Losing weight postpartum is a pretty common goal for many new moms. After birthing your baby, your body may feel completely foreign as you get used to not having a baby in there. And it certainly doesn’t resemble what it did before you got pregnant. So what is a new momma too do?
And yes, you should. But, before embarking on any new fitness routines postpartum, take these things into consideration.
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- 1 It starts with pregnancy
- 2 Check yourself for diastasis recti before you start
- 3 Start slow & Listen to your body
- 4 Eat high calorie, nutrient dense foods
- 5 Keep hydrated
- 6 It won’t happen overnight
- 7 Unless you love working out, don’t do it in your free time
- 8 Make it fun & connect with other mama’s
- 9 Know your body may never be “the same”
It starts with pregnancy
For an easier time postpartum, you have to have a healthy pregnancy. Yes, your eating for two, but that’s not two adults! You definitely need extra calories and nutrition, but don’t overdo it. Pregnancy is not an excuse to circle through the drive thru 4 or 5 times a day. Eat healthy whole foods, lots of veggies and fruits.
You also must stay active. Take long walks every day. You will have such an easier time during birth and afterward for postpartum. If you were exercising daily you can probably continue with low impact workouts throughout your pregnancy. If not, nows not the time to start strenuous exercise, but walking and light stretching should be incorporated daily.
Speak with your doctor before embarking on new activities during pregnancy.
Check yourself for diastasis recti before you start
This is a pretty common complication for women postpartum. Diastasis recti is a condition where your abdominal muscles become separated and don’t work the way they should. This is common after pregnancy as the connective tissue stretches out too much and isn’t able to recover on its own.
The main issue with this condition is that it causes other physical problems. Since your core muscles are no longer able to support your body as well as they use to, you may experience a leaky bladder, have back pain, feel weaker, and have a “pouchy tummy.” These are all signs that you may have diastasis recti.
If you want to work out postpartum, you have to be especially careful, because certain exercises can make the condition worse, such as sit-ups. It could cause your core muscles to bind incorrectly and cause long-term strength related issues. You can use this video to check if you have diastasis recti.
If you are looking for more info on the condition I highly recommend this free resource. Its loaded with great info by an expert on fixing diastasis recti.
If your good to go, and not worried about diastasis recti, then you can get started with a fitness routine after being cleared by your doctor!
Start slow & Listen to your body
Your body has been through a lot in the last several months. It’s important to make sure that you allow enough time for your body to heal before you start asking a lot of it. There’s a great article here about healing your body postpartum.
Once you’ve given your body enough time to heal (Usually about 6 weeks.) then you can ease into working out. Pay close attention to how your body feels. Things may be a bit different now. If a particular work out hurts, it may be a signal that you’re not ready to do that kind of motion yet. Often waiting a few more weeks to heal up a little more takes care of the problem.
Eat high calorie, nutrient dense foods
Your body is going to take a while to heal postpartum. It needs lots of nutrients to repair and replace after having your baby. Without the proper nutrition, you won’t see many positive changes in your body. If your breastfeeding, you are going to need even more calories to continue making milk while working out. (This is where all new mommas need to be careful. If you’re not consuming enough calories to cover your workout needs AND milk production, your milk supply will dwindle.)
To effectively lose weight and feel great postpartum a clean diet is extremely important. This means eating real, whole foods. A clean diet with lots of variety in fruits and veggies, along with healthy whole grains will ensure you are getting lots of nutrients, while keeping up with enough calories to keep your body healing, producing milk and keep up with exercise.
This may be a given, but it’s so important its worth mentioning. Make sure you are keeping hydrated. This is important to flush out toxins, keep your milk supply up, and help your body stay energized. This seems to be one of those things that so many people write off and not so important. But it is! Find a way to keep track and make sure you are drinking enough water. If you have trouble remembering, this water bottle helps you keep track, and even lets you easily infuse fruit for a little nutrition and flavor boost!
It won’t happen overnight
Although the media perpetuates the idea that women just “bounce back” after baby, this is not the normal. Celebrities who drop the weight quickly and seemingly return to their previous shape in no time, do so with people preparing nutritious foods for them, help with their children and trainers to help them stay motivated and work out. Most of us “normal folk” simply can’t afford that much help.
Don’t try to keep up with that imaginary standard.
Unless you love working out, don’t do it in your free time
If you love working out, then go ahead and make that your “me time.” If you don’t love working out, don’t do it when you actually get a few minuets of peace to yourself. Having a new baby is hard. If there is a tiny portion of the day where they nap by themselves and the house is quiet and you can actually do something just for you, then do something you enjoy with that time. (This goes for cleaning and housework too!) You have to keep your mind healthy, and having a few minuets to do the things that make you feel like you is so important.
Instead, workout when baby is awake. There are so many workouts you can do with your baby in tow.
Things to try
- Get a jogging stroller (this stroller has rave reviews on Amazon and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg) and start jogging with baby
- Check your local area to see if you can join a babywearing workout class (Yes, these exist)
- Or find babywearing exercises online to do at home
- Do mommy and me workouts
Make it fun & connect with other mama’s
Find a mommy and me fitness group to join. Being a new mama can get a little lonely if you had an active social life before. Joining a mommy fitness group can connect you with other mama’s who have babies too. This can do wonders for your mental health. They’ll understand if you attention starts to drift off as you tend to your little ones needs. (This is a totally normal new mama thing to do!)
Plus it will keep you excited and motivated to join up with your new friends and get fit at the same time. You can search you local facebook groups to see where these groups meet and how to join. Or head to the local library or civic center to see if there are any flyers about activities going on around town.
If you really can’t find anything that’s already established, why not pop in on a local facebook moms group and see if any new moms want to join you in starting a fitness group. You’ll never know what kind of friendships this could spur!
Know your body may never be “the same”
And that’s ok. Your body will never look or feel 100 percent the way it felt before. It isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a fact. Learn to love your new body. You need to keep a positive mindset about your new body. Those stretch marks, extra skin and lack of “perkiness” may be here to stay, but your body is strong, it created life, it allows you to move and express yourself. It’s beautiful imperfections and all.
P.S. I recently got to check out this postpartum recovery program and it is AMAZING. This girl has it all figured out and set up a program that is simple and easy to follow, but works!
She has laid out in an easy to follow order on what you should eat, what workouts you should be doing postpartum, how to lose the baby weight (healthily) all while keeping your milk supply up.
She even has fantastic tips on how you should be carrying your baby to prevent damaging your core! This is info that every new mom should know.