Tips to Getting Back in Shape After Baby

getting back into shape after baby

Congratulations on the new addition to your family! So now what? Whether you are chomping at the bit to get right back into your pre-baby exercise routine or you are just aching to catch some zzz’s any chance you get, here is WHY exercise is so important for you at this time: Most women will start exercise programs with the main goal of regaining their pre-pregnancy body or at least hope to lose the “baby fat”. While this is a great reason and motivator lets not forget that regular exercise is just as important for boosting energy levels, mental acuity and fighting depression (as in the often overlooked, postpartum depression)– ALL three of which may be more important than purely wanting to fit back into your jeans. A bone-tired mommy is an unhappy mommy and can lead to other issues. Let’s not forget the importance of “mommy- time”. Just 30 minutes to an hour for yourself can help break up a day, recharge your batteries and help you get through the rest of your day. Sometimes, we just need a timeout ourselves.

BEFORE you start: You must get medical clearance to exercise from your care provider. Do not start any exercise programs if you are still bleeding, experiencing any pain, or in the case of a C-section, have not healed from the incision. Also, have your doctor check you for diastasus recti – a very common and often overlooked occurrence during pregnancy where the abdominal muscles running lengthwise down the front are so stretched during pregnancy that they separate from the fasciae that holds them in place. If you do have this it is usually easy to repair with the right kind of modified abdominal exercises and aids. Jumping into core strengthening exercises can make this worse and severe cases may require surgery.shutterstock_68796427

Realistic EXPECTATIONS: It’s so important to manage your goals and expectations in these early months. Your time is really not your own so you have to learn to “roll with it”. You may be too exhausted, the schedule you thought you had baby on no longer works with the class you want tot take, baby is sick or fussy… Nothing is more disappointing or uninspiring than having thought-out, intricate plans, ruined. Have plan A through Z and cut yourself slack if you miss a day (or three). It will come and you will get there if you are consistent and persistent.

KNOW Your Motivations: When deciding how you are going to get back in shape, I cannot emphasize enough to choose something that you enjoy. Let’s be honest, you are going to have many barriers coming your way so if you’ve signed up for crossfit classes at 5am but you hate lifting weights AND getting up early, chances are you won’t be very motivated to go. Similarly if your plan is to work out in your home while baby naps but you KNOW that you need external motivation in the form of an exercise class, a great instructor or personal trainer or just other friends to keep you committed and accountable, again, chances are those brand new weights you bought will just gather dust.shutterstock_137461535

Do Your RESEARCH: It may seem like one more thing to add to a long list of “to-do’s” but understanding all your exercise options up front may actually make it easier for you to commit and continue a fitness routine which will get you back in shape faster. Allow yourself enough time to heal and get to know your baby. If you want to get out of the house, there are many options from mommy and me yoga classes, stroller classes and more. These certified post-natal instructors know about the special needs and concerns of post- natal women and exercise modifications required. They should even know how to re-train the abs properly after pregnancy and with diastasis recti. The workouts are also geared to post-natal bodies which are undergoing significant changes due to hormones (i.e. loose joints). Classes are a wonderful way to meet other new moms and develop a new support network and friendships. The issue with classes are the set times and places and the possibility of an uncooperative baby. If you feel a class is not going to work, consider hiring a personal trainer, certified in Post-natal exercise. You will get individualized training and care specific to your needs. Better yet, get a trainer who can come TO YOU. No need to leave home and hopefully baby is asleep while you train. I, personally have held, rocked, pushed in a stroller many a babe while training mums. The last type of option is to train at home alone. With a small investment you can get the equipment needed (light weights or bands, a mat and some post-natal exercise DVDs). This is the most flexible because you can do this whenever you have a block of free time. It’s the least expensive option as well but does require strict self-motivation. My one caveat is that you specifically use POST- NATAL DVDs, which will provide info and instruction on postnatal exercise along with proper modification of exercises.


  1. Drink lots of wateravoid sugary drinks but drink even more water than usual, especially if you’re nursing.
  2. Avoid Sugars As tempting as it may be, this is really the time to watch your sugar intake from actual treats to sugary drinks (soda, juice, alcohol) to simple carbs (white breads, pastas, crackers etc). Focus on veg, fruit and lean proteins.
  3. Just Move In the very least, just get up and move. Take your baby on walks around the neighborhood. Too cold? Walk around a mall. Don’t want to leave your house? Dance in your home – just move your body.
  4. SleepLet’s face it – you are going to be exhausted and exercising will help you have more energy but sometimes you may just have to forego the workout and get a little extra rest and that is OK
  5. Avoid High Impact – the hormone Relaxin is released in the last few months of pregnancy which causes ALL your joints to loosen (this helps with childbirth). But that hormone is still circulating in your blood after birth so new moms are at risk of rolling an ankle, or hurting a knee or hip if you literally jump back into high impact movements.
  6. Proper Gear– Your body has undergone significant changes and will continue as you progress in your fitness routine. Make sure you have good supportive shoes (many women notice their feet are bigger after pregnancy and you may need extra support for the joints in your feet). Speaking of support, you will need a great sports bra and you may need to change the type/size often depending on factors such as nursing and weight loss.
  7. Be Kind to Yourselfremember that you have been growing and nurturing your baby in your body for the better part of a year. Your bod has undergone SIGNIFICANT changes followed by the trauma of childbirth. Even if you could get good rest and had as much free time as you needed, your body will still need time to change back.


Don’t Miss More Stories About Parenthood: 
Tips for Saving Money When Having a Baby
When is the Best Time to Have a Baby?
Do Parenting Styles Matter?

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Author: tammyjuco

Motivating and assisting you and your family to a healthier and happier lifestyle.


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