As women give birth and start their journey into motherhood, it can be hard to find a balance between self care and being absolutely consumed with your new baby. You may begin to question yourself:
"Am I selfish for wanting time alone to work on myself?"
"How do I find the time to get back into fitness?"
"What workouts can I do?"
GUILT FOR WANTING TIME TO WORKOUT
One thing first, working on yourself and trying your best to live a healthy lifestyle is not only unselfish but essential for you and your baby! A healthy mom equals a healthy baby. When you work on yourself, you'll feel good about herself, you'll be happy. And as the saying goes a happy mom is a happy baby. Also there is now evidence to support the antidepressant effects of exercise for postpartum depression. Exercising helps against postpartum depression! So working on yourself is important. You are not only just a mom but a woman too!
FINDING THE TIME TO WORKOUT
Finding the time to workout as a new mom may be difficult but it is definitely not impossible! Once you and baby are in a set schedule, for example if your baby sleeps 4 times throughout the day for 3-4 hours. This is the perfect time to try some at home workouts. If your baby is not on a schedule and you're finding it difficult to time when your baby is up versus when your baby is asleep, try reaching out to your baby's dad or family member that you may live with to watch your baby for an hour or so for you to get your workout in. If that's not an option, you can always include your baby in your workout!
POSTPARTUM WORKOUTS AND TIMING
Once you have been cleared from your doctor, you may be wondering what workouts are safe for you to begin doing. If you had a vaginal birth without complications, and as long as you aren’t experiencing any red-flag symptoms you may begin doing modified pre-pregnancy exercises almost immediately after birth. You may start with your bodyweight or light weights (10 pounds or less) if you want to do some weightlifting, then increase intensity and duration slowly to your comfort level. The main thing is to listen to your body! If you had a vaginal birth with tearing, it can take two to three weeks for extensive (i.e. third- or fourth-degree) tears to heal. But you may start with walking and upper body exercises. Make sure to consult with your doctor first, you and your doctor know your body best! If you had a C-section, you should start walking the day after delivery if possible, or as soon as you feel that you are ready (this will boost your circulation, lower your risk of developing a blood clot and help with gas). However, as far as working out goes, you'll most likely want to wait until at least the six-week mark. Give yourself time to heal, you just had major surgery! It's ok to wait. Once you feel ready, again I must stress the importance of getting the ok from your doctor before beginning any workout.
Some examples of postpartum workouts are :
1) Swiss ball glute bridge - ( it is great for pelvic floor and core stabilization. It works the abdominal muscles, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.)
2) Side plank leg lift - (This will work your glutes, obliques, and to a lesser degree, the shoulder muscles.)
3) AND OF COURSE, walking!
Walking is safe postpartum for however your delivery experience was.
Remember not to be hard on yourself. If need be, give yourself time to heal. Listen to your body. You will know when and if you are ready!