The crazy world of the postpartum body… there is really nothing quite like it.
I didn’t even recognize myself after I had my son and was almost at a loss of where to start getting active again. I had always been an active person, but it was difficult at first to figure out how to incorporate that into my life now that I had a little one. Not only that, but my body was not even capable of doing all the things that it had been before. Not initially anyway.
First off, it is important to realize that “this too shall pass,” and with some work, you can be in better shape than you were before your baby. It will take time, and you just need to take baby steps! That’s what growing in this new life with a child is all about whether this is your first child or your seventh–each new little human is unique and so is the recovery and adjustment period that you and your body goes through.
Of course, this might not be the stage that many of you are in, but you can still take away some valuable information because postpartum care is just another phase of taking care of a woman’s body, and many women could use a little help in the areas that we are going to discuss.
After being pregnant, it is usually necessary to strengthen and bring the abdominal muscles back together. Also there is usually a need for strengthening the pelvic floor. Getting your balance back can be tricky, and it is always nice to tone up a bit, drop a few of the extra baby pounds and start feeling energized.
It is important to work on good posture and strengthen your ham strings and calves as well as improve your balance and even walk so that you are being good to your knees and hips.
A great exercise to help with your back and a gentle core exercise is the cat stretch:
Perform these in a Tabata-style workout, meaning that you begin the exercise and continue for 20 seconds, rest for a full 10 seconds and then begin again. Start with 4 repetitions and work your way up to 8.
It is important to strengthen your pelvic floor as well and there is no better way to do that than with squats and lunges! That, and who doesn’t want a toned tush? And let’s face it: it goes a little mushy trying to be the counterbalance to your baby belly. Squats and lunges can be performed while wearing your baby. If you have more than one child, then get creative and do them outside while you are watching your other children play.
Before you do your squats and lunges walk a bit to warm up your legs and then do 20 seconds worth of the exercise, making sure that you have good form, and then rest for 10. Start with 4 repetitions and work your way up to 8.
Remember to get out and walk. Go for a walk around the block or to a park; walk to the store if you are able. Walk as much as possible and don’t forget to carry your little built-in weight! Whether you hold your munchkin or carry baby in a backpack, front pack or sling, you have the perfect amount of extra weight to make things challenging.
Start slowly with these few exercises. It won’t be long until you will start to see your body respond to the exercise, and you’ll be moving on to something more challenging. Enjoy!