Fitness for New Moms: Get in Shape After Having a Baby

Exercising after the birth of your baby can you give a much needed energy-boost and mood-lift and can also help you shed pregnancy weight. Here's how to get started.

If you were active before pregnancy, you might be eager to get back to your pre-pregnancy fitness level. Or perhaps, the new baby has given you motivation to start a new fitness plan.

Exercising after baby's birth can help:

  • Increase energy and combat postpartum fatigue
  • Boost your mood
  • Help start lifelong healthy habits
  • Shed the weight gained during pregnancy

Getting started with exercise
Most women can safely start or resume a fitness program after giving birth. Follow these tips to get started:

  1. Get your doctor's approval. Do not start an exercise program without first getting your doctor's OK. It takes your body weeks to months to recover from labor and delivery, so it may not be safe to exercise for a while.

If you delivered by cesarean section (c-section), it may take even longer to recover. It's best to wait until all soreness is gone before you attempt exercise. Your doctor can tell you when it's safe for you to start exercise and if there are any activities you should avoid.

  1. Be realistic. Unless your doctor says otherwise, there is no general rule about how long you should wait to exercise after having your baby. Some women can begin gentle exercise within days while others may need to wait four to six weeks. Every woman is different, so don't pressure yourself to start exercising by a set date. Being ready for exercise after pregnancy depends on:
    • Your activity level before and during pregnancy
    • How long labor lasted
    • If you delivered vaginally or had a c-section
    • How well you have recovered from childbirth
  2. Ease into it. Doing too much, too soon can cause burnout and injury. Doctors suggest easing gradually into exercise after having a baby. Once your body fully recovers from pregnancy and childbirth and gets stronger, you can increase the length and intensity of your workout sessions. Start with exercises that are easy for you. Try walking. You can do it anywhere and bring baby along.
  3. Listen to your body. If you don't feel up to a workout today, take a rest. Your energy levels will vary day to day. Maybe the baby didn't sleep well last night or perhaps you didn't eat enough the day before. It's normal to feel fatigued for a time after the baby's birth. Listen to your body and exercise only when you have enough energy.

Also listen to your body during exercise. Know when to stop. If you have any of the following during exercise, stop and call your doctor:

  • Nausea
  • Pain in back
  • Pain in pubic area
  • Trouble walking
  • Vaginal bleeding

Call 9-1-1 at once if you have:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint or passing out
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain, pressure or tightness
  • Difficulty breathing
  1. Stay hydrated. Take in plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise. Watch your caffeine intake, too, because it can contribute to dehydration. Limit caffeine to one small cup of coffee each day. This limit is generally safe for breast-feeding women, but check with your baby's doctor to be sure.
  2. Be comfortable. Wear lightweight, relaxed clothing and a bra that fits well and supports your breasts.

If weight loss is your goal ...
Your body took nine long months to put the baby weight on, so don't expect to get your pre-baby body back overnight. Weight loss is best if it's done over a few months. Experts advise losing no more than 4.5 pounds each month after the first month postpartum. It may be OK to lose more if you had a high weight before pregnancy, but check with your doctor first.

The best approach to weight loss is to combine regular exercise with healthy eating:

  • Aim for 1,800 to 2,000 calories each day if you are moderately active and were at a healthy weight before pregnancy. Eating too little contributes to postpartum fatigue and a negative mood.
  • Breast-feeding women need about 500 extra calories per day, or 2,300 to 2,500 total calories. Eating fewer won't give you enough calories to meet the energy needs of you and your baby.

Ask your doctor what your activity level and goal weight should be and how many calories a day order cheap Alli is best for both you and your baby. You may need more calories if you were underweight, nursing more than one baby or are very physically active.

There are many benefits to breast-feeding, but there is no clear link between nursing and weight loss. A healthy diet and regular exercise is important whether you breast-feed or not.


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