If you follow your favorite celebrities, you probably wonder how in the world they get back in shape so quickly after having a baby. They usually stroll down the red carpet within a couple of weeks, looking as if nothing had ever happened to their perfect bodies. With the help of a personal trainer, it’s not so tough for celebrities to get their bodies back!
Where losing the baby weight gets tricky is when you’re left to do it alone, with no plan in place and no personal trainer guiding you to exercises that will work the best for your body. This post pregnancy workout plan is intended to be a basic guide to help you stay active, in a healthy way, to get you closer to your goal of losing the baby weight.
Getting the All-ClearBefore you begin any exercise routine, you should get the okay from your doctor to do so. What your body can handle post-pregnancy depends on several factors, like any pregnancy complications you had and whether you delivered naturally or via C-section.
All women’s bodies are different, and that includes how they respond to pregnancy and healing post-pregnancy. Some women can walk around within a couple of days with ease, whereas others still have significant pain for weeks after delivery.
Be honest with your doctor about the pain you experience when it’s time to leave the hospital and ask him, specifically, when he believes it’s okay for you to begin some light activity. He might suggest stopping in for a checkup before you do anything, or he can give you some options for staying active without harming yourself. Either way, it’s crucial to listen to his professional advice before anyone else’s.
What Types of Exercise are Safe?
The exercises that you’ll do post-pregnancy will also depend on your pregnancy and labor. Very light activity is usually safe for most women from the 2nd week postpartum and on. It’s not until after the 6th week that most professionals will give you the okay to do more intense exercise routines.
Some exercises that provide low impact and can keep you moving healthily after you have your baby include:
- Light dancing
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Exercise ball activities
Avoid anything intense during the first six weeks, like high-intensity cardio, jogging, or weight training. Most doctors avoid swimming, too, until your six-week check-up and you’ve stopped bleeding for a full week. And, be sure to listen to your body as you exercise. It will tell you if you’re doing more than it can handle at that time.
Breaking It Down by Weeks
Since your body goes through incredible changes as it heals each week postpartum, it’s best to break down your workout routine by weeks. Our post-pregnancy workout plan is quite different for weeks one through six than it is for weeks seven and beyond because after week six is generally when you are cleared by your doctor to move onto more intense activity. Remember that this is just a guide, and you should carefully follow what your body tells you every week, based on the pain you’re experiencing.
Your first week postpartum is an important one in the healing process. During this week, you’ll still feel a significant amount of pain and tenderness, especially in your pelvic and belly areas. This week is one to avoid as much activity as possible and bond with your baby instead.
Use this week to stock up on healthy fruits, vegetables, and balanced meals to get your diet on track. If you feel up to it, you can walk around your home, but try to avoid stairs and make sure someone is home to help you in case you need it. Otherwise, relax, and let your body heal and prepare for light exercise next week.
Weeks 2 – 3Weeks two and three are when you can begin adding short walks into your routine. Start with 5-minute walks with your baby in her stroller, increasing them to 10, 15, and 20-minute walks gradually through these two weeks. If you feel like you can do a couple of these walks each day, go for it!
You can also begin exercising your pelvic floor muscles, which can aid the healing process in that area. Many pelvic floor exercises can also help tighten your lower stomach muscles at the same time.
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Breathe in, and then exhale as you tighten your pelvic floor muscles, pulling your pelvis slightly up toward your belly button. Continue breathing as you hold the position for about three seconds, eventually working up to ten seconds. Try to do ten reps at a time.
Week 4Week four is a good week to start walking more frequently for about 20 minutes each time while adding some light strength training or yoga into the routine. You can use an exercise ball to make yoga movements more comfortable for you. The ball will help you support your body as you exercise until you get strong enough to support yourself. For example, for the Downward Dog, prop yourself over your exercise ball for support, removing it as you get stronger and more stable.
Weeks 5 – 6
At this stage, it’s important to be moving and active, but it can be easy to forget that you’re still healing because your body likely feels like it’s almost normal again. You’ll see your doctor for a 6-week checkup, and he’ll give you the green light if he believes you’re ready for more intense exercise.
During the last weeks of your recovery period, you can increase your walks to 30 minutes, aiming for one to two per day. You might want to try some light cardio activity, such as dancing to your favorite songs or a workout video, if you think your body is up to it. If so, be careful to avoid any twisting motions that could hurt your healing abdominal muscles.
Week 7 and Beyond
If your doctor gave you a clean bill of health, you’re ready to add more intense cardio and strength training into your workouts. Keep walking, too, if that’s what you enjoy, but you should be able to add other cardio activities into the routine, like light jogging, swimming, or biking. Work in some of these exercises at least twice per week.
Focus on strength training three times per week. This doesn’t mean you have to lift weights. You can train your body through yoga (without the exercise ball), ballet, or Pilates, for example. Start slowly to build muscle and allow your body time to continue its full recovery. By the 3-month mark, you should notice a significant difference in your strength, stamina, and weight loss.
Conclusion: Get Fit with a Post Pregnancy Workout Plan
It’s amazing how our bodies can bounce back naturally from having a baby. Still, it’s natural to want to help the process along by getting your body toned, strong, and ready to burn fat.
During the first week postpartum, focus on your baby and healing your body. Then, begin light walking activities, increasing your walking intervals as your body can handle it. Work in some light cardio, pelvic floor, and ab exercises toward the end of the first six weeks. Once you get an okay from your doctor at your 6-week checkup, you’re cleared to start training your body to shed the baby weight.