Now that you're no longer pregnant, you're geared up to lose the weight and get back into your pre-pregnancy clothes. You may already be feeling pretty good if you've lost a large chunk of your baby weight. Most women lose more than half of their pregnancy weight during the first month, but have a harder time losing the rest, according to Columbia Health. The best exercise to help you lose your baby weight includes a combination of pelvic floor and abdominal exercises, as well as aerobic workouts. Talk to your doctor first before starting any exercise program.
In order to lose weight you need to burn calories with aerobic exercise. Pregnancy and childbirth put a lot of stress on your body, so start out slow, and aim for a goal of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity three to six days a week. If you're breast feeding, you want to keep your exertion at a low to moderate intensity to prevent the build up of lactic acid in your breast milk. Walking is a good choice for new moms because it doesn't require any special equipment and gets you out of the house, which is good for both you and your little one.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
During pregnancy the muscles that support your uterus, bladder and bowels stretch. These are known as the pelvic floor muscles, and are the muscles that stop urine flow. Pelvic floor exercises help strengthen these muscles and prevent stress incontinence, which is when you can't control the flow of urine from your bladder. Unlike other postpartum exercises, you can start pelvic floor exercises almost immediately after birth. To exercise them, lie on your back, find the muscles and hold, then relax. Repeat 10 times. Aim for six sets six times a day. This exercise, commonly known as the Kegel, also helps strengthen your core muscles.
To rev up the fat loss you want to build muscle. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn. Try to include strength-training exercises two to three days each week. You don't need a lot of time, just 20 to 30 minutes. You can start with body resistance exercises such as squats, lunges, pull-ups and push-ups. Add free weights or resistance bands to vary your work out.
Of course, as a new mom you want your belly back. In addition to tightening and strengthening your abs, abdominal exercises also help improve posture and stabilize your core to reduce injury. The classic sit-up is a good way to firm your belly. To perform, lie on your back with your arms crossed over your chest and knees bent. Raise your upper body and touch your elbows to your thighs. Aim for 20 repetitions. Other ab exercises include modified sit-ups, leg slides and head and shoulder raises. To tone and tighten quickly, work out your abs every other day.
Do not do sit-ups or ab exercises that work out your obliques or rectus abdominis before first talking to your doctor, especially if you experienced diastasis recti, which is the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles that occurs during the third trimester. Performing these exercises too soon can prevent proper healing of your muscles.
- Columbia Health: Go Ask Alice: Getting Back to My Pre-Pregnancy Weight
- American Council on Exercise: Postpartum Health
- Weightlossresources.co.uk: How to Lose The Baby Weight - The Healthy Way
- La Leche League International: Postpartum Fitness...And Beyond
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- Military.com: The Proper Technique for Curl-Ups
- Sharecare: What Exercises Help Eliminate Diastasis Recti
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images