Welcoming a bundle of joy is a life-altering experience for any woman. But let's be honest; caring for a newborn can be overwhelming.
Amidst the diaper changes and sleepless nights, one thing that new moms often overlook is postpartum fitness. Don't worry; we've got you covered.
This article will explore why postpartum fitness is essential and its incredible benefits for new moms.
Pregnancy and childbirth take a toll on a woman's body, from weight gain to changes in posture and muscle weakness. Luckily, postpartum fitness can help restore muscle tone, improve cardiovascular fitness, and promote healthy weight loss.
But wait, there's more! Working out can also boost mental health by reducing stress, anxiety, and symptoms of postpartum depression.
Let's be honest; as new moms, we need all the help we can get to maintain our sanity. Amethyst Joy, who is the founder of the foundation The Healed Mother, has her words regarding the postpartum journey. She quotes;
"Postpartum is a quest back to yourself, alone in your body again. You will never be the same. You are stronger than you were." ~Amethyst Joy
Beyond physical fitness, regular exercise gives new moms an energy boost to combat fatigue and increase stamina.
Exercise also promotes better sleep patterns, which, let's face it, can be hard to come by when you have a newborn.
And what else can beat the natural high of endorphins that exercise releases? It's mood-boosting, anxiety-reducing, and even aids in managing postpartum blues - win, win, a win.
Let's not forget how postpartum fitness strengthens core muscles, especially the pelvic floor, which goes through a lot during pregnancy and childbirth.
It can reduce discomfort and urinary incontinence and improve posture and stability. Bonus: working out can also be a great way to socialize and find support with fellow new moms.
Postpartum Recovery and Considerations
The postpartum period is a journey of physical and emotional changes that require ample healing time for new moms.
During this six to eight-week period, your body gradually returns to its pre-pregnancy state. But let's talk business about what that means for you.
First up, physical changes and the recovery timeline. The weight gain during pregnancy is no joke - but no need to fret; losing it requires patience and a balanced diet paired with regular exercise (once your healthcare provider has cleared you).
Other physical shifts include breast engorgement, vaginal bleeding, perineal soreness/stitches, and weakened abdominal/pelvic floor muscles.
Give yourself time, proper nutrition, and specific exercises to promote healing - and consult your provider for personalized guidance.
Speaking of healthcare providers, they are your postpartum BFFs! They can evaluate the healing process, assess any underlying medical conditions, and recommend safe physical activities based on your needs and circumstances.
They can also provide helpful insights on postpartum nutrition, breastfeeding, and pelvic floor health.
Be sure to have open and honest conversations with them to pave the way for a customized postpartum fitness plan that ensures optimal safety, promotes healing, and ultimately supports your overall well-being.
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Core and Pelvic Floor Strengthening
Your core and pelvic floor muscles are significant in your postpartum recovery and overall physical well-being.
These bad boys provide stability and support to your spine and pelvis, and strengthening them is essential for regaining strength, improving posture, and saying goodbye to pesky back pain.
And let's not forget about your pelvic floor muscles, which are crucial for controlling bladder and bowel function, supporting your pelvic organs, and boosting sexual satisfaction.
But pregnancy and childbirth can weaken these muscles, leading to severe issues like incontinence and prolapse. The solution? Strengthen those muscles!
Not only will it promote healing and prevent long-term troubles, but it'll also help you get back to feeling strong and sexy.
You can start with these gentle exercises that engage your core and pelvic floor muscles.
According to a study, not only do they help strengthen your body, but they also prevent overly taxing your muscles during their healing process.
First up - deep abdominal breathing. Take a deep breath through your nose, expand your ribcage, and let your belly rise. Then exhale through your mouth, drawing your navel towards your spine and gently lifting your pelvic floor muscles.
You're engaging your core and pelvic floor like a pro.
Next, try pelvic tilts. Lie on your back with your knees bent and rock your pelvis forward and backward to engage your core and pelvic floor.
Feeling a stretch? Perfect. Now for some bridging. Lift your hips off the ground while engaging your core and squeezing your glutes.
Gradually incorporate these gentle exercises to regain strength and function without overexerting yourself.
You want to push quickly enough and avoid injury or setbacks in the recovery process.
If there were complications during childbirth or those pelvic floor muscles are still weak, then modifications may be necessary.
Seek guidance from a postpartum fitness specialist or a physical therapist who can suggest tailored modifications like sitting or standing exercises, using props for added stability, or focusing on specific muscle groups to avoid straining that core and pelvic floor.
Remember, each mom's journey is unique, and consulting a healthcare provider or professional is highly recommended for expert support and guidance. Stay strong, mamas!
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Postpartum Cardiovascular Exercises
Are you ready to boost your energy, lose those extra pounds, and improve your heart health after giving birth?
