How to Tackle Your Baby Weight - Exercise Advice for New Mums

Congratulations on the arrival of your baby! whether it's your first or your third, having a baby is a miracle worthy of celebration. But after 9 months worth of hormones, weight gain, mood swings, highs, lows, stretch marks, swollen ankles, and getting puffed just walking to the corner store you are probably more than ready to GET YOUR PRE BABY BODY BACK!
So where do you start? regardless of what kind of birth you had you can start doing your pelvic floor exercises almost straight away. This is really very simple, first try engaging your pelvic floor and core muscles in either a seated position or lying on your back with knees bent. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale slowly, squeeze and lift your pelvic floor ( this is the same action you would do if you were trying to stop peeing mid-flow! ) then gently pull your belly button in and up. Make sure you are not holding your breath and maintain the squeeze for 10 second. Repeat for 10 reps.
You may not feel as though this is doing much at first but be patient, you will soon start to feel a lot stronger - this should not cause any pain or damage any stitches you may have, it will in fact help the healing process. Once you have mastered the pelvic squeezes in these positions try doing the same sitting on a Swiss ball, and add pelvic tilts to your routine.
To do a pelvic tilt, lie on your back with your knees bent up and feet on the ground. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale squeeze your core ( as above ) and tilt your pelvis so that your lower back presses into the ground and your pubic bone draws in towards your belly button. On the inhale let your pelvis arch the opposite way, lifting your lower back off the ground gently. Repeat for 10 reps.
These simple exercises are just the beginning! they will act as the foundation for rebuilding your core strength and give you a base from which you can start practising more advanced exercises. Please note that if you have had a c-section your recovery will be slightly longer, perform the above exercises only if there is a complete absence of pain.
As soon as you are feeling up to it, start going for short walks. Start with 10 mins and gradually build up to 20-30mins a day. Even this small amount of exercise helps to boost your mood and endorphin levels, as it is not unusual to experience a bout of baby blues once the adrenalin has worn off! there is also evidence to show that exercising can alleviate symptoms of post natal depression.
It is important that you listen to your body and do not push yourself if your not feeling 100%, your body has been on a roller coaster ride and will need rest! One hormone that will still be coursing around your body after birth is relaxin. Relaxin is produced by the placenta and is used to help your ligaments to stretch to accommodate pregnancy and birth. This will make your joints highly mobile, so be careful with sudden or jerky movements.
Something else to take into consideration when embarking on your post natal exercise regime is that if you are breast feeding you will be burning more calories than usual. This means you need to make sure you are eating healthily and regularly as well as staying hydrated.
Once you have been given the all clear from your doctor at your 6 week check up, there is nothing to stop you squatting, lunging, planking, pushing, sweating, pressing and huffing your way back into your favourite pair of jeans! although until you have fully regained your pelvic and core strength, avoid running and jumping movements - not only can this cause embarrassing leaking but it can also derail the progress you have already made.
If you have any questions on pre or post natal fitness training, please feel free to call me on 07947177114 or check out my website

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