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Resuming workouts after child delivery

Exercise. Photo: Classic 105

Labour and delivery, two life events that are reserved for the strongest of them all, the woman.

Whether she decides to have a vaginal birth, an elective C-Section, or has no choice in this decision, once a baby comes out of a woman after a nine-month gestation period, her body never remains the same again.

For some, the weight gained in pregnancy becomes a permanent friend post-delivery. For others, the feet which swelled in pregnancy doesn’t quite revert to its original state.

The highly lucky ones have fuller, more luscious hair even post-partum but the rest deal with a hair length, texture and colour that never remains the same.

Also, the stretch marks or tiger marks as some have been known to call it. Those battle scars are here to stay for good defying any ‘break through’ treatment, cream, oil or procedure.

The fact remains that pregnancy brings with it many changes, and while some are external, some are internal and those internal changes especially have to be considered when resuming a post-partum workout routine.

First, for the mom who had a vaginal delivery, the right term for what a lot of people call ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ delivery, things are relatively easier. You pushed out a baby, maybe got a few stiches, got discharged after 24hours and 2 days later, you can even find yourself in the market, so long as everything was smooth with the delivery process.

However, resuming a workout routine for most women can only be possible after your 4 or 6 week post-natal appointment with the doctor.

While all is going great on the outside, your doctor needs to confirm that internally, all is well too. And even then, you should begin gradually and then work up your intensity.

Here is a simple guide that would work for someone at a beginner or intermediate level. If it is not challenging enough, you can still increase the reps.

5 minute jogging on the spot to warm up and get some oxygen around the body, 10 minutes aerobics, maybe 100 skips and/or jumping jacks and another 5 minutes to stretch. You can modify this 25 minute routine to 15 minutes for starts and keep increasing it.

You can also do some core-focused moves such as sit-ups and push-ups to help tighten those abdominal muscles.

The combination of cardio and the core workouts will burn fat while toning you up at the same time. This combination remains one of the most effective forms of fat-burning exercising.
Don’t forget to take some time, at least 5 to 10 minutes to stretch afterwards

To the ‘CS Moms’ who had the privilege of an ‘abdominal delivery’, things are not quite straightforward.

First, most women need 6 to 8 weeks post-delivery to be permitted to work out by their doctor. Notwithstanding, I would advise to keep the cardiovascular exercises light.

Skipping as a way to kick off the workout life post-delivery will most likely put a strain on the incision area.

Core focused workouts should be introduced gradually and if you ask me, I would say, give it at least 3 months, or when you hardly feel anything at the incision site.

So, what can you do? Walk. Taking a walk, first short then longer, as a form of low intensity cardio will gradually introduce your body to the routine of exercising again. As you get stronger, you can start to do aerobics, skips and then core workouts.

Please do not always be in a haste to ‘snap back’. Yes, some people ‘snap back’ in 3 weeks while you may look like you are still pregnant after 3weeks, but better safe than sorry. Labour and delivery are major events even though vaginal, and a caesarean section in particular is a major surgery and the body needs time to heal properly.

Experts actually recommend that we should give the body as much time that it took to incubate and birth the baby before it ‘snaps back’, at least 36 weeks.

The great thing is maintaining a clean diet even without working out will start to help you lose the pregnancy weight, until you can add exercising to it. And if you want faster results, while you have to wait for permission to work out, you do not need permission to eat healthily. You can begin nutrition and breastfeeding optimised plan from the exact day you vaginally or ‘abdominally’ popped that baby. Before long, you would start to see results and regain a feeling of normalcy about your new body.

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