You feel like you’ve been pregnant forever, your body feels and looks so different! It’s hard seeing a wobbly belly, wobbly thighs, stretch marks, cellulite, and looking in the mirror you don’t recognize yourself! It’s hard to process these changes, and can be a shock! If it’s hard to see yourself like that you are not going to want your husband or partner to see it!
You may find you lose your confidence, especially if you were fit and in shape prior to pregnancy. You start wearing baggy clothes, you’re exhausted, have no motivation or energy, this is all normal.
The thing that doesn’t help is seeing the other “Celebrity Mums”, back into shape after 6 weeks, in their size 10’s and looking fabulous on the beach in their skimpy bikini! This is a hard thing to see, it puts pressure on you as a mum.
All you can think is “where do I start”? The hardest part is starting but if you have had a traumatic birth, an assisted delivery, or a c section it’s harder to get back to exercise because of tears, aches, and pains, and just generally healing time.
First and foremost, before throwing yourself into an exercise program, whether it’s at the gym or at home, make sure you have healed properly.
Make sure that your bleeding has slowed or stopped, that you are not noticing any doming in your abdomen, that your PGP or Pelvic Girdle pain has reduced or gone, and that your tear has healed, and if you are feeling any pressure or pain down below that you get it looked at.
Ensure you have your GP’s clearance to exercise and you see a Women’s Health Physio if you have any concerns about your pelvic floor ie. leaking urine, leaking feces, a sensation of bulge or protrusion down below, as this could be a sign of a prolapse.
If you visit a Women’s Health Physio get her to check your abdomen for Diastasis Recti.
With a C section, it takes longer to heal, ensure this has healed properly, and I personally would give it at least 12 weeks or more if required, before going down the route of an exercise program.
Taking into consideration all of this, the first thing you can do, once you are feeling ready, and you can do it straight after having baby, is to work on your core and pelvic floor. This is the basis to get yourself ready for the gym or workouts at home. Without regaining core and pelvic floor strength you are putting yourself at risk of injury or problems.
Learning to breathe correctly or Diaphragmic Breathing especially if going back or starting a weights program, will help decrease intra-abdominal pressure.
Start all your exercises for the pelvic floor and core in a laying or seated position.
Do these exercises daily and make it “the norm”! We as ladies should be doing these exercises every day for the rest of our lives to keep them strong and prevent issues as we age.
The next thing I would recommend is walking, it’s fat-burning, gets the heart rate up and gets your out in the fresh air and you can be with the baby. Start gradually 10-15 mins a day and build it up, make sure you are not slouching over the buggy, as your posture may have changed, stand up tall, shoulders back.
Once you have these basics in place you can start working on light to moderate cardio whether it’s the bike, cross trainer, or some classes. Start with lower impact activities until you feel your pelvic floor is stronger. When you start a weights program, start off light, and gradually build up. Always engage your core and breath out when lifting the weight, never hold your breath. Working to strengthen your lower back, glutes and hips are important after baby, and always stretch every muscle at the end of the session.
Bands are a great place to start with strengthening before starting a weights program, so you can invest in some really good bands that are more cost-effective than dumbbells or kettlebells and there are lots of workouts you can do using bands for a total body strengthening workout and even stretching workouts.
For any advice on workouts after pregnancy, please message through my Facebook page www.facebook.com/FitMumzuk.
Remember, you grew a baby, it took 9 months, be kind to yourself, give yourself time to heal and recover, there is no rush to lose weight, eat healthily and get rest when you can.