It's hard work growing a baby for 9 months. Our bodies change drastically and sometimes the path to getting back into shape isn't always easy. It's super important to know how your body changes and to know the correct way to get your body back into shape. Your body has it's own recovery timeline so listen up, you'll want to know what's ahead.
During pregnancy, your internal organs gradually shift around to make room for your growing baby. Now that your baby has suddenly gone from your uterus, your organs have to make their way back to their prepregnancy position. As your ab muscles regain some of their tone and your organs shift back into place, you'll start to feel better.
Diastasis recti is an issue that most women learn about after having a baby. This happens to many women during the third trimester of pregnancy. As a baby grows, there is constant pressure put on the back of the mother’s abdominal wall. The connective tissue joining the abdominal muscles stretches, causing the left and right sides of the abdominal muscles to separate. Many women’s abdominal muscles will come back together after childbirth but unfortunately, some women’s do not.
This is a great video on how to self-check for diastasis recti. If you do have this abdominal separation, you need to know how to properly exercise so that it doesn't get worse and can heal. Sit-ups and crunches, planks (including traditional push-ups and burpees), any oblique twists, and leg-lowering exercises will just make it worse. Also make sure that you are standing with correct posture. When your body is properly aligned, than your abdominal muscles are in the correct position to heal.
Here is a great video on how to perform safe and effective exercises to heal the diastasis recti.
Working out with baby
Once you are cleared for normal exercise it can be a lot of fun to included baby. Using your front baby carrier, perform squats (while making sure you are bending at the knee, not your back). Or grab your yoga mat and lay your baby on his or her back and hover over them in the push-up position. As you lower yourself down into the push-up, be sure to give the baby a kiss. For a chest press, lay on your back and raise and lower baby above you. For more great ideas head to our Pinterest board for some awesome pinned ideas.
Not only are you eating for yourself, but if you are breastfeeding you are eating for baby too. Filling up on sugars will only harm your body and your milk supply. It's really important to eat healthy postpartum so that your energy levels remain high. High-protein foods contain a hunger-fighting hormone and will fill you up more than carbs. Remember, carbs turn into sugar! You just gave birth and your body has been through a lot of stress. Stress can cause the immune system to respond through internal inflammation. Help your body fight this inflammation by consuming foods that are considered to be anti-inflammatories. Examples include everything from green tea to berries to spices such as turmeric and garlic.
You can also read up on this blog post of ours on how to increase your milk supply but maintaining a safe and healthy diet.
The thing to take away from this is to make sure you know what you are doing before you start your exercise plan. Bouncing back into shape isn't as easy as getting on the treadmill so read up, talk to your doctor first, and you'll soon be on your way to losing that baby weight in a safe and effective way.