How To Get Back To Your Workout Routine After Giving Birth 

A woman’s body goes through a wide range of physical changes throughout pregnancy. Though the miracle of life is reason enough to celebrate and embrace these changes, some women hope to return to their original physique as quickly as possible. Once the baby is born and the mother recovers from childbirth, many moms contemplate getting back into a fitness routine. Here are some tips for mothers who want to establish a workout routine after giving birth.

How to Get Back to Your Workout Routine After Giving Birth
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that we only work with companies and individuals that we trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

What To Consider 

On average, women gain about 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. Even if you are still taking yoga or exercise classes during pregnancy, you’re still likely to experience the common symptoms of being pregnant, including weight gain, abdominal extension, breast enlargement and warped posture. Regardless of how fit you might have felt before pregnancy, most moms experience atrophied muscles, poor posture, aches and general fatigue long after the baby is born. 

Generally, it takes 40 weeks to form the pregnant body and grow a baby. Because of the complex transformations you experience during pregnancy, it is unrealistic to expect your body to bounce back quickly. Depending on different factors — such as age, labor and lifestyle — it could take another 40 weeks (or longer) to return to your prenatal physique. Here are a few tips to consider if you choose to implement a workout routine after giving birth. 

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Starting a Post-Pregnancy Fitness Plan 

For most women who undergo an uncomplicated delivery, it’s usually okay to resume regular physical activity a few days after giving birth. Regular exercise after pregnancy can help strengthen the soft abdominals and boost energy levels while relieving stress, promoting sleep and reducing the risk of postpartum depression. If you’re ready to focus on physical health, consider these tips. 

Start slow and steady.

Even if you went to the gym six days a week before giving birth, exerting too much force on your post-labor body can present complications. If the labor involved a C-section, it would be wise to wait until the first post-operative check to make sure the skin has closed completely. Starting slow usually involves a walking routine to make sure nothing bleeds, pulls or hurts. The priority should be a safe recovery for your uterus

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Establish a feeding routine first. 

Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle feed, your milk supply and feeding cycle could contribute to some of your “baby weight.” Though some of the pounds might be lost as fluids are released during the first few days after labor, the rest of the weight is typically lost over time. If weight loss is your goal, remember that if you do breastfeed, you will likely need at least 500 more calories per day than before the birth. 

Evaluate the muscle groups. 

It will certainly be nice to reunite with your favorite gym, but don’t expect your muscles and joints to work the same way as before. Your pelvic floor might be weak and unable to take any intra-abdominal pressure. Additionally, the rectus abdominals may have separated in order to carry the baby. Consult a doctor or physical therapist to help draw the abdominals back together and strengthen your muscles. 

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Experiment with exercise. 

Exercises that may have worked before pregnancy may not work post-partum. There are many forms of physical activity that are gentle and ideal for a new mother’s body. Try various exercises that won’t strain any sensitive areas or risk infections on healing wounds. Brisk walking, swimming, light weightlifting and yoga are great to start incorporating into your workout routine after giving birth.

Don’t neglect nutrition.

As your body readjusts without the baby, make sure it’s still getting the food and vitamins that it needs. Losing weight is often a challenge with or without pregnancy, so be conscious of the transformations that can happen. Hydration is also a key component of health, especially if you are breastfeeding. Hormones may also be changing, which can influence your appetite and metabolism.

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Having a baby is no easy task, especially if you’re a new mother. Don’t give up or feel discouraged if the weight sticks around longer than expected. Seek support from your partner and loved ones if exercise is a priority for you. The most important thing to remember is that rest is crucial. Even a few moments of rest post-workout might help with relaxation and muscle restoration. Exercise may not be easy, but it can provide benefits for you and your newborn.


Author Bio

Dan Borucki is an ISSA Personal Trainer at Apogee Fitness, a group fitness facility. He has more than 20 years of experience in the industry and holds various certifications in fitness and nutrition. 

 

5 Unbelievable Facts About Breastfeeding

This guest post by Erica Johnson from Inner Parents highlights five facts about breastfeeding that are sure to encourage any lactating mother that she’s doing what’s best for her baby.

The breastfeeding relationship can provide a wonderful bonding experience between a mother and her infant. Nursing is also deeply comforting to most babies, helping them relax and drift off to sleep.  The benefits of breastfeeding are not just emotional, however. Breast milk is a complex and dynamic substance that science is only beginning to understand.

Here are five facts about breastfeeding that prove what a truly unbelievable feat a woman’s body is capable of producing.
5 Unbelievable Facts About Breastfeeding
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

1. Breastmilk Contains Substances That Cannot be Recreated in Formula

Hormones, living immune cells and enzymes are exclusively supplied by breastmilk and are perfectly suited to each individual infant’s needs. Human milk contains several different types of proteins in concentrations and forms that are easily digestible. While minerals like calcium and iron are present to a lesser degree in breastmilk than in formula, they are in such readily available forms that the baby ends up absorbing a greater amount. The immune properties in human milk also bring the benefit of easier storage and less worry compared to formula.

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2. Breastmilk Boosts Baby’s Immune System

Breastmilk is filled with a wide array of immune factors that help protect babies from viruses and bacteria. The specific antibodies the mother supplies provide tailored protection against microorganisms commonly found in the environment the baby is entering. The transfer of antibodies continues even once weaning has started: As baby begins to eat more solid food and less milk, the concentration of immune factors in the breastmilk increases.

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3. Milk Composition Fluctuates Continually

Babies often can’t help falling asleep while nursing, but it is not just the act of nursing that encourages sleep. Studies of breastmilk samples have shown that certain sleep-inducing components are present in greater amounts during the evening and nighttime hours. The milk’s make-up changes even over the course of a single feed. At the beginning of a nursing session, the milk is high in lactose, low in fat and perfect for quenching baby’s thirst. Closer to the end, the lactose level decreases and the fat level rises, giving the baby a kind of “dessert” that keeps them full and satisfied until the next feeding.

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4. Breastfeeding Burns More Calories Than Pregnancy

During the third trimester, approximately 300 more calories are required daily to support the growing baby. While breastfeeding, the mother will need 500 extra calories to produce breastmilk. Breastfeeding mothers often find it easier to lose the pregnancy weight, and nursing also helps the uterus return to pre-pregnancy size by stimulating stronger and more effective uterine contractions.

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5. Breastfeeding Reduces Cancer Risk

Women who breastfeed their babies have been shown to have a lower risk of developing breast cancer later in their lives. Scientists believe this protection stems from the fact that estrogen levels are lower while breastfeeding continues. In addition, breastfed babies have lower rates of obesity throughout their lives. Since obesity is a significant factor in several types of cancer, the baby also is placed at a lowered risk of cancer in their own lives.


What do you think of these facts about breastfeeding?  Did any of them surprise you?  While breastfeeding has some incredible benefits for both mom and baby, it’s important to consider your own mental health as well.  Breastfeeding may not always come easily for all moms and babies.  There is a lot of help available, including online breastfeeding courses and in home lactation consultants.