7 Tips for Effective After-Baby Exercise

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Giving your body time to heal after pregnancy and delivery is a key part of achieving your postpartum fitness goals.  By starting out slowly and listening to your body, you can effectively progress into an exercise routine that gets you the results you want– starting right after delivery!

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1. Start your kegels ASAP– no really, I mean as soon as baby is out!  Working on your pelvic floor muscles is pretty easy, and its imperative to your total-body fitness!

2. Begin light walking if the doctor gives permission.

3. Wait for your postpartum visit (usually 6 weeks) before starting any challenging routine. Your body needs time to heal safely!

4. Avoid crunches until at least 8 to 10 weeks (longer if you had a C-section) & be sure to check for abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti) before progressing to more challenging ad exercises.

5. Avoid over stretching! Just like during pregnancy, in the weeks following delivery the relaxin hormone may stay present for around 8 weeks postpartum, this makes you more susceptible to injury and can actually further postpone your ability to intensify your exercise routine!

6. Avoid inner thigh stretches if you had a vaginal delivery until you feel everything has healed properly ‘down there’. Choosing to wait until your postpartum exam if you experienced a severe tear or had an episiotomy might be ideal, to be sure scar tissue has minimized.

7. Work your way backwards. Start back into strength and cardio training with the level of intensity you were comfortable with towards the end of your pregnancy. After each workout you can guage how much more (or less) your body is ready for at this time. Slowly increase the intensity and duration by listening to your body.

General Postpartum Guidelines:
* Aim to workout 30 minutes most days of the week
* A short workout , even just 10 minutes is better then no workout
* Strength train 2 to 4 times per week. Yes–that includes pilates, yoga and weight training!

Here are 2 workouts to get you started!
Pregnancy & Newborn 6 week fitness series: week 1 & week 2

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Julianna’s Birth Story: Welcome Baby Lincoln!

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We are so happy to announce that our second little boy, Lincoln, joined mommy, daddy, and big brother Weston on January 10th! He is doing amazing– passing all his check-ups with flying colors, and I’m feeling pretty much back to normal just two weeks after delivery.

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After nearly two weeks of contractions that got as close as 3 minutes apart, I was almost positive that I would never go into labor– at 38 weeks I figured I’d be having contractions for a few more weeks, and hopefully that meant my body would be ready to get baby out! At my 38 week appointment, 38 weeks 4 days pregnant, my doctor checked to see if all the contractions had made any progress from the 2cm I was dilated a week and a half before– (if you read my 37 week update, this was when I went to the hospital with contractions!). He estimated I was around 3cm, which to me didn’t sound like much progress, but he assured me that things can change in a minute– and he was right!

After my appointment that afternoon, I went home and carried on with my normal routine; getting organized from working that morning. When I went to bed I felt exactly the same as every other day.

At 3:00am I woke up with contractions, which at this point was nothing new for me– it had been going on almost two weeks. But, by about 10am it was starting to get pretty uncomfortable, still contracting around 3 minutes apart, I called my husband to give him the heads up, since for the previous weeks I was managing contractions on an exercise ball, and it was getting too uncomfortable to sit.
Within 2 hours we were packed up and arrived at the hospital– with our three year old. I didn’t want to leave him with the sitter, because I honestly believed it would just be unprogressive contractions again. When we got to the hospital I was 4cm dilated, and they immediately admitted me, and we had no idea what to do with our 3 year old. Luckily, all those ‘practice’ contractions and pregnancy exercises must have paid off– by the time my husband and son went to get some lunch and came back (about an hour) I was 6cm, and the AMAZING nurse who was taking care of me said, “By the way you’re laboring– it’s going to be fast and by the time you want something for pain, it’s going to be time!”

She must have helped deliver a lot of babies, because within another hour I was at 9.5cm, and ready for baby to be OUT! I made it all the way through labor walking around the room, and bouncing on an exercise ball– just like with my first baby– and I was so happy to have avoided an epidural again! My water had to be broken at 10cm so I could push– and within 3 pushes our perfect little 7lb 8oz guy was here at 2:53 pm!
I still can’t believe how fast the whole thing happened! I had been planning on going into work at 4pm, and would never have thought I would have a baby before then– even the delivering doctor commented on how quick it was. We were so fortunate that the labor and delivery receptionist wasn’t swamped that day– my 3 year old was just two rooms down from me my entire labor, watching some shows and snacking on his lunch! As soon as baby was put on my chest, my first boy came in and got to meet his little brother, and they already love each other so much! I couldn’t ever thank her enough for making it possible for him to be there safely so my husband could be there during the delivery!

