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Postpartum Fitness

Postpartum Fitness

Once your baby is born and you have adjusted to a new feeding and sleeping schedule, you may be eager to lose those pregnancy pounds you have gained over the past nine months. Most women gain around 30 pounds during pregnancy, and many of them find that the stubborn baby belly doesn't go away after labor.

Before starting any exercise program, you should consult your doctor. He or she can help you find an effective fitness routine that won't be risky to your health. Kegel exercises where you tighten and release the muscles of the vagina are a great way to start exercising. Not only do they strengthen muscles that were loosened during pregnancy and labor, but they are also simple to perform and won't cause injury.

You shouldn't expect to lose all of the weight you've gained in a short period of time. It takes awhile to shed the excess pounds, but with healthy eating and a good postpartum exercise program, you can steadily lose weight. Until about six weeks after your baby is born, you shouldn't return to an aerobic exercise program, but stick to low impact workouts.

After six weeks, you can usually start to slowly return to the exercise routine you did before your pregnancy. Anything from yoga, to jogging, to weight training should be fine at this time, unless you have certain complications from pregnancy or labor that prevent exercising.

It's best to start out with short walks to get back into an exercise routine. Walking is also great for a busy mom, as she can take her infant with her in the stroller. It's easy to incorporate a walking routine into your day even if it's just 15 minutes to start.

If you want to target your belly, you should have lots of stomach-strengthening exercises in your postpartum fitness routine. Focus on exercises like stomach crunches and pelvic tilts, as well as weight training and fat burning activities like running or speed walking. Swimming can help tone your entire body, and is an enjoyable type of exercise that is very low impact on joints and muscles.

Joining an exercise class at your local community center or gym can be the perfect way to ease back into a fitness program and socialize with other people. There are even swimming and fitness classes for both baby and mom, so you can get in shape even with a hectic schedule.

Don't push your body too hard during your postpartum exercises. Also, if you're breastfeeding, you will need additional calories every day, so don't restrict your diet or try to lose the weight by limiting your calorie intake. If you're committed to a postpartum fitness program, the weight will come off.


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