How to get fit after giving birth
The idea of getting fit while juggling the responsibilities of parenting a newborn can seem overwhelming. Thankfully, the process of taking off the extra weight should be a gradual one.
You can expect to lose four to seven pounds of water weight after returning home as your uterus returns to normal size. From there, it is recommended you give yourself 6 months to return to your fighting weight.
Take your time
According to WebMD, it’s very important you not rush into cutting calories or extreme exercise immediately. They liken pregnancy to running a marathon daily for nine months. Even if you took extremely good care of yourself during that time, your body will still need to replenish energy and nutrients sapped by the experience.
Therefore, it is advised you not start to restrict calorie intake until at least 6 weeks after the baby is born. During the first six weeks, you should eat 1800-2000 calories per day. After 6 weeks, you will still need to maintain your calorie intake at that level if you are breastfeeding.
If you are not breastfeeding, you can cut back roughly 500 calories per day, aiming to lose no more than one pound per week.
Importance of exercising
While dieting is discouraged, exercising should most definitely be on your to-do list. Research has shown that exercise can not only help you regain your pre-pregnancy shape, but increase your energy level and decrease your risk of post-partum depression. WebMD encourages you to check with your doctor before beginning your exercise program.
Once medically cleared, you don’t want to push the difficulty level up too quickly. Doctors warn that you should not perform any exercise that puts major strain on your joints within the first 6-8 weeks.
Therefore, a good way to get started is simply by taking daily walks while pushing your baby in the stroller. Once you feel stronger, start to add back in exercises you did during your third trimester, and then slowly work backward until you have returned to your pre-pregnancy routine.
At any point, if you experience pain or discomfort as a result of exercise, stop and check in with your doctor. You can work together to find a routine that is right for you.