Many new mothers feel the pressure of getting back in shape after having a baby. Much of this can be blamed on celebrities, and their ability to get back into their pre-baby bodies within weeks of giving birth.
We know it’s unhealthy, but that doesn’t stop us wanting to get back into shape, right?
Well, returning to the gym is a possibility. If you’re not a gym bunny, doing other forms of exercise are possible. I just want to make sure you do it safely for you and your newborn.
Here are my four tips for returning to the gym after having a baby.
Don’t Start Too Soon
Listen to your body. Are you really ready to return to the gym right now? If you’ve had a c-section, it’s going to take longer to heal than if you had a pain-free natural delivery (they happen, apparently!).
So, avoid starting too soon. Listen to what your body is telling you and be honest with yourself.
I don’t recommend starting before your six week post-natal check, but if you’re anything like me you can’t wait that long. I know I was out walking again just two days after getting out of the hospital.
You’ll know how far you can push yourself.
Eat Healthily From the Start
Getting the right nutrients into your body is a must. If you’re breastfeeding, you may need extra calories but they should always come from healthy foods.
Focus on getting three balanced meals a day, and look at nutritious snacks. That doesn’t mean all chocolate and crisps are no-gos, but you don’t want to rely on them.
Avoid cutting anything out. Your body needs protein, carbs, fat and fibre (healthy versions of all), so make sure you get them in your diet. They’ll help you get back in shape and perform better in the gym.
Talk to Your Gym Instructors
Your gym may have specifications before you go back to doing your workouts. Some will want you to have your post-natal check first to make sure you’re not a health risk. Others will want you to make sure your c-section wound is fully healed or bleeding has stopped before you start doing certain types of workouts.
By talking to your gym instructors, you can also get exercises that are specific for returning after having a baby. These exercises will help to strengthen your core muscles again and can also help avoid putting excess strain on any areas you suffered rips or surgery.
If you can get one, have a workout program created for yourself so you can follow something recommended by the professionals.
Build It Up Slowly
Don’t expect to get straight back into your original workout capabilities right away. It’s not going to happen, even if you did stick to a workout routine during pregnancy.
Your body has gone through a lot, and you need to build your fitness back up again slowly. Don’t push yourself on the first day. Remember, you have a newborn to look after.
If you do feel dizzy, sick or in pain, you need to stop your workout. Scale it back the next time and build up your capabilities from there.
It won’t take you too long to get back to where you were, as long as you do it carefully and safely.
Congratulations on your newborn. Now could be the time to return to the gym, but that doesn’t mean you need to do it all at once. It’s important that you do this safely, and put you and your newborn first.