Post Pregnancy Exercise & Nutrition
We tend to focus on the numerous changes that happen to a “mum to be” at the various stages of pregnancy, but few of us pay attention to the fact that just as many physical changes will take place, over a similar period of time, after childbirth. Post pregnancy exercise and nutrition is therefore very important for every new mum, but there are factors that should be considered first.
General guidelines state that a new mum should put post pregnancy workouts on hold for at least the first 6 weeks and this is extended to 8 - 12 weeks for those who have had a Caesarean section (C-section). Some women will need more or less time depending on their circumstances.
The first few physical activities that a new mum takes part in should be LOW intensity and LOW volume. Pushing baby in a pram for a short walk is a brilliant first step to start the ball rolling again. Just remember, the goal is always to feel better at the end of the session than you did when you started!
Many women after child birth will just focus on weight loss. However, the first goal in returning to exercise should always be to address and strengthen their core and stabilise their pelvic area again. Trying to participate in strenuous activity too quickly, such as running or high impact exercises, could lead to injury and embarrassing leakages!
Being a new mum is stressful, whether it be the first, second, third time round. At this time, instead of focusing on weight loss, try instead making sure you are fuelling yourself well enough, so that you have enough energy to get through your day.
- Eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, the bigger range of colours the better – aim for at least 5 portions a day
- Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates, these are your body’s main source of energy – Complex carbohydrates provide slow-release energy and sugar so the body doesn’t face big sugar fluctuations in the bloodstream, as a result you don’t get sugar cravings (e.g. sweet potatoes, brown rice)
- Eat foods high in protein, this will help you feel fuller for longer (e.g. eggs, chicken breast, sardines, almonds)
Its understandable that every new mum just wants their pre-pregnancy body back as quickly as possible and this can be achieved but there is no magic quick fix. It’s important to remember it took nearly a year for the body to go through all those transitions when it was growing a baby, so it’s not unreasonable to find that it is not going to take anything less to return to that pre-pregnancy state.
*If you do have health issues or long-term injuries, get your GP’s approval before starting any exercises or nutritional programmes*