Thank you all for following my baby journey! We are only a week out from delivery, but I will definitely keep you updated on my after baby exercise adventure!

Julianna

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5 Tips for Fighting Pregnancy Fatigue

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During pregnancy, you may start to feel more tired than you’re used to — especially during the first trimester when baby is making major developments, and in the third trimester when you’re carrying extra weight and baby is sitting lower. Depending on the severity of fatigue you’re experiencing, there are a number of natural ways to help combat tiredness and increase your energy to help you feel better!

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1. Drink more water! The good news is, you can help boost your energy and fight pregnancy fatigue! Start by increasing your water intake, since your body needs extra hydration during pregnancy and many people don’t drink enough water; remember if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated!

2. Exercise more often. It may sound surprising, but including 30 minutes of exercise a day can actually help decrease fatigue as exercise will cause the body to release endorphins. Just getting your body moving will help you reap the benefits of exercise. Ten minutes of exercising, a few times a day can be more managable– especially if you have a busy schedule or too tired for a full workout. Along with additional water for pregnancy, you’ll also want to add a glass for every half hour you’re exercising. Another bonus for pregnancy exercise? If you’re struggling to fall asleep or finding your body restless at night, including exercise in your daily routine can help your body relax in the evenings, help you fall asleep faster, and even provide you with a more restful sleep. Try mixing up your routine with a few cardio sessions and a few circuits every week, changing things up keeps your body (and your mind!) challenged. Finish off your day with a few light stretches to rest your body and prepare for sleep.

3. Decrease the sugar. Your diet may also be to blame when if you’re experiencing some excess tiredness. Too many refined sugars and flours, combined with not enough fiber and iron can make your body feel sluggish. Refined sugars may give you a quick boost, but your body will crash fast and feel even more fatigued. Instead try including some citrus fruits for a snack and natural sweeteners like agave nectar.

4. Eat more protein, fiber, and iron. These nutrients will help reduce fatigue symptoms by keeping your body (and belly) feeling full and energized. If you notice you’re fatigued at the same time each day, break up your meals into smaller portions more often. Try to include iron-rich foods; leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and meats, in every meal– as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, since research shows that citrus can help the body absorb iron.

5. Nap. A fifteen minute power nap can be extremely refreshing and well deserved during pregnancy. Your body is working hard so your baby can grow and develop properly, and this can deplete your body of its energy. It’s also common to be uncomfortable during sleep, so the quality of your nightly zzz’s might not be cutting it. When you’re body is tired, you’re more at risk for catching colds, so be sure to take a few minutes at your desk after lunch, or a short nap after work to recharge.

When visiting your doctor, it is extremely important you mention the fatigue you’re experiencing– he or she will probably run some bloodwork to check your thyroid, as well as your iron, which is associated with anemia and quite common in pregnancy. Check that you’re cleared for exercise and discuss your fitness routine with your doctors to ensure all your activities are suitable for you and baby!

Julianna

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Lose the Baby Weight with Erica Ziel

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Whether you’ve just had a baby or it’s been many years, these workouts (10 of them!) are designed to get you feeling great and looking amazing!  From Knocked-Up to Knock Out workouts focus on toning, sculpting, and conditioning your entire body, with an emphasis on strengthening your pelvic floor and deep core muscles.

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With over 2 hours of workouts, you can mix and match your favorites and go from Knocked Up to Knock Out!

Including beginner and intermediate workouts with core exercises that focus on kegels, not crunches. Tone your whole body with workouts that include arm sculpting, functional squats and full-body, Pilates-infused exercises.

Once you are ready, you will be motivated to move onto the intermediate and advanced workouts. Challenge your core while rebuilding your abdominal strength with workouts that include: butt and leg sculpting, plyo exercises, cardio intervals, and advanced full-body, Pilates-infused exercises.