If yes, cardio is your answer! But hold your horses; choosing gentle, low-impact workouts on the body during the postpartum period is crucial. We've covered you with some cardio options and guidelines, so let's dive in!
Walking is one of the easiest, low-impact cardio workouts that could fit into your daily routine.
Swimming and water aerobics are also excellent options, as they're gentle on the joints while giving you a full-body workout.
Cycling and elliptical machines can be introduced gradually to increase the intensity.
Here's the Deal With Intensity and Duration:
- Start slowly and gradually increase the time as you get stronger.
- Aim for moderate intensity where you can still chat with a friend, and always listen to your body for any discomfort, pain, or excessive fatigue.
- Always ask your healthcare provider or postpartum fitness specialist for personalized guidance.
Incorporating cardio into daily routines can be as simple as taking a brisk walk during baby's naptime, using a stationary bike while watching a show, or going for a stroller walk or jogging with your baby.
Postpartum Strength Training
Strength training after pregnancy is your ticket to a strong body and a confident mind. Say goodbye to flabby muscles and hello to toned biceps, legs, and glutes.
Muscle building helps boost your metabolism, making it easier to manage your weight. Strong muscles protect your spine and joints, so you can avoid injuries and rock good posture.
But are you still trying to figure out where to begin? Start with targeted exercises that focus on your major muscle groups.
Squats and lunges will give your lower body the workout it needs, while push-ups and chest presses will tone your upper body. Strengthen your back with rows and lat pulldowns, and engage your core with planks and crunches.
Start slow and steady with lighter weights or bodyweight exercises, and focus on engaging your core and maintaining alignment throughout.
Gradually increase your resistance as your strength improves, and don't push yourself too hard too soon. If you need help with the proper form, seek guidance from a qualified fitness professional.
Adjust your resistance and add variations to keep your muscles challenged as you progress. Set goals and track your progress to stay motivated and on track.
Strength training in your postpartum fitness routine can give you a strong, confident body and mind. So why wait? Start training like the warrior mom you are!
Consult a healthcare provider or qualified fitness professional for personalized guidance and support.
And if you don't have much time due to new motherhood to search and find the right fit of weights for you, then fear not; we have got your back.
The DMoose Adjustable Dumbbells can be your go-to equipment to start with lighter and continue to vary weights. The DMoose Adjustable Dumbbells are easy for beginners and weight trainers because they offer high-quality adjustable cast iron weights.
So, perform safer exercises and improve your strength training at the same time with these dumbbells.
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Postpartum Flexibility and Mobility Exercises
Hey new moms, it's time to stretch it out! Flexibility and mobility exercises are essential for postpartum fitness.
Not only do these exercises improve range of motion and flexibility, but they also promote overall physical well-being.
Let's dive into yoga, Pilates, and stretching to see how they can enhance posture, relieve tension, and leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
Stretching is the foundation of flexibility training and is fantastic for postpartum women. Whether doing dynamic stretches as part of a warm-up routine or static stretches after a workout, they all do wonders for your body.
Say goodbye to muscle soreness and hello to improved circulation and relaxation.
Regarding gentle practices, yoga or Pilates are perfect for postpartum recovery.
These exercises focus on flexibility, core strength, and mind-body connection, helping to restore and strengthen muscles, improve posture, and enhance overall body awareness. Plus, it's an excellent opportunity to destress and unwind.
Posture and muscle imbalances can be expected after childbirth.
The good news is that stretching can help to lengthen tight muscles in the chest, shoulders, and hips, while mobility work for the spine promotes good posture and can prevent or reduce back pain.
Besides, stretching can help you release tension, leaving you feeling revitalized and relaxed.
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Incorporating Functional Movements
According to research, postpartum fitness can be challenging, but incorporating functional movements can make all the difference.
New moms can build strength and endurance by mimicking daily tasks like squatting and lunging.
Lifting, carrying, and pushing movements can also be targeted through exercises like deadlifts and push-ups, improving overall posture and body mechanics.
And let's not forget about stability and balance - single-leg balances and unstable surface exercises can help combat hormonal and physical changes, leading to better stability and injury prevention.
Remember to focus on proper form and technique and start with bodyweight or lighter exercises before progressing.
And, of course, safety first! Consult with a healthcare provider or qualified fitness professional to ensure exercises are suitable and safe for individual needs.
Postpartum Fitness Programs and Classes
Fitness programs offer tailored workouts led by trained fitness professionals who understand the postpartum period.
Say goodbye to pelvic floor issues and hello to a supportive community of like-minded individuals!
But why stop there? Bond with your baby while breaking a sweat in mom-and-baby fitness classes.
These classes incorporate exercises that can be done while caring for your little one and provide an opportunity to socialize with other new moms. You'll not only feel physically stronger but emotionally supported too!
