Postpartum Weight Loss Part 2 – Exercise


Postpartum Weight Loss Part 2 by Your Kirkland Personal Trainer

Exercise is part 2 of my postpartum weight loss guidelines. When combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise can take your weight loss attempts to the next level.

As with your diet, because many of the physiologic and morphologic changes of pregnancy persist for 4 to 6 weeks postpartum, it’s important to ease back in to a new exercise routine. Exercising at a high intensity right away can be hard for the body to handle so soon after pregnancy.

In general, returning to normal exercises (swimming, biking, weight lifting, etc) is ok, but keep the intensity low to moderate. For example if you were a long distance runner just before you became pregnant then start off by running half the distance at half the intensity, or even better, mix in bouts of walking throughout your run to give your body a rest. You may also want to join a boot camp with other new moms to help keep you motivated and meet new people.

Also, be careful with certain exercises- specifically abdominal work (i.e. crunches). This is important because sometimes during pregnancy the two halves of the rectus abdominis (your six pack) in the middle of your belly can separate. This separation is called diastatis. Not all women will have diastasis after giving birth, but it is worth checking for and being aware of. If you do have it, take care to not exacerbate the separation when you do abdominal exercises because it can take several weeks to several months to heal.

Some exercises you can do to help decrease and eliminate diastasis include:

  • Pelvic tilt – lay on your back with your feet on the ground and knees up. Squeeze your glutes and slightly lift your pelvis slowly off the ground. Slowly lower and repeat. Exhale on the lift and inhale while lowering.
  • Abdominal contractions with a splint – the splint (a towel or your arms) helps keep pressure on the abs so they don’t spread further. The following video from Moms Into Fitness will show you how to do this exercise properly.

Moms Into Fitness also explains what diastasis is and how to check for it in more detail here. Also, make sure to consult with your doctor to determine the severity of your diastasis and his/her recommended exercises and intensity.

Without a doubt, you can have your pre-pregnancy body back (or better) but it’s important to be safe and understand what you’re doing. Make sure to talk to your doctor, do some research, and find a personal trainer that is knowledgeable enough to help you achieve your goal safely.

Next up…making time for yourself

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