt and pain in the middle to lower back regions. Doing lateral weight shift exercises using dumbbells is a good bet. Do a gentle on-the-spot walk first, to warm up. Keep your legs apart. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, raise and bend your elbows, one at a time, to your shoulder. You can also kneel on a mat, facing the ground. Resting on your knees, raise and lift each dumbbell to your shoulder level. This keeps your abdominal muscles working gently, and works to improve posture too.
Doing head lifts also improves posture, and you can lie on a mat, knees bent, feet on the ground. Lift your head up and then relax. You can do this standing up, and move your head back and come to the forward position. You can also rotate your head while standing. A postpartum recovery belt can go a long way in reshaping your spine, correcting overall posture. Compression curbs the enlargement of fat cells so that the uterus returns to its original size.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Lindsay Hudson
Lindsay is a freelance writer who is mom to a lovely daughter. She loves dressing in matching outfits with her daughter and bringing their 2 dogs out for their daily walk.