A Bonus Workout Booklet (downloadable printout with digital purchase) includes 18 ways you can mix and match the workouts to form your own custom beginner, intermediate, or advanced workouts plus Erica’s best tips on going from Knocked-up to Knock Out!”

Available in a 2 DVD set & Digital Streaming!

As always, be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program and be sure to sign up for the

Knocked-Up Fitness Newsletter to stay updated!

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Diary of a Fit Mommy: Tips from Sia Cooper

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Hi there! My name is Sia Cooper and I am the owner of Diary of a Fit Mommy; a blog dedicated to prenatal & postnatal diet & fitness. I am currently 35 weeks pregnant and would like to share my workout routine with you.

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Fitness has been the number one aspect of my pregnancy that has kept me sane and feeling my best! I could not have imagined going through my pregnancy without some type of workout plan. I experienced round ligament pains heading into my second trimester and upon entering the third, it was all lower back and sciatic pain from there on. There were times when I had little to no energy left, but I pushed through, set the alarm, put on my workout clothes, and headed to the gym anyway. Was it worth it? Most definitely!
For the most part, my cardio & strength workout routines have not changed very much throughout all 3 of my trimesters. There have only been minor tweaks such as lowering my weights or avoiding certain exercises on my back. No matter what, I always begin with cardio to get me started and warmed up.
I will typically do 30 minutes at a time on the Elliptical machine, the Stair Climber, or the Treadmill when in the gym. Sometimes, this tends to get a little boring! If this is the case, I will change things up and complete sprinting/jogging intervals at my local track to get some fresh air.(Note from Erica: Sprinting/Jogging can be ok during pregnancy for some but be sure your doctor is ok with you engaging in more intense workouts and that it feels good for your body.)I use an iPhone app called MapMyRun to help keep track of how far I run and how long it takes for me to complete every mile! Before pregnancy, I favored CrossFit style exercises; therefore, my cardio consisted of mountain climbers, jumping jacks, plyometric box jumps, and burpees-something that I cannot do at 8 months pregnant so I will likely return to these forms of cardio when building my postpartum fitness plan. For now, the other forms of cardio have been extremely helpful in keeping the weight gain slow & steady and have taken my joint pains away.

My biggest tip for cardio is to listen to your body and to start off slowly. My doctor has personally given me the green light to allow my heart rate to go a little above 140bpm safely. Also, stay hydrated!
After completing 30 minutes of cardio, I head straight to the weight room! My favorite routine for weights consists of a total body workout lasting 45 minutes. I love squatting whether it’s with the free weights or using a Kettlebell because it has helped keep my backside perky and strong during pregnancy. Squats are also key to an easier labor and delivery because it helps strengthen the muscles that assist with pushing. To start off, I will do a simple 3 sets of 10 reps for squatting with free weights at 65lbs. If I am using a Kettlebell to squat, I will use a 25lb bell and do 3 sets of 12 reps. I make sure to rest between 30-45 seconds before completing each set. My lower body (buttocks, hips, thighs) is where I tend to gain most of my weight; therefore, lower body exercises are what I usually tend to focus more on. If you are not a fan of using weights, wall or air squats work just fine! After squats, I will complete my lower body routine with basic lunges and side lunges using the 25lb. Kettlebell with 3 sets of 12 reps.
For my upper body routine, I absolutely love doing tricep dips because they are easy to do and you can do them anywhere. At the gym, I use a weight bench or a plyometric box and at home I will use a sturdy chair as my prop. I will complete 3 sets of 12 reps of this exercise. Also for arms, I will do front lateral raises using a 10lb dumbbell in each hand. For this specific exercise, I only do 3 sets of 10 reps. As for my last arm circuit, I will sit do simple dumbbell curls with the same 10lb dumbbells in each hand. I will do 3 sets of 10 reps for this exercise as well, resting for 30-45 seconds in between each set.
To cool down, I always stretch and do a few yoga poses. My favorites are the cat pose, childs pose, and the downward dog pose. This helps keep my muscles from getting sore and also keeps me flexible. Yoga has treated me very well during pregnancy by easing my lower back and hip pain.
My biggest tips for exercise during pregnancy is to take it slow, drink plenty of water, and listen to your body. Your body will let you know what it can and cannot do. If you exercise throughout your pregnancy, you will not only sleep better, but feel better as well. You will bounce back faster to your pre-pregnancy weight and have a faster recovery from your labor and delivery. Good luck to you all!

