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How to Get in Shape After Baby!

How to Get in Shape After Baby!
I am currently in the third trimester of my pregnancy, and am getting to the point where it takes some serious motivation to be active. Before being pregnant I worked out six days a week, sometimes twice a day (I know, I have a weird obsession. Call me crazy, it's fine!) so I have been very anxious to get back on the boat. I have a Bachelor's degree in Exercise and Wellness from Brigham Young University, and have also done a fair amount of research on what you should and should not do in terms of exercising after baby comes! Today I am going to share with you a few important tips on becoming active after baby, and some good exercises that will slowly work you back into your former state of activity!

1. Consult your Doctor:

No two pregnancies or deliveries are the exact same. Before you start any sort of exercise regimen after giving birth you should always consult with your doctor. No, not your friend or your sister. Your doctor guided you through your pregnancy and delivery, so they are the first person you should consult before you jump into any sort of activity at all! They are the ones that best understand your medical records. If they tell you to wait a full six weeks, you should definitely listen to them (even if you just really want to ignore that piece of their advice!) You would rather wait six weeks then set yourself back and have to ultimately wait even longer, right?!

2. Listen to Your Body:

When you do start being active again, ease into it. Your body has been healing from a rather significant experience, no matter what type of birth you ended up having! Even if you were extremely active before and during your pregnancy, your body is going to take a decent amount of time to be ready for all of that again. Practice that parental patience of yours and don't hit the weights or the treadmills too much too soon! Now, let's talk about exercises! It is extremely important to be mindful of your core as you become active again. Your abdominal muscles have just been on a 40 week stretching journey, and surely need some TLC and guidance back to their original 'home' in your abdomen. So, although some of these exercises may seem like child's play they will truly do you a lot of good!

1. Walking:

I know what you are thinking, "Duh, of course walking." But seriously, walking has so many amazing benefits (I could get nerdy and tell you all of the statistics about walking benefits from research articles, but I will spare you!) It gets your blood circulating, and it is so easy to add variation to. When paired with a balanced diet walking just 30 minutes a day, five days a week is enough to kick start and maintain healthy weight loss right after your pregnancy and beyond!

Happy Baby Wrap

I also love walking because it is easy to do with that brand new baby! Since I have the option of strapping my babe in my City Select stroller , or wrapping her up close to me with my Happy Baby Wrap I don't really have an excuse to not go walking, right? Being active is always easier when excuses can be eliminated. *Don't have a stroller or a baby carrier? You're in luck! Come visit us at our Utah Store or online at babycubby.com and we can fix that problem really really quickly. If you don't love baby wraps we have Ergobaby Carriers! Annnnd, if the City Select isn't your cup of tea we have strollers for every situation!

2. Deep Belly Breathing and Abdominal Contraction:

This exercise is one of those that you might think it is stupid, but it's not! It is so easy you can do it an hour after giving birth. It helps relax muscles, and it starts the process of re-strengthening and toning your abs and belly. You want those ab muscles to be best friends again, so get them moving back together! This is a very tedious process and must be done with care so that the Linea Alba (the tissue between your spread out muscles) contracts and pulls your muscles all the way back to where they should be.

Abdominal Muscle Separation During Pregnancy

How It’s Done: Sit upright and breathe deeply, drawing air from the diaphragm upward. Contract and hold your abs tight while inhaling and relax while exhaling. Gradually increase the amount of time you can contract and hold your abs.

3. Pelvic Tilt or Glute Bridge:

This move specifically targets your entire core. It does a lot of good while still being kind enough to your tired-from-pregnancy-and-birth body in those first few months of activity.

How It's Done: Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly. Your body will now be in a full bridge position. Hold for up to 10 seconds. Repeat five times and work up to 10 to 20 repetitions. Really focus on squeezing your abdominal and buttocks muscles! (Yes, I just said buttocks.)

4. Kegel Exercises:

Yes, yes I know. The ever awkward sounding kegel exercise. Let's just embrace the fact that it helps us ladies and move past whatever weird feelings we have about it, because they really help you!! They help to tighten up everything that was stretched to it's limits during your last weeks of pregnancy and delivery. The more kegels you do, and the longer you hold them, the better control you will have over those leaks caused by sneezing, laughing, or picking up your baby. How It's Done: Sit with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hands on hips. Contract your pelvic muscles, as if you're trying to stop from urinating, and stand up. Hold the kegel and return to sitting, then release. Do 1-3 sets of 10-20 reps. Make it harder: Stand a foot in front of a bench/couch seat and bend elbows to clasp hands in front of chest (This just helps you stabilize yourself.) Lift one leg straight in front of you a few inches off ground and bend the other knee to sit down briefly as you hold a kegel. Keeping left leg raised throughout, stand up immediately, releasing kegel and pressing through right heel to straighten right leg. Do 12 reps. Switch legs, repeat. (This is also a scaled down pistol squat, which will give you a good little burn in your booty and legs! BONUS.) Obviously these exercises won't make up your full blown "lose all the baby weight" workout routine, but they are wonderful for your post-baby body as you work back into a routine!  

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