After my first pregnancy I was in the same boat as lots of pregnant women, carrying a dozen extra pounds that ended up taking residency and staying where they were. It’s normal to be inclined to think about weight loss after having a baby . You just had a baby and you’re tired and busy and the last thing you really want to think about is a few pounds of extra weight. It’s not so bad, really. At least that’s what you tell yourself. It does make you feel bad about yourself. It does make it more difficult to get things done. It keeps you from getting back into your pre-pregnancy clothes. But none of those things are as bad as the fact that those 12 or so pounds do not usually keep to themselves. They end up attracting more pounds and you feel worse, and get more tired.
Weight Loss After Having A Baby – And Before You Know It Maybe You’re Pregnant Again …
Keeping that weight puts you at a greater risk for gaining even more over the following 2-year period after you have your baby. If you’re like me, you end up getting pregnant again about that time and are off to even bigger gains, unless you wake up and do something about it. When I got pregnant for the second time I knew that if I didn’t pay attention and do something to keep the extra weight from coming on and staying, I was going to end up being seriously obese by the time my second child was a toddler.
Instead of sitting around and moaning about the weight, I decided to find out about exercising and getting my weight under control after pregnancy. The results were a total surprise. One of my biggest excuses for not exercising after my first child was born was that I was too tired. The second time, after my son was born, just setting aside a few minutes a day to exercise actually renewed my energy levels and made me happier and better equipped to handle the demands of an infant in the house.
For an even added incentive to keep me going, I noticed a change in my older child as she played along with joining in with my exercises. I am proud to say that she and my son later grew up very athletic and without the weight problems that plagued me through adolescence.
The Benefits of Exercise after Pregnancy
I was shocked at how quickly my stomach responded to the exercises after pregnancy. Not only did my shape come back, I was quickly getting back to the shape I was in before my first pregnancy. It didn’t take a lot of time, but there were a lot of benefits that I didn’t expect beyond my figure. Some additional benefits to exercising after pregnancy were:
Lower incidence of postpartum depression
Faster healing following childbirth
Better sleep patterns
Reduced stress levels
Reduced muscle pain
It can take months to get your shape back, even with a good exercise program, but if you don’t start it won’t happen at all.
When to Begin an Exercise Program after Childbirth?
Always talk to your doctor about starting an exercise program. Most healthy women who have a natural childbirth can begin a regular exercise regime once they have stopped bleeding. You don’t have to wait until then to begin mild, easy going exercises as long as your doctor says it is safe. Start doing Kegels and walking as much as possible right after you get out of bed the next day following the birth of your baby. The faster you can get back on your feet and walk, the fitter and healthier you will be. Avoid any bending or lifting until your muscles are fully healed.
Women who have had a Caesarean section birth may need to wait a few extra weeks. Your incision should be completely healed and you should speak with your doctor about the best way to get started.
3 Easy Exercises for Postpartum Women
We are thankful to fitness expert Autumn Calabrese for demonstrating these exercises for us. She has worked with many post-pregnancy women and assures us that the following exercises do help you control your weight and get your abs back after having your baby. Many women think that because of a pregnancy they will always be flabby, but that’s not true.
A very important thing to remember about doing planks is that you need to keep your head aligned with your spine and your back straight. This is an excellent toning exercise for your entire body and really focuses on the abs. Start out in a kneeling position. Lower your hands to the floor in front of you and then put your elbows on the ground with your forearms flat on the floor and your hands together in front of your face. Resting on your elbows and forearms put your legs back and rest your body on your toes and forearms. Keep your stomach muscles tight and hold for up to a minute. Bring your knees back underneath you and relax.
Do not overdo this exercise right from the start. If you can only do 10 to 15 seconds, that’s okay. Keeping doing them every day until you have worked up to the minute. Do this exercise at least once, but you can repeat it several times during the day for extra muscle building.
2. Side Plank
Sit on one hip and rest your lower elbow on the floor. Place your upper arm at a 45 degree angle away from your body with the elbow pointing up toward the ceiling and your hand on your upper hip. Extend your upper leg out and keep your bottom leg bent beneath you. Lift your upper hip toward the ceiling and hold your body straight while supporting your weight on your lower forearm and bottom knee.
Hold for up to a minute. To increase the intensity you can do dips while holding by lowering and raising your hips. Make sure you keep your back straight and your head aligned with your spine throughout the exercise.
After a minute, lower your hip to the floor and turn over to repeat on the opposite side. If you cannot do a minute at the start, do this exercise for as long as you can and work up to a minute in length.
To further increase the intensity of this workout, put both legs out and rise off the floor resting only on your elbow and forearm, and the side of your feet, as shown below.
3. Reverse Plank
Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you and your hands flat on the floor just behind your hips. Tighten your stomach and lift your hips off the floor toward the ceiling until your body is flat and resting on your heels and your palms. Hold for up to a minute. To increase the intensity of this position, do alternating leg lifts while holding the reverse plank position.
To get the most out of the above exercises, aim for 3 sets of ten, at least three times per week.
Remember that while losing weight and getting rid of belly fat may be your biggest desire after pregnancy, your overall fitness is most important. It is not possible to eliminate fat locally (spot reduction). Fat will not come off selectively from your abdomen. This is because your body burns fat as a whole. Therefore, you should focus on eating healthy through proper meal planning, getting lots of aerobic exercise and strength training to build up your muscles. Muscle takes up less space than fat, and also improves your metabolism for better fat burning efficiency to help you lose weight and then keep it off.
About the Author
Tami Parington of www.weightlosstriumph.com is a freelance writer who lives in Burbank, IL, with her husband and her two children. She has a penchant for helping women reclaim their pre-pregnancy body.
References and Helpful Sources
. MayoClinic: Exercise After Pregnancy: How to Get Started
. Fitness Expert Autumn Calabrese: Ab Workouts for Post Pregnancy Weight Loss
All articles on the blog and website are intended as information only. Please do not consider any of the information provided here as a substitute for medical advice. At all times seek medical advice directly with your own doctor and medical team.