So, your bundle of joy has arrived and you have successfully been able to get into a routine with your baby. Most new mothers, at this time, begin to get enthusiastic about getting back to their pre-pregnancy weight. This period of breast feeding is not the best time to start any diet program, however, with your doctors agreement, it may be a great time to start getting back into some more physical activity.
Goal setting of about one pound a week weight loss is very reasonable and will keep you and your baby healthy and happy. Adding some aerobic activity into your schedule will be helpful. You can choose from swimming, brisk walking or finding a mom and baby fitness class in your area. It is important to work large muscle groups first since they use up more energy and thus accelerate weight loss. To maximize your time, be sure to workout at 60 - 80 % of your maximum heart rate. (Maximum heart rate can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220).
If you are a beginner exerciser, start off with 30 minutes per exercise session and aim for three sessions a week. If you are more experienced, you may want to start of moderately, 30 - 50 minutes, three sessions a week. If you are an advanced exerciser, be sure not to push yourself too hard from the beginning. Gradually work up to the intensity that you are used to. Remember that every individual and every pregnancy is different and you will need to listen to your body to notice if you can do more or should be doing less.
Weight loss should, however, become easier once your little one has been weaned off of breast milk. Ladies that endure a C-section during birth would need to take weight loss a little slower that ladies who sought a vaginal birth. Be sure that your incision has healed completely and get the approval of your doctor before starting any fitness and weight loss program.
We have already established, in previous posts, that exercise is important during pregnancy, but it is also important to have a goal when venturing into an exercise program during pregnancy. Each pregnant individual will undoubtedly be starting on a different level of fitness.
Pregnant exercisers should be aware of the following:
Beginners (your goals should be):
- a healthy amount of weight gain
- a raise and/or optimization of energy
- a positive body image
- boost muscular strength and longevity for during pregnancy, delivery and birth
NOTE: For absolute beginners, it is recommended that you wait until the second trimester before you start an exercise program due to the learning curve, the risk of injury and uncertainty.
Non-competitive athletes or Regular exercisers (your goals should be):
- a healthy amount of weight gain
- physical preparation for labor
- improving or maintaining fitness during pregnancy
- feel good about yourself and your growing body
Competitive or Elite athletes (your goals should be):
- having a healthy pregnancy
- maintaining fitness and sport specific skills
- avoiding strenuous exercises
- avoiding risky behavior that were part of previous exercise schedule
Please note that, again, everyone is different and each pregnancy is different. You may fall into different categories as well, depending on complications or other factors. however, safety should always be the number one determinant.
So you're pregnant, you're feeling tired, grumpy and uncomfortable. The last thing you want to think about is working out. I'm sorry to tell you this but..... you need to. The majority of women think that it is not necessary and a burden to exercise during pregnancy but the fact is there are a number of benefits acquired from a routine exercise program.
www.babies.sutterhealth.org has provided a list of benefits that you should keep in mind and be aware of:
Benefits of exercise during pregnancy