As a new mom, I found it very daunting to get back into my workout routine.  A Lot of questions and contradicting information out there, not to mention the “old wives tales”
As a fitness professional and having the first-hand experience after my pregnancy, I compiled a list of things every mom should know when starting to exercise again as well as a couple of tips to get you going.
Wait Until You Have Recovered Before You Start

I have always been very fit and carried on training through my pregnancy.  I was relatively active until the week prior to my C-section operation.  Naturally after a C-section the recovery takes a lot longer than natural child birth. In my case I was a bit hasty and being a professional fitness trainer, I should have actually known better.  I started my training two and a half weeks after being released from hospital.  I started with all the correct exercises but it was much too soon.  My wound got infected, and instead of six weeks, I ended up only being able to train three months after.  Your body has gone through a lot and you need to respect this time for it to recover weather you had natural birth or a C-section.

Why 6 weeks?

After childbirth a woman’s genital organs takes up to two months to return to its normal size and function.  You also have a hormone in your body called relaxin.  Relaxin is the hormone that makes it possible for our joints and connective tissue, especially the hips, to prepare and widen and be more flexible for the baby’s arrival and delivery.  This hormone does hang around for up to 5 month after baby arrives, so it is incredibly important to look after your fragile joints when working out during this time.   Swimming is also a great way to ease yourself into a workout routine and soothing on the body.

Start Slowly

When you first start training again walking is a great way for you to slowly work your way up to your old fitness levels.  You can start by walking between 10 and fifteen minutes per day with baby in a stroller or better yet, get some “me time” and get your partner or a friend to babysit.  Try walk 5 days a week even if it is just a short distance.  Do this for one month and then increase the duration and speed in month two. Try and get approximately 100 minutes per week in and exercise in your fat burn zone.  Read more here on how to calculate your fitness zones.   I have also found these great exercises to do after having the little one.  Read more here on the Fitness Magazine page

Wear a decent fitness bra

Ladies, it’s no secret that the boobies are working hard during this time.  Whether you are breastfeeding or not.  Your body has prepared for this baby so you better dress them for the occasion.  They will really need all the support they can get.  Did you know that if your breasts are not supported when you train they can move up and down up to ten centimetres?  OUCH!  When you start training again wear a well-fitting fully supportive training bra.  As your body is getting back to its original size, firm hugging compression and stability is what they need.

Ask For Help

We try to be super-humans, as if our validation for being a great mom is to be able to handle a million things at once.  Believe it or not YOU ARE an amazing mom, even if you ask someone to keep an eye over the baby while you are taking care of yourself.  We are pack animals, we are supposed to have each other’s back.  Don’t hesitate to ask someone to assist with everyday things and to look after the baby to free some more time up for you.

Wear the right shoes

As we grow our little mini-ME’s in our bodies, we naturally pick up a bit of weight.  A Lot of it is water, the baby and the umbilical fluids, a bit of fat and so on.  All of the extra weight puts pressure on your feet which might cause your feet to be a bit larger than what it would usually be.  Some women actually believe that your feet “grow” when you are pregnant (we will just pretend that we never heard that as we all know that’s not possible) Sometimes the weight causes changes in your feet’s bridges and causes your feet to feel a bit wider.  Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes that fit snugly but which allows a full range of motion, support for those flexi-joints and room for expansion.

Listen to your Body

If you have any of the following symptoms you should stop exercising and contact your Doctor immediately.

  • Excessive Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling Faint
  • Vaginal Bleeding
Eat and Drink according to your body’s needs

If you are training and breastfeeding or just training after pregnancy, the rule stays the same.  “Eat to hunger and drink to thirst”  During breastfeeding and/or training you need more nutrients and H2O than what you would normally need.  Make sure you fuel up so that your body has enough energy to take care of your, and your baby’s needs.   This will also help you feel less tired.  Please note needsand not cravings.

Last but not least, don’t wish the time away.  Getting your body back after pregnancy is part of your journey.  Be excited about it, don’t rush and enjoy watching your body transform.  Let go of the “getting your old body back” mentality.  This is not your old body, you will never have that body again.  What is exciting about this, is that not only can you look as great as you did before the baby, you can look even better!

This is a brand new body, a mommy’s body and it is a beautiful thing!

If you are a new mom, there are also other great blogs to follow:

Tums to Tods
Cindy Alfino  3 Kids 2 Dogs and 1 old house
Maz Halliday Caffeine and Fairydust
Nikki Lincoln We Are The Humans
Belinda Mountain Making Mountains
Lisa Harrison One Modern Mom
Leigh Geary The Mom Diaries
Angela Rea Our Sunshine Journey
Jonelle du Pont Tyranny of Pink
Chenel Kruger Life with James and Jaxon
Jo-Ann Strauss  Modern Mommy
Abieda Siers Crazy Mom Journal
Anthea O Neil Anthea’s Project Life
Kayley Malan Hayley’s Joys
Kim Muller Muller Kids
Shante Hutton Rose and Thorns
Tracey Porter The Milk Memoirs 
Zayaan Shroeder Surviving the Madness
Cassan Ferguson Leather Jacket Foxes
Nikki Smal Nikki & Nicholas
Lindsay Leigh Thomas Love Made Me
Julie Kynaston Heart Mamma Blog
Katherine Read Cape Town Insider
Kathryn Rossiter Becoming You
Tanya Herholdt Badenhorst Things to do with Kids