Pregnancy can be hard on your body. There's no escaping the fact that everything changes a little as your body adapts and grows to accommodate it's precious cargo, and once baby is born not all of us ping back into shape as the media would like us to. And you know what? That's fine. The pressures on new mums to be able to perform as the perfect mum and partner, slip into skinny jeans without any effort and be happy about it all can be immense! And on the flip side, we'd just like to point out that if fitting back into your pre-pregnancy jeans is on to-do list then that's fine too. The most important thing is that you are happy and you're not punishing yourself for something amazing that your body did. And with that said, here is a really quick guide on new mum exercise, for those wanting to get out there and make some positive changes post baby. Good luck!
Depending on their birth experience, most women are able to start gentle exercise by about week six after baby is born. You can ask your GP at your six week check if you're concerned about any injuries or strains etc. If you had a c-section the general advice is to wait 12 weeks before taking part in strenuous exercise, but really it depends on the individual so if you're not sure then it's best to check.
The biggest hurdle to get past when it comes to exercise after baby is usually psychological. It's normal to feel self conscious after giving birth- your body is going to look and feel different and your fitness levels might not be what they once were. But don't let this put you off. We all start somewhere and making the first step to improving fitness is the best place to begin.
Using exercise to boost your mood
One of the best pieces of advice I was given as a new mum was to get out with the pram every day if I could. I would even be out for walks in the rain once I realised how fantastic a tip this was. Not only was I getting fresh air, spending precious time with my baby, but I was boosting my mood immeasurably too. When we exercise endorphins are triggered in the body and these are natural mood elevators that make us feel good, reduce stress and help us to sleep better too. So even if you're not bothered about those skinny jeans just yet, even gentle exercise is going to be good for the soul.
Don't forget the pelvic floor!
Being pregnant and giving birth puts a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor muscles, so this is one area that we all need to focus on pretty much as soon as we give birth. Pelvic floor exercises are so important- please don't skip them!
You won't be running marathons two weeks after giving birth, and if you are then you're probably going to either be in a lot of pain doing so, or you're setting unachievable goals. Start slowly. Doctors say that it can take around two years for your body to return to normal after giving birth, so give yourself time to get back into the game. Don't forget that taking care of a new baby is itself pretty demanding, so adding in a gruelling workout regime too soon might not be the best idea.
Recruit some friends
Everything is better with friends! Having a workout buddy can help to motivate and encourage us to keep going and is a lot more fun too. Take a look online for local buggy fit classes, or gym classes that you can go to with friends. You're more likely to stick to it if your'e having fun too, so don't go for classes that you know you're going to hate.
What are your top tips for exercising after baby?