The body changes after a baby, said Dr. Beth Bossart of PSSM Wellness. The time to think about post-baby fitness is before delivery.
“Mothers can start to think about getting back into shape before their baby is even born. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy is extremely important both for mother and baby, and that does include exercise,” said Bossart.
Though she is quick to say anybody considering a fitness routine during pregnancy needs to clear it with an OBGYN, which is also true for women who need a C-Section or episiotomy. She said general guidelines for getting back into shape post-partum is to begin six weeks after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery.
Some of the workouts she recommends are light to moderate cardio, especially low impact workouts like walking, biking and elliptical. She said this should be done at moderate intensity which means, “You should be able to talk but unable to sing.”
She said the sweet spot is about 150 minutes per week, with incremental advancement to higher impact activities such as running.
Another consideration of bouncing back after baby is core strength. Bossart said Pilates and yoga are great for re-building core strength but jumping right back into a class might be difficult. She recommends starting at home or in the gym first to build confidence and skills.
“Finding activities that you like to do will help you maintain your program,” said Bossart. “And since that baby is brand new, you’re definitely going to want to spend more one on one time with them.”
One of her fitness recommendations to building strength and bonds with baby are mommy and me workouts. They can be done at the gym or through online programs. She said the important part of the routine is to work to your comfort level. For example, she prefers walking and hiking and said she would rather be out with a jogging stroller.
She said working moms will want to find a time which they are able to stick to most of the time. And each day can have a different activity, but scheduled ahead of time. Bossart said that anybody starting a new fitness routine should try to stick to it for at least a few weeks, so it will be easier to maintain.
One important consideration of new mommy-hood as that moms need to take care of themselves, according to Bossart. “The first few months staying at home with your little one are fantastic, however, you are constantly caring for someone else and you need to continue to care for yourself. Between the diaper changes and late night feedings you’ll need lots of energy and “me” time and working out can help you with both.”