You can get away with looking like you scoffed the entire baby shower cake and all of the pies whilst you're pregnant (and let's face it, you probably have with all those crazy cravings!) but 6 months after giving birth you don't really want people to think that you're still pregnant and eating for two. Having a "fuller figure" and feeling unfit doesn't do your self-confidence any favours and it certainly doesn't make things easy for your already stressed body.
Lots of women choose to avoid exercise during and after pregnancy as they think it might not be safe or they feel too tired, however, the benefits of antenatal and postnatal exercise are well documented and are in fact recommended. You and your can baby benefit in many ways by regularly performing appropriate exercises like those included in the specialist exercise to music or power walking sessions run by Mum plus One.
Exercise during pregnancy has many positive effects such as reducing fatigue, nausea and cramps, improving postural alignment to help with hip and back pain, strengthening core and pelvic floor muscles to support you and your baby as well as providing you with the endurance to cope with labour, delivery and recovery thereafter and of course promoting the release of those wonderful happy hormones.
Postnatal exercise generally concentrates on strengthening your pelvic floor to help stop those embarrassing moments when you laugh or cough (ahem!) and toning your core to get you back into pre-pregnancy shape within about 9 months. You get to feel great about yourself and know that you are able to deal with the physical demands you face as your baby grows. Oh yes, and you can still exercise whilst you are breastfeeding, in case you were wondering!
The other benefit of antenatal and postnatal exercise is that you can work with your qualified instructor to manage all of the changes your body goes through during pregnancy and for up to a year after birth. All those usual pregnancy and postnatal niggles can be reduced or even eliminated with the right fitness regime. Listen to your body, talk to your instructor about how you feel and only work to a level that is comfortable for you. Do make sure you check your suitability to exercise with your GP before you start though, especially if you have any medical conditions.
Remember that old adage of 9 months on, 9 months off? Well, that still holds true today. The celebs who look amazing 3 months after giving birth have specialist medical, dietary and fitness help. We mere mortals have to be realistic and achieve our goals by eating well and exercising sensibly.
If you don't enjoy classes or the gym, or can't get there regularly, you can still do plenty such as swimming or walking. There is also the option of Virtual Fitness Training where a qualified instructor will write a bespoke training programme for you to follow in your own time and can focus on activities you prefer. It's like having a personal trainer but without the hourly rates!
If you don't have anyone to look after your baby whilst you exercise, there are classes out there, such as Mum plus One, which allow you to take your baby along. Baby gets to enjoy a change of scenery and is entertained by you moving around to music or is pushed along in the pram by you.
So, mums-to-be and new mums, don't think you're stuck with that bun-in-the-oven or muffin top look. Find a fitness session you like the sound of and give it a go. It's a fantastic way to have fun and make some new friends whilst you get fit for birth, fit for baby!
Mum plus One
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