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To connect with Sia and keep updated on her story you can find her at:

Diary of a Fit Mommy: www.fitmommydiaries.blogspot.com

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Biggest Loser Google+ Hangout Live Workout with Danni!

How awesome that I had the opportunity to participate in today’s Biggest Loser Google+ Hangout Live Workout with Danni Allen (winner from season 14) – who I also met last summer! Super awesome gal!

Love these exercises for you moms at home that need a quick workout without any equipment and for you pregnant mamas, you can do a majority of the exercises just be sure to modify when needed. Danni did a great job of showing modifications (Thank you Danni!). Check out Biggest Loser on Google+ and watch the video below:

*Be sure your doctor has given you the approval to workout both during pregnancy and after baby*

What are your favorite exercises at home that require no equipment?

Keep up the hard work!

Erica

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After Baby: 3 Exercises to Get Your Abs Back!

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After you’ve had a baby, I know you’re just dying to get your abs back, but before you jump back into doing 100’s of crunches and holding planks forever – be sure you read why you must AVOID crunches right after baby here.

Crunches too soon after baby could actually cause more harm then good, so here are 3 exercises that can help turn your deep core back on, plus the Hip Rolls will feel amazing on your low back! Do all 3 exercises very slow, this will help you focus on reconnection your abdominals and doing the exercises correctly. They may seem simple but if you move to quickly through them you may not feel your deep core engaging and if you progress to more advanced exercises before your middle is ready you risk creating more separation.

So what are you waiting for!? Do these 3 exercises; 3 to 5 sets everyday if you like – it’s a great way to remind your abs to fire all day long!

 ===>Now Available: After Baby Digital & DVD Workouts

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Hip Rolls: 10 reps

1. Lye flat on your back, knees bent, and feet hip-width apart.
2. Slowly articulate, one vertebrae at a time as your roll your hips up. Pause at the top then slowly articulate rolling your back down. Think ribcage first.

Tips:
· Do a kegel
· Scoop your lower belly in and up
· Squeeze your butt and add 10 pulses at the top for some extra booty lifting!

 

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Single Leg Drops: 10 reps then switch legs

1. Lye flat on your back, start with knees bent and one foot flat on the floor (to give your back more support if needed) then progress to table top legs as shown.
2. Inhale as you slowly lower your right leg down as low as you can maintain your abdominal connection.
3. Exhale to pull your right leg back to table top.

Tips:
· Do a kegel
· Scoop your lower belly in and up, especially as you lower your leg.
· Relax your shoulders
· Draw your ribcage down and together – this will help you activate your upper abs too!

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Roll Backs: 10 reps

1. Sitting tall, knees bent and feet flat out in front of you.
2. Exhale as you draw your ribcage down, tuck your pelvis and scoop your belly in as you roll back slightly. Only roll as far back as you can connect your abs.
3. Inhale as you sit back up tall, stacking your spine and using your abdominals to help you get there!

Sign up for the Knocked-Up Fitness Newsletter to receive your FREE Booty Sculpting Workout!

Practicing these key abdominal movements will engage your core, help you avoid abdominal muscle complications like diastasis recti, and help you to safely tone and tighten your tummy after baby! Be sure to check out the Knocked-Up Fitness Digital Programs for more prenatal and postpartum exercises, workouts and tips!

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Fabletics Your First Outfit $25 + FREE Shipping!

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Making exercise a part of your routine is what Knocked-Up Fitness is all about — and I think it is super important to have workout outfits that are cute and comfortable, to get you excited to put them on and get sweating! I’m very excited to be a part of the Fabletics Masters Program too!

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Fabletics offers a complete line of soft, comfortable exercise gear for a variety of activities.  You can complete their quick customer profile, where you choose what you like to wear, how you like to wear it, and the type of exercises you need your active wear to be suitable for — then choose from a variety of outfit options tailored just for you! The best part is Fabletics gear is super affordable and great quality, which is especially important for your changing pregnancy body! Plus, its great after baby when you’re working hard to return to your pre-baby body (or even better).

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Visit the Fabletics Website to take advantage of getting your first outfit for only $25 + FREE SHIPPING!!!

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