When it comes to giving birth, many women find themselves a little nervous about how things will go after the delivery, during the postpartum recovery period. If you were active and working out regularly prior to becoming pregnant and throughout your pregnancy, the idea of not working out for an indefinite amount of time may come as a bit of a worry to you.
One of the most popular questions that I get is "When will I be able to start working out again?"
Unfortunately, this question is a case by case basis since no two women-nor two pregnancies-are alike. Some women can resume light activity such as walking within the first two weeks while otheres, especially those who have had C-Sections or are expriencing Diastasis Recti, should wait at least 6-8 weeks or longer.
First and foremost, always check in with your doctor-he or she has the ultimate say-so when it comes to your recovery and when you should be back in the gym.
Here is a postpartum exercise timeline to help encourage you along the way of what to expect:
Month One: You are in total recovery period during this first month-no matter your circumstances. Your primary focus should be to take care of yourself and enjoy your new bundle of love! Bask in the experiences and don't fret about your weight at this point. Chances are, you have already lost 8-12 pounds upon leaving the hospital, if not more. The time will come for exercise, but for right now, cherish every minute. Don't forget to eat! I know, it is easier said than done. Have your husband, friend, or family member help out with the chores around the house or grocery shopping errands. Actually, don't care about how your house looks at this point. You need to REST! As you can see, I did not touch my house for the first few weeks!
Month Two: By your second postpartum month, you should have already had your 6 week postpartum visit in which your doctor would have told you whether or not you were cleared to resume work, exercise, and sexual activity. You are still in recovery mode so if you are allowed to resume your exercises, start slow. You don't have a race to win-just go at your own comfortable pace. Focus on eating clean and take stroller walks after dinner time with your husband and baby. If you haven't, start working on your Kegel muscles now, if the doctor approves.
Month Three: You are finally starting to get back into somewhat of a routine by now. You might even find yourself sleeping a little more! Hooray! As your getting back into the groove of things, you will find yourself more confident with your role as a new mother. Your body should also be feeling a world's difference by the third month. You will also find yourself out and about more often than you were for the last two months. By now, your hormones are also returning to their pre-pregnancy state. If you aren't ready to go back into full lifting and running mode, try a few yoga moves (with your doc's approval) to help strengthen your core muscles back up from 9 months of being static.
Month Six: By this month, your back in action with most things. Your baby is on schedule, for the most part, and you may have even gone on your first date night alone with your husband, by now (we hope!). You can typically begin taking your baby jogging in a jogging stroller by 6 months of age, according to most pediatricians-always ask yours first, though! Always read the safety guidelines on the stroller manual and have a blast together. You may even be able to incorporate your baby into your workouts by using a baby carrier, sling, or harness. This way, you can get your workout in while baby gets attention, too.
Month Nine: By the ninth month, your baby might be busily crawling away. This results in a lot of work for you-not to mention all of the constant running around that's keeping you busy. You are probably feeling great by this point (we hope!), enjoying motherhood, and are happy with how things have been going during your postpartum recovery.
Month Twelve: Happy birthday to your little tot! By the twelvth month, your baby might be walking. Include him or her in your walks and be sure to take them to the playground or local park to explore. Run around with them and enjoy! Before you know it, you will be burning tons and tons of calories.
No matter your situation or case, we hope you enjoy your first year as a new mommy!