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Get Your Body Back After Baby
After childbirth, a woman’s body parts may seem as though they were reassembled without instructions. Some parts have dropped while others expanded. A few places might have gotten a tad skinnier if you lost some muscle during pregnancy. How do you work on regaining a level of fitness when you’re sleep deprived or nursing? We’re here to help you get your “you” back.
Bringing Home Baby
Whether you had a caesarean section or a natural birth, it’s going to take some time to get back to something resembling your pre-pregnancy body. You have fat to lose, muscle mass to reclaim and flexibility may be an issue. Also - be prepared that some things will never revert. For example, many women gain a half shoe size with each pregnancy. Some women have permanent stretch marks. But do not despair!
Try these exercises as soon as your doctor gives you a thumbs up:
You can also workout with your baby. Beyond walking, you can use your baby (carefully) as added weight. Hold your baby close to your chest and do squats, forward lunges or side lunges.
- Walk. One of the first things a doctor will advise after surgery is to get up and walk as soon as you’re able. Childbirth is no different. Walking gets your body back in alignment after it’s been front loaded with pregnancy weight. Begin with an easy stroll, and in a short amount of time you could be power walking. You can take the baby too! Walk with your baby in a stroller or in a front pack for added weight.
- Breathe. This is another simple exercise you can do right away. Breathe deeply and contract your abdomen while inhaling, hold your breath while your abs are tight, and then release your muscles as you exhale.
- Lift. A good way to burn off that baby fat is to build (reclaim) muscle strength. Head lifts, shoulder lifts and torso lifts can do the trick. A head lift is like a modified sit up. To do a head lift, lie on your back with your arms at your side with your lower back touching the floor and your knees bent. Inhale, while relaxed, and then lift your head and neck off the floor as you exhale. For a shoulder lift, start in the same position as the head lift and this time raise your head and shoulders off the floor while you exhale and reach your hands towards your knees. When you’ve mastered this, you can graduate to a torso lift. Start in the same position as the head lift, and on the exhale, lift your torso about halfway to your knees. Hold for a few seconds and then lower yourself slowly.
- Tilt. This one actually feels really good for your back. Start on your hands and knees with your back relaxed and straight. As you inhale, pull your hips forward and rotate your pubic bone upward. Hold for a few seconds and then release.
- Squeeze. If your doctor or a friend hasn’t taught you how to do a kegel, this is a good time. Kegels tone your bladder muscles which can weaken after childbirth. The more kegels – the better. To do a kegel, pretend you are urinating and then squeeze your muscles as though you must stop mid-stream. Squeeze those muscles, and hold for as long as you can. Do this about 10 times, three times per day.
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