By Kathleen Donahoe of Oh Baby! Fitness
How quickly will I lose the baby weight?
Just as weight gain happens at different rates during pregnancy, weight loss has different paces for different women. 9 months on , 9 months off is a good rule of thumb — not 9 months on and back in your skinny jeans at 2 months! If your baby is 9 months old and you still have weight to lose we recommend a combination of exercise and healthy diet to lose the last few pounds.
How soon can I exercise after baby?
Recommendations are changing here- – doctors now say if you haven’t had a c-section or physically traumatic birth and were active when pregnant you can start exercise earlier than previously thought..for some a few days after birth. Along with walking, Oh Baby Fitness recommends your first exercises be transverse ab holds (pulling your belly button to spine), kegels and chest opening exercises.
How far can I run after baby?
Once you have your doctor’s clearance, you can run as far as you can hold a kegel for. Engage your abs (pull your belly button toward your spine) and lift your pelvic floor. Once you feel either of those muscles relax, go back to walking. Walk for a bit, and when you are ready, engage your abs and pelvic floor and run again. Here’s a great post written by a physical therapist with more tips for running after birth.
Why does my lower back hurt?
Babies are awful on posture. Hold your baby as close to your heart as possible (as opposed to on your hip—a carrier will help!) and avoid carrying baby in their car seat. Check in often with your posture: shoulders relaxed, chest open and abs engaged (suck your belly button toward your spine). Babies are hard work- here is more advice about protecting your lower back in everyday activities with baby.
What ab work can I do after a c-section?
Most women don’t know that it’s rare for doctors to cut through ab muscle during a c-section, they usually pull the muscles to the side instead. So step one: don’t picture your abs as cut in half. Then, return to your transverse abdominal work: pull your belly button in toward your spine and release. You can start this as soon as you feel ready…oftentimes right in the hospital! It will help you recover quicker. Itching to get back to exercise and not sure what to start with? Try these exercises.
My stomach looks funny. What is postpartum ab separation?
Diastasis recti is a common pregnancy condition where the rectus abdominals split to make room for a growing baby. Correct ab work, Pilates, physical therapy and postpartum belly wraps or “splinting” can all help rehab it. This is a big postpartum concern- and it’s fix-able. Read about specific exercises to start you on your path to recovery.
My baby is six months old and I still pee a little whenever I exercise. What gives?
It can take the bladder and pelvic floor a little bit to adjust to not having the weight of baby on it like it did during pregnancy. However, incontinence after the first few months, while common, is NOT normal and can often be easily corrected with a few visits with a women’s/pelvic health physical therapist. See a professional, for sure. This is something that can be fixed with a little help and guidance.
I had joint (hip, shoulder, etc) pain during pregnancy and it hasn’t gone away. Why?
If you are nursing, you still have the hormone relaxin in your body, and it makes your joints loose. Strengthening the muscles around those joints can help, as can seeing a physical therapist. We recommend Pilates and water based exercise as they both stabilize joints while strengthening them.
I’ve heard that I shouldn’t exercise before feeding my baby. Is this true?
Exercising moderately does not affect lactic acid levels in breast milk, however, babies have been known to not enjoy a sweaty, salty boob! Be sure to wipe off your breast or shower before feeding baby and you should be fine.
I know I should exercise, but I’m just so tired and overwhelmed. How do people do it?
Rather than thinking of exercise as a “should”, think of it as one of your best tools in fighting postpartum depression. Becoming a new mom is overwhelming and emotional (to put it mildly!) and exercise (both with your baby and with other moms) is one of the best things you can do for YOU. Try to even just walk around the block and see how much better you feel.