It’s no secret that going through pregnancy and giving birth leads to significant changes in your body––some good, some not so much.
Fortunately, there is a way to ease some of the challenging physical changes that surface and get back in shape. But, to do that, you must be patient and methodical.
First: Understand These Essential Truths
First, getting back in shape will take time. Giving birth places significant stress on your body, and you cannot return to your old routine in just a few weeks (1).
Second, it won’t be easy. Returning to your normal rhythm will be challenging, and finding new and creative ways to juggle fitness with your new life at home will require discipline (2).
Exercising After Pregnancy
First, talk to your doctor to get medical clearance. Discuss potential risks and ask them for practical suggestions on what type of activity to do.
Once you’ve talked to them, start small. For example, enjoy some walking daily and do light stretching, so long as it doesn’t cause pain in the lower stomach (3). Good forms of physical activity include yoga and Pilates.
You can practice plenty of beginner-friendly activities to slowly boost your fitness and speed up the recovery process.
When to Ramp Up the Intensity
Patience is crucial during the postprandial period. Your body has gone through a lot, and you must give it time to recover. Pushing yourself too hard too soon can negatively impact your health and well-being.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any best guidelines here, as recovery is highly individual and depends on your previous fitness level, how much weight you’ve gained during pregnancy, how complicated the birth was, and other factors.
Because of that, the best approach is to listen to your body. Gradually bump the intensity if you’re feeling good but take things slow if you feel tired, struggle to recover, or experience pain.
You can write your activity level in a notebook or use a phone app to see how things are going and gradually push for some progress.
Healthy Nutrition After Pregnancy
Healthy nutrition is vital for everyone and especially so during and after pregnancy. Unless your doctor recommends a specific diet, eat mostly whole and nutritious foods (4).
Don’t restrict any nutrients (e.g., carbs) or food groups because your body needs all three macronutrients and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
Avoid crash diets if you’re interested in weight loss. While you might be eager to get back in shape as quickly as possible, restricting your calories too much can affect your exercise performance, energy levels, and well-being.
Don’t lose more than 0.5 to 1 percent of your body weight weekly (5).
Giving birth is not easy. It takes a lot of physical and mental effort and often places significant stress on the body.
You might be eager to get back on track, especially if you’ve followed a structured workout program before your pregnancy, but understand that the recovery process will take time. It’s far better to go slow, listen to your body, and gradually increase the intensity.