Keeping Health in Mind After Birth
Don’t expect to get back into those skinny jeans or bikinis just yet. Accept that your belly will bulge for a while, and the skin may look loose – but the good news is that it won’t last forever. Healthy eating and regular, consistent exercise will get you back into shape.
When to Start
Although you have had your baby, and the bump may be almost gone, your body is not back to normal yet. Some of the changes that affected you in pregnancy stick around for a few weeks after birth, so take things slowly.
If you had a normal birth, it’s okay to walk and do your abdominal, back, and pelvic floor exercises, as soon as you feel up to it.It’s best to wait at least 6 weeks to try sit-ups, and then you can gradually get back to your normal exercise routine afterwards.Avoid high impact exercise for 12 weeks after birth, to ensure that your ligaments are back to normal.
If you’ve had a caesarean, check with your midwife or doctor as to when you can resume normal exercise.
Just Move a Little
Being active with a baby is easier than you think.You can go for regular walks with your baby in a sling, backpack, or buggy. Walking helps you get fitter and stronger, and it gives you energy. The more oxygen you can get into your lungs, and your bloodstream, the more alive you will feel! Plus, babies love getting out and discovering new things, and it helps them to learn about the world.
You can also entertain your baby by letting them watch you do your postnatal exercises, and make a game out of it. Or you could join a pram-walking group where you can talk and exercise with other new mums. Contact your local Child and Family Health Centre to see if there’s a group near you.
Make a Splash
Swimming and aqua aerobics,while pregnant, are amazingly enjoyable, and you can still get great use out of your maternity swimwear(just wait around 4-6 weeks after birth). While the buoyancy and weightlessness are fantastic for sore bodies, you must be careful of any infection, so double-check with your General Practitioner (GP) first.
Graze Through the Day
It’s very common for a new mum to be so busy filling their baby’s tummythat they forget their own. This is a big mistake, as low blood-sugar levels send not only energy levels plummeting, but moods too. To keep yourself balanced, physically and mentally, stash sustaining and easy-to-munch-on snacks within easy reach.
Here are some good food options:
- Nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
- Fresh fruit and raw vegetables.
- Wholegrain muesli bars or crackers.
- Small cubes of cheese.
- Yoghurt (but avoid the sugary-flavoured ones).
Stacks of parenting books, online resources, and your local Early Childhood Health Centre, can offer information and advice about how to look after your health whenyour baby arrives. Educate yourself now about how to best take care of yourself, so you can best take care of your baby.
The most important thing to remember isto give yourself a break. It’s taken 9 months to gain the pregnancy weight, and it may take at least that long to get it off. Feed your body with nutrient-dense foods, such as fruit and vegetables, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates, and you’ll have the energy to get back to yourself in no time.