After you’ve had a baby, whether it’s your first or fourth, you might be anxious to reclaim your body to its’ pre-pregnancy shape, especially if you were very active before the birth.
It can take a while for your body to adjust though, so here’s our advice on exercising safely post-partum:
Set realistic goals
We’ve all seen the photos of celebrities who have flat tummies a mere few weeks after giving birth. However, what’s often not talked about is the surgery or extreme diet and exercise plans it has taken to get to that shape.
Be sensible with yourself and set an achievable goal, no matter how small. There’s nothing less motivating than failing at a huge target. Aim for no more than 1-3 pounds weight loss per week.
Always consult with a medical professional if you are starting a new diet or exercise programme, especially if you have an existing medical condition or had surgery during childbirth.
Don’t rush into anything. You can start with gentle exercises such as walking or core strengthening if you had a natural birth with no complications. Wait until after your six week check before starting anything high impact. If you had a caesarean, talk to your GP, health visitor or midwife before starting any exercise plan as you need to be sure that your body has recovered sufficiently.
Focus on your stomach
During pregnancy, your stomach muscles will separate – the gap between the two sides of your rectus abdominis (your six pack mucles) will increase. If you have a gap of more than inch between the two sides, it can cause problems such as back pain in later life.
It’s best to seek advice from a fitness expert or physiotherapist about how much gap you have, and the best exercises for mitigation. Please don’t start any form of stomach toning without checking this, especially if it is not your first child. Stay away from the crunches! There’s more info on this on the Keep Fit Eat Fit blog.