Postpartum Workout Basics

Postpartum Workout Basics | Baby Chick

Postpartum Workout Basics

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from postpartum moms is about how and when to start their postpartum workouts. There is a TON of conflicting information out there about postpartum workouts, so it’s important to understand the basics.

Postpartum Workout Basics: Retrain Your Core

A lot happens to your body when you become pregnant. Things move, stretch and expand to make room for that precious little bundle of joy. SO MANY “experts” in the fitness industry are so concerned with making money that they ignore the fact that moms–especially pregnant or newly postpartum moms–need more than a “hardcore” boot camp to “get their bodies back.”

In fact, much of this “hardcore” training actually does MORE harm than good for many moms.
If you want to lose baby weight, proper postpartum training is a must! But before you can make the most of your “fat loss” or “how to lose baby weight” training, you must take time to heal and rebuild.

Specifically, I’m thinking about regaining strength, correcting any pelvic floor issues, and addressing abdominal separation. The most overlooked issue is that of diastasis recti. Some degree of abdominal separation will always occur during pregnancy. This is because everyone’s core muscles have to expand to give room for the baby to grow! In many cases the separation will not be severe and if you take proper precautions it will heal naturally post birth with no medical intervention.

However, in about 60% of pregnancies the abdominal separation will be wider than 2 – 2.5 finger widths apart and you will be considered to have diastasis recti during your pregnancy.

READ MORE
8 Ways to Have a Healthier Pregnancy & Postpartum with DEFINE

The good news is that in most cases, diastasis recti in pregnancy will heal naturally post birth IF you take the right steps and do the correct exercises to retrain your core!

The bad news is that many trainers aren’t aware of the correct exercises and don’t teach the diastasis recti moms the work with the importance of these right steps.

When I had my first son, I had NO idea how to figure out if I had diastasis recti, and nobody told me that there were everyday exercises and things in life that I should be avoiding (both while pregnant and then immediately postpartum).

Thankfully, I was able to figure out how to test myself (and now I test all of my clients) after my second son was born, and I now know what I should and shouldn’t be doing in terms of getting my body back.

Postpartum Workout Basics: Rebuild Muscular Strength

When the time comes to start introducing training, cardio alone won’t cut it. If you’re wondering how to lose baby weight, you have to look past the cardio and on to the weights. The most successful postpartum training plan incorporates a balance of activities including leisurely walks, some HIIT, plenty of stretching, proper core training, and also weight training.

I realize that carrying a baby around all day is a workout in and of itself, but if you really want to take your fat loss to the next level, adding some strength training will be key. Cardiovascular exercise may get you bigger or smaller, but you will stay the same shape – weight training is the #1 way to change the shape of your body.

READ MORE
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Do strength training 3 times a week for 30 minutes to increase fat fighting hormones (we’ll talk more about that in a minute) that help burn fat long after your workout is over. This will go a long way toward speeding up your metabolism, tightening and toning. This is the most often missed secret in postpartum fat loss.

Postpartum Workout Basics: Proper Postpartum Nutrition

Proper postpartum workouts must always be fueled by proper postpartum nutrition. I see far too many moms trying low calorie, low fat diets as they try to figure out how to lose baby weight. Diets don’t work. In fact, many times these types of diets make you fatter. As a new mom, your body needs maximum nutrition to recover from pregnancy, refuel after your workouts, and if you’re breastfeeding, to provide fuel for your baby, so immediately dropping your caloric intake to an unreasonable level isn’t healthy, and may actually cause you to gain weight or do some long term damage to your metabolism. You certainly don’t have to count calories (in fact, I prefer to focus on quality over quantity).

To give you an idea of what you need to sustain your baby while you are breastfeeding and safely lose fat, the National Women’s Health Information Center advises consuming at least 1,800 calories per day.

For a healthy baby AND momma, concentrate on well-balanced, healthy food choices that include foods rich in calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6 and folate. Remember to focus on foods that keep your hunger, energy and cravings balanced. If you do that, the caloric intake will take care of itself.

READ MORE
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As you work through figuring when and how to start your postpartum workout, remember to focus on these basics first. Don’t get caught up in silly wraps or “magic” pills. It’s tempting to set unrealistic goals and then be frustrated when we aren’t where we “should” be.

Although every new mom is eager to look like our old selves again, one of the most important things to remember is to be patient with yourself.

About the Author /

Kate has a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Exercise Science and is our Baby Chick Fitness expert. As a fitness professional with countless years of experience helping women transform their bodies, Kate gives moms the tools needed to reach their health goals.

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Instagram post 18074272528164523 @debiandbebi wrote these words when she was a new mom and struggled with #postpartumdepression. She hopes to remind everyone that it is okay to struggle with being a new mom and that does not mean you don't love your baby. ❤️⁠
(quote by @debiandbebi)⁠
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Instagram post 17862171103601373 All of these things make me happy. What would you add to your self care toolbox?⁠
I'm seriously needing some of these things tonight to start a new week. Hoping you mamas get some self care time too! 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 18073051357163780 When it comes to clamping the cord, our mottos is "what's the rush?" The blood volume in the placenta and cord at the time of birth is BABY'S blood. It's simply mid-circulation in the placenta at the time of birth. It just makes sense to leave it be and let it finish its job.⁠
No, the blood won't drain out of baby and go backwards into the placenta.⁠
No, your baby is not more likely to get sick from jaundice.⁠
Yes, your baby will still be getting oxygen while they figure out breathing, especially important if they need resuscitation.⁠
Yes, your baby will have better iron levels for the first year of their life.⁠
Look at how thick and engorged this cord still is at 4 and 18 minutes after baby was born. Just imagine how much blood baby would have lost if the cord had been clamped immediately, or at 60 seconds, 90 seconds, or 3 minutes! The placenta was expelled immediately before the 18 minute photo was taken. The pulse in the cord could still be felt even AFTER THE PLACENTA HAD BEEN DELIVERED! The cord was finally clamped and cut more than an hour after birth at 73 minutes. ❤️⁠
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Instagram post 17990835490280335 I totally felt this way when I was pregnant. And kinda feel this way after all that turkey. 🤣🦃 Happy turkey day to all you expecting mamas!!⁠
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Instagram post 17852562805720320 Loneliness is a real thing in new motherhood and I want to be sure we talk about this. It's okay to say, "I feel lonely." We normalize one another's experiences when we share the reality of our journey. It can be so isolating when we bring our small human home and our lives revolve around his/her care. We feel detached from the outside world. The monotony of new motherhood can be heavy.⁠
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Here are some tips to combat isolation:⁠
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1️⃣ Get outside when possible.⁠
2️⃣ Video chat with friends/family.⁠
3️⃣ Join a virtual group.⁠
4️⃣ Invite someone to come over.⁠
5️⃣ Find a local mom's group.⁠
6️⃣ Listen to the radio or a podcast (it's interesting how this can make us feel connected with others)⁠
7️⃣ Run an errand--even grabbing a coffee via drive-thru can feel good.⁠
8️⃣ Get to know your neighbors.⁠
What would you add to the list?⁠
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