Nutrition & Fitness After Childbirth
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Healthy Ways to Get Back in Shape After Baby.
If you’ve got extra weight to lose after giving birth (and most new moms do), be sure to do it in a safe, healthy way.
Nutrition & Losing Weight
Forget about any celebrity new moms who seem to shed their weight overnight — they’re probably not doing it in the healthiest way. It could take you six months to a year to safely be back in your pre-baby clothes. Aim to lose no more than about a pound a week. To lose more than that may leave you exhausted and can affect your milk supply if you’re breastfeeding. See our nutrition for nursing moms page for more helpful tips, and check out our exercise classes especially for new moms.
As you probably know, most people are at their best with a diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein and dairy. Eat fewer processed foods, and limit salt, sugar, and trans fats. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins until you can ask your doctor or midwife about it at your new mom checkup.
Moms who had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery can begin exercising again within days of giving birth, provided you feel up to it. A new mom who had a C-section will need to wait several weeks until your incision has healed, although light walking can help with healing. All new moms should take it easy at first, especially if you were not active during your pregnancy. Let your body fully recover from having a baby before you exercise with intensity.
It’s fine for breastfeeding moms to exercise. Be sure to wear a supportive bra and drink plenty of water. You might be more comfortable if you exercise just after feeding your baby.
Your pelvic joints may feel looser for several months after giving birth, so avoid any exercises that strain them (like lunges). What’s more, your abdominal wall may have separated during pregnancy. This means you’ll need to wait until that gap has closed more before you do any abdominal exercise. Ask your doctor or midwife at your new mom checkup. She can check to see how big the separation is and give you advice on which exercises would be best for you.
If you’re too active in the weeks following delivery, your lochia may turn redder or have a heavier flow. This is a sign to slow down. And if exercise leaves you exhausted instead of energized, you’re overdoing it. If you feel pain or have any bleeding after exercise, call your provider.