Congratulations! You’ve just had your baby and you’re ready to get back in shape now that you’re getting lots of sleep and are well rested! It’s hard knowing what to do with all of this maternity leave time now that the baby has been born. Wait, what?! That’s not how it’s going down?!?
Of course it’s not!!
If anything, you’re probably exhausted, wondering who in the world thought natural birth was a good idea, and did I mention exhausted? Oh, mama, you are not alone! Don’t let anyone tell you that having a newborn is easy or that there’s something wrong with you because you’re exhausted and overwhelmed. That’s entirely normal. And, with a warm sister-mom hug, welcome to the club of motherhood. Now, let’s help you and work together to help you feel better. If you’re ready to start exercising, here are some tips to help you succeed.
Exercise Tips for New Moms
1. Get Your Doctor’s Clearance Before You Begin
I know you really want to start running or doing some sort of cardio to help you drop those baby pounds, but the most important thing you can do is make sure that you’re doctor has cleared you for exercise. Take a deep breath, mama, and be patient with yourself and your body. It just did an amazing thing by creating and then birthing a baby; don’t underestimate the toll it took on your body. Give yourself the time to heal so that you don’t end up hurting yourself more and not being able to exercise for even longer. Please. Be kind and patient with yourself.
2. Start Slow
Remember when you first started exercising? It was hard going at first, wasn’t it? Instead of jumping right into vigorous exercise, start by taking short walks with the baby in the stroller. The fresh air and sunshine on your face will help release much needed Vitamin D in your system and help boost your mood. Don’t push it; just take a slow walk. As you build up your stamina, you will be able to get back to the same level of fitness that you were before you had your baby. Walks are a great place to start.
3. What’s Up with the Abs?
Are you noticing that your abs aren’t quite what they were before you gave birth? That’s totally normal. In about two-thirds of women, there’s a condition called Diastasis Recti where the abdominal muscles actually separate and leave a gap. If you have Diastasis Recti, you’re going to want to refrain from the typical core exercises, because some of the can actually increase the abdominal muscle gap. These exercises might be more appropriate for you, but again, always check with your doctor.
If you don’t have Diastasis Recti, these core exercises are a great place to start with rebuilding your core. Remember, your core muscles just had quite an intense workout, so be kind to them and don’t expect them to be able to do everything that they could do before you got pregnant right away.
More than anything, the best advice for new moms when it comes to fitness and exercise is to be patient with yourself. It took your body 10 months to change and grow a human being, it’s going to take it awhile to recover from that. Also, keep in mind that your body may never be the same as it was pre-pregnancy. And guess what? That’s okay, because your body is amazing.
Embrace the new you, give yourself some grace, and if you start to feel down about the lack of quick results, take a walk with the baby in the stroller and get some fresh air and sunshine. Mama, you are a rock star and all of us in this club of moms knows that what you’re going through isn’t easy. Let us walk with you and give you permission to rest when you feel like you have to keep going. You’re not alone.