How Can Get Back Into Shape After The Baby Arrives.
After delivery of nine months of growing larger and enduring the assortment of complex changes experienced by your body, you are probably looking forward to getting back into some semblance of ‘shape’. Much to your surprise, your body refuses, to cooperate. The baby is delivered, so why aren’t things back to ‘normal’, you lament after just a few sit-ups to flatten your tummy, twists to whittle your waist and some calorie-counting (although you’ve been told repeatedly to continue to ‘eat for two’ by the elders!) and feeling wretched as a result.
Many women seem to be in a tearing hurry to get back into their skinniest jeans influenced perhaps by the media hype about J.Lo looking fabulous two weeks after having twins. We forget sometimes that not everyone can indulge in a fleet of personal trainers, nutritionists, baby sitters and so forth to make ‘getting into shape’ the prime priority in life.
Truth be sat, it is not the easiest task for a new mom to contemplate her figure. On the one hand she has to suffer sleepless nights, endless feeding routines, be a responsible mother, eat sensibly to feed her baby, be loving and compassionate and all of those things that are apparently ‘naturally maternal’. On the other, she needs to get into shape and reclaim her identity which now seems to be somehow entwined with the little wailing imp who is taking over her life.
If you were able to maintain activity levels during pregnancy, you will find it far easier to return to normal levels of weight and exercise compared to women who, for whatever reason, had to reduce or stop exercising altogether.
You have probably gained about 15-20 pounds during the nine months of your pregnancy (sometimes more, especially among the urban women). This weight gain is partly the weight of the growing uterus, the baby, surrounding liquid and placenta. The remaining fat accumulation, which is predominantly over the hips, thighs and breasts, was evolutionarily required as a store of energy for the nutrition’s of the baby after delivery.
More and more women are having babies in their late 30s and 40s. Reclaiming your figure at this stage is even harder with the slowing metabolism, but not impossible. The key is moderation and a realistic approach to fat loss, strength and muscle gain over a period of 6-12 months.
How much do you need to eat after the delivery?
Eating for two is not entirely what it is made out to be. A breast feeding mother needs to increase her calorie intake (from the regular calorie intake required for her height and weight) by only 500 cals/day to compensate for breast feeding. This would amount to an apple, an extra cup of skimmed milk and a fistful of roasted nuts a day. Do you really need to exercise?
You are also probably dealing with an onslaught of well meaning, and sometimes unsolicited, advice regarding exercise post delivery. It is commonly believed that the weight gained in pregnancy will disappear of its own accord with no effort on your part. This is not essentially true. It has taken you nine months to gain all that fat and will probably take you another six to lose it provided you endeavor to. Losing weight may be the prime objective, but the strengthening parts of your body that have been subjected to undue stress with the growing pregnancy – like the back and abdominal wall for instance – will go a long way to a fitter you. It will also address to a great extend, the back ache, neck and shoulder pain you develop following delivery and the posture assumed during breast feeding and carrying the baby. Fitness and exercise Concerns
There have been some concerns about exercise producing lactic acid build-up and affecting breast feeding. Very-strenuous exercise can result in an accumulation of lactic acid in the working muscles. Moderate physical activity will not lead to lactic acid build-up. This, however, has not been found to deteriorate the quality of breast milk. However, a breast feeding mom should wait at least half an hour following a vigorous exercise routine before feeding her baby. Watch out for bleeding.
If you experience heavy bleeding or an increase over your normal bleeding while exercising, stop and consult your physician. Rest is an important component of fitness. Trying to exercise when totally sleep deprived is not advisable, your body will not respond and may in fact be more prone to injury.
Before starting abdominal exercises do a ‘rec check’ to see if you have developed what is called ‘Divarication of the Rectus Muscle’, which happens during pregnancy when the rectus is over-stretched and separated. Your Obgyn can ascertain if you have this condition. If you have only a slight separation, using an abdominal belt, and performing the exercises with utmost caution and perfect form will actually aid in bringing these muscles together. A larger divarication which associated herniation of the bowel will, however, need to be addressed by a professional.