Need more time or ability to leave the house? No problem!
Online resources and support groups provide a wealth of information, virtual workouts, and a platform to connect with other moms going through the same thing. It's convenient, flexible, and an excellent way to feel empowered and informed in your postpartum journey.
Self-Care and Listening to Your Body
Congratulations, new mom! You've created a beautiful life; now it's time to focus on you. Self-care and listening to your body are a must during the postpartum period. Here's the scoop on how to thrive:
First things first, rest and recovery are essential.
Growing and birthing a baby are feats of epic proportions - your body needs a break! Take naps when the baby sleeps, accept help from friends and family, and delegate household duties.
Remember, prioritizing rest is essential for your well-being.
Manage fatigue and sleep deprivation like a pro. Let's face it - restless nights and mental fatigue are expected with a newborn at home. But don't fret!
Get your snooze on and establish a consistent sleep schedule. Take power naps when possible and tag in your significant other or friend to help with nocturnal duties.
And remember to focus on activities that soothe your soul - deep breathing exercises, relaxing baths, and things that bring you joy. Pay attention to warning signs.
The postpartum period is no walk in the park, physically or emotionally.
Keep a watchful eye on warning signs, such as persistent pain or excessive bleeding, intense mood swings, difficulty bonding with the baby, and feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
If something feels off, speak up! Consult your obstetrician, midwife, or mental health provider for guidance and support.
Nutrition and Hydration
It's essential for your health and your baby's development. Breastfeeding requires extra calories and specific nutrients, so make sure you're chowing down on lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats.
Remember to consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to ensure you meet your nutritional needs.
Balanced meals and healthy snacks are crucial for postpartum energy levels and overall health.
Ensure you get your carbs, proteins, and fats fixed each meal. Complex carbs like whole grains, fruit, and veggies will keep you going throughout the day.
Protein-rich foods like lean meats and legumes are essential for tissue repair and muscle recovery.
And healthy fats like avocado and nuts will keep you full and happy. Remember to snack on fruit, yogurt, nuts, and seeds when hunger strikes.
Stay hydrated because breastfeeding can cause extra fluid loss, so ensure you're keeping up with your water intake.
Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks and opt for good ol' H2O. And keep a water bottle nearby to remind you to stay hydrated.
Last, but not least, remember to take your daily dose of supplements that help you keep hydrated during exercise.
And who needs any other supplement when DMoose offers Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) + Hydration supplements? It keeps you hydrated during workouts, maintains your muscle health, and helps in fast muscle recovery and soreness. So, what are you waiting for?
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Balancing Fitness and Motherhood
Motherhood and fitness can harmoniously coexist-it's just a matter of strategy. If you're struggling to juggle both, fear not! Here are three tried-and-true methods for an achievable fitness routine:
First, schedule "me" time like a doctor's appointment.
Prioritize your physical and mental health by creating realistic workout plans you can stick to. Whether it's early morning, nap time, or after the baby's asleep, make it non-negotiable and stick to it like glue.
Second, incorporate your baby into your fitness routine. Think outside the box with baby yoga, walks in the park, or swimming lessons - the options are endless. It will benefit both of you physically, and you can bond and make fantastic memories.
Lastly, remember - it takes a village. Reach out to family, friends, and other new moms for support.
Sharing responsibilities and remembering asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Finding a balance between your fitness goals and motherhood is a journey that needs planning, commitment, and support. Don't worry; it's possible to stay fit while being the kickass caregiver that your little one deserves!
We get it; you're juggling a lot, but trust us, making self-care time and working out a priority isn't selfish but essential for your overall well-being. You deserve to recharge and manage stress to be a better mom. Incorporating your baby into your fitness routine fosters bonding and creates memories.
Whether taking walks or trying a mom-and-baby fitness class, you'll both have a blast. Of course, seeking support from loved ones is crucial. Be bold and ask for help and share responsibilities so you can focus on your fitness and well-being.
Joining support groups or finding workout buddies among fellow moms can provide encouragement, motivation, and a sense of community.
Remember, balancing fitness and motherhood is a journey that'll evolve as your baby grows.
Be flexible, celebrate small victories, and embrace the joys and challenges of this unique phase in your life. By prioritizing fitness, self-care, and seeking support, you'll be an even more badass mom taking on the world!
- Cho, Sung Tae, and Khae Hawn Kim. "Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercise and Training for Coping with Urinary Incontinence." Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, vol. 17, no. 6, Dec. 2021, pp. 379-87. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.12965/jer.2142666.333
- Mullins, Edward, et al. "Postnatal Exercise Interventions: A Systematic Review of Adherence and Effect." BMJ Open, vol. 11, no. 9, Sept. 2021, p. e044567. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-044567