How much exercise a new mom can do depends on how much she exercised during her pregnancy and if she had any delivery complications. If a woman has a normal delivery and has maintained a reasonably consistent exercise routine during most of her pregnancy, she can probably start with a light walking and calisthenics program within two to six weeks after her delivery.
After giving birth, how a woman chooses to exercise also depends on her psychological needs. For instance, some women like to return to their regular group class or training to keep socializing and maintain good self-esteem; other women may not want to leave their babies or worry about keeping up with the time demands of a regular group, and prefer to start with at-home programs, such as videos, home equipment, or walking. Women should listen to their bodies and be willing to adapt their routines on days when they feel fatigued from caring for their newborn and from the extra energy expended if they are breast-feeding.
Certain exercises that were done during pregnancy to target the abdominals and the pelvic floor muscles – the spinal C curve and Kegel exercises – can be started almost immediately after delivery, as long as there is no extensive damage to these areas due to tearing or surgical procedures, such as a C-section. In the spinal C curve, you start by lying on your side or sitting down on the floor. Pull your abdominal wall in toward your spine, and tilt your ribs toward your hips and your hips toward your ribs. Exhale as you curve, then inhale and return to the neutral position.
If a new mom is breast-feeding, she should make sure her milk supply is sufficient prior to doing more intense or longer-duration activities. She will also have to adjust her water and caloric intake to accommodate both for exercise and milk production.
Remember that a large portion of a woman’s midsection distention that is obvious following the birth of a baby is actually the displacement of internal organs, fluids, and stretched surface skin. Luckily, most of this takes care of itself within three to four months after giving birth.
The additional body fat and loss of abdominal tone may take longer to resolve. A good overall postpartum exercise and diet plan will help women lose the extra pounds, which should include the fat stores around the midsection. However, remember that aggressive dieting and exercising are not recommended while breast-feeding, though light exercise is fine. To help with toning the abs, all post partum abs exercises will help.
A woman can actually start within hours after delivery with a simple “pulling in” of the ab muscles, as though she were trying to zip up a tight pair of pants. This compression-type exercise can help to bring the uterus back to its original size and expel residual blood.
Also don’t forget to learn how to do a proper bicycle crunch which is another great exercise for toning the belly.
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