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Handy Tips

Is Your Body Ready for Postpartum Exercises?


While it is normal to be frustrated with your postpartum body (especially compared to what you see in magazines), it is also important to put that into perspective.

Celebrities slimming down with lightning speed?

Is that realistic? Or for that matter healthy?

Experts offer up a resounding “No!”

“We don’t have the kind of lifestyle that would allow for that kind of quick loss — and the sooner women recognize that, the better they will feel about themselves, ” says Laura Riley, MD, a high-risk-pregnancy expert from Massachusetts General Hospital and spokeswoman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Riley says celebrities don’t generally gain as much weight during their pregnancy as the average woman, and, she says, “they have resources that the rest of us don’t have after baby is born.” This includes personal trainers, chefs, and nannies, all of whom allow the celebrity new mom to devote serious time to getting in shape.

Carrying a baby changes your body inside and out. It is important to gain weight with a pregnancy, however, some of us gain more than our fair share! You want to get your body back in shape, but are you ready for that yet?

For a vaginal delivery, the first postpartum visit is at about six weeks. At this time your doctor will examine you and ask you how you are doing. If all goes well, he/she may clear you for exercise.

For a cesarean delivery, you may have to wait longer. At your six-week postpartum visit, the doctor will examine you and see how your wound is doing. It may not be totally healed by then. He/she may restrict your lifting and exercise for several more weeks afterwards.

Once you are cleared, follow his/her instructions. Often, light walking or about fifteen minutes of exercise each day is good. There are several postpartum exercise videos on the market to try. Some local gyms or YMCAs offer postpartum classes so you are working out with other women in your same condition.

Below is a great video to get you started!

(Video: Dara Bergeron, founder of Belly Bootcamp, shows you five safe moves that will help you realign your posture and close a diastasis recti. Remember, it’s not about speed here, but perfect form and mindfulness. Start with two to three minutes of diaphragmatic breathing. And then do eight to 20 reps of each exercise—only do as many as you can with correct form. Repeat exercises daily.)

If you exercised throughout your pregnancy, your muscles are in better shape than someone who did not. Your body may bounce back easier. Still, restricting exercise to walking will help you ease back into a more challenging workout like the one you performed before you were pregnant.

Take it easy. Moving back into your old routine slowly is good for many reasons. One, your body has time to adjust to the new movements. Two, you can help to speed up your own recovery. Exercise increases circulation and cuts down on blood clots or the possibility of them.

Try some non-jarring exercises. Swimming and water aerobics works the entire body including those abs, without putting pressure on your joints.

Listen to your body. If you feel tired one day and does not want to walk, then take a day off. Your body will let you know when it is strong enough for a more consistent workout.

Contraindications for postpartum exercise include:

* Pain
* Bloody discharge
* Fever
* Aching in joints
* Wound dehiscence (opening up)

You can lose those baby pounds, however, be patient. Your body may not be ready right after delivery. Even if you have had a healthy pregnancy, take it slow in the beginning until you are ready for more.

I have been a professional nanny working with children of all ages for over 15 years. My work has taken me all over the globe and I have had many amazing adventures with the families that I have worked with, all of which has taught me a great deal about how to make parenting less stressful.

I helped create Mothers Lifestyle in order to share parenting tips and secrets that I learned along the way, as well as to provide life-saving tools and advice from the world’s leading experts that I rely on every day in my professional life.