Let’s look at exactly how you can bounce back into shape after delivering your baby. Most mothers-to-be are conscious about what they are eating and how much physically they exert themselves while expecting. However, it is essential to continue caring for your body and mind, even after delivering your baby. Your body will recover with time, but you can speed up the process by adopting a healthier lifestyle with the proper diet and appropriate exercises.
Of course, the journey is unique for every mother, and some mothers may be able to bounce back quicker than others. But no matter what your journey is like, it is vital to stay motivated and the following tips will surely provide you with a dose of positivity.
Body Changes During Pregnancy
Firstly, let’s look at how your body (physically and otherwise) may change during pregnancy. It is important to note that not everyone will experience all of these symptoms, while some women may experience the majority of them. The most common changes that can be observed are:
- Faster breathing and heartbeat rate
- Breasts become fuller, heavy, and sensitive
- Nausea and exhaustion
- Discomfort and annoyance
- Swelling in hands and feet
- Weight gain
- Sense of smell and taste may alter
You can learn more in detail about the changes during each pregnancy stage at: Pregnancy Changes and Stages
Normal Delivery vs. C-Section
How your body heals and gets back into shape also depends on whether you have a c-section or give normal birth. You mustn’t pressure yourself into getting fit instantly. Instead, take plenty of rest after giving birth and take baby steps towards fitness.
Focusing on a healthy dietary intake is required to help boost your immunity and stabilise hormones and other levels, such as iron. Do not start diets or exercises that can exhaust you, as this will indeed have repercussions for you and your baby, especially if you are breastfeeding.
Prenatal vitamins are recommended by doctors to have a healthy baby and to maintain your health during pregnancy. However, consuming the required vitamins after giving birth is equally important to eliminate deficiencies. Consulting your doctor and running some tests can help you understand what vitamins your body needs at the moment. These are some of the most recommended vitamins to restore your well-being and good health after delivery:
- Iron to help make up for the iron lost during delivery
- Vitamin B12 boosts the red blood cell production process and enhances energy levels
- DHA enhances focus and brain activity
- Vitamin D decreases the chance of postpartum depression and anxiety. It also boosts your immune system and supports the nervous system.
Having Realistic Expectations About Weight Loss After Delivery
A study, suggested that 75 percent of women weighed more a year after childbirth in comparison with before. Out of these 75 percent of women, 47 percent of women weighed at least 10 pounds more after one year, and 25 percent had put on 20 more pounds. Hence, it is natural for your body to take time to get back into shape.
Comparing yourself with celebrities or other mothers who may have lost weight quicker would not do you much good. Although sometimes it can motivate you to kickstart your journey toward fitness, most of the time, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy and depression. Instead, it is necessary to be consistent during the process and keep a positive frame of mind.
Breastfeeding To Burn Calories
Breastfeeding your baby is not only good for you and your child but also for the environment as it does not contribute to pollution or wastage of limited resources. According to the CDC, it is recommended to breastfeed your baby exclusively for at least the first six months. Producing milk and breastfeeding are also said to help burn calories and result in healthier children. Research indicates that breastfeeding mothers have a less difficult time losing weight compared to those that are not breastfeeding.
Taking Care of Your Diet After Delivery
As discussed earlier, the first step towards being healthy and getting into shape in any scenario is by taking care of your diet. Let’s explore some do’s and don’t when it comes to diet after pregnancy.
What To Eat And Drink
Some food and drinks recommended for moms after delivery are:
- Salmon, as it’s loaded with DHA, which is vital for the development of your baby’s nervous system
- Foods enriched with iron, like lean beef, beetroots, and spinach
- Iron-rich beans, like kidney beans and black beans
- Organic Eggs
- Leafy green enriched with Vitamin A
- Fresh fruits like bananas, mangos, apricots
Which Foods To Avoid
There are some foods and drinks that you should avoid consuming, especially if you are breastfeeding, as they can impact the milk. They include:
- Caffeinated drinks, like coffee and energy drinks
- Gassy and oily food
Exercises To Include After Delivery
The following are a few exercises you can do without overburdening yourself. However, it is necessary to consult with your OB/GYN before starting any form of exercise.
After delivery, your body needs ample time to rest and recover. Walking is the most straightforward exercise you can do without overexerting or burdening yourself. You can start with a few steps and increase them as your stamina and strength builds up over the weeks.
Kegels exercises are essential for women, especially after delivery, since they strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. You can do them while lying in bed, too, whenever you feel like working out. They will help you lose the extra weight and also assist if you have urinary incontinence after normal delivery, which is quite common.
Yoga won’t only help you be more active and lose weight after delivery, in fact, it will also help uplift your mood and boost your mental health. It is, in particular, recommended for women who have a C-section delivery because it helps slim the waist and cut down abdominal fat.
Your core may become weak and stretched during pregnancy. Thus, it is necessary to strengthen your core after delivery. Core strengthening exercises are also simple to perform, as you can do them even when you’re lying in bed or on the couch. They help build and re-strengthen your muscles which include your uterus and bladder while reducing stubborn belly fat.
To stay fit, it is recommended to perform mild cardio for at least 150 minutes a week after delivery. You can spread this time throughout the week, depending on your comfort and energy levels. There is no need for equipment or to hurry to the gym. There are plenty of easy-to-follow cardio workout routines at home that you can look up on Youtube.