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Fitness Articles  ›  Special Concerns

Bouncing Back into Shape after Baby

Returning to Fitness Once the Baby Arrives

-- By Krista Carroll, Expert
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That new bundle of joy can make dramatic changes in your life. The vast majority of changes are worth it, but some make it hard to keep up with the important things like regular exercise and adequate sleep.

You're not alone. Just about every woman, at one time or another, has struggled with exercise after pregnancy. Here are some ideas to help you get back into exercising and get back into shape!

Make exercise a priority
Not only is your body sleep deprived, but it has also just gone through intense labor which requires healing. You find yourself watching the dust, dishes, and laundry pile up while you tend to your little one. Feel like exercising? Probably not! However, exercising can be the energizer you need to get more motivation. Make it a priority.

Baby steps
Start out slow. Within the first 6 weeks after delivering your baby, your body is healing and requires extra time to get back into shape. Taking care of your baby and managing the basic housework is enough exercise for you now. Be sure to discuss postpartum precautions and limitations with your doctor.

Be creative
Once cabin fever has set in and your body feels up to it, head to a mall and enjoy some cardiovascular exercise: mall walking style. Set a goal to walk for a certain number of minutes before you go. Don't over do it. If you get tired, sit and rest on one of the mall benches. If the weather is nice, opt for a walk in the park or through your neighborhood.

Exercise time doesn't have to be separate from baby time. Let your baby watch you exercise. Place him or her in a bouncy seat or swing while you do your favorite exercise tape, perform sit ups and other exercises on a large exercise ball, or run on a treadmill. Some days just playing and carrying your baby can be a good workout in itself!

Get by with a little help from your friends
Exercise with a friend or relative, or another new mom. Having someone to exercise with is a big motivator. Plan on a day and time to meet and stick with it. It's amazing how time flies when you're walking with a friend and chatting about baby stuff. Join a fitness center and enroll in classes or contact a local mom's club if you have trouble scheduling times with friends.

You can also get online and chat with other new moms. Find somebody interested in exercising and keep in contact with her each week. Motivate and encourage each other. Having a friend to set exercise goals with will help you succeed and stay motivated.

You can do it, mom!
By staying fit, you will be able to keep up with your little one's activeness. You will have more energy to play with your baby. Keep in contact with other new moms to share your stories and keep each other motivated. Stay in shape and enjoy every moment of motherhood.

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About The Author

Krista Carroll Krista Carroll
Krista, a proud mother of three, stayed healthy before, during and after her pregnancies by committing to exercise.

Member Comments

  • Thanks for sharing. - 12/8/2013 6:07:52 AM
  • I gained alot of weight when I had my three boy's. I lost some and later on down the road I started to put weight on and it kept coming. - 10/11/2013 7:12:41 PM
  • Yes Breast feeding helps but once I stopped (plus working full-time) I gained back all that I lost. Do any of you work full time? If so how do you incoroporate working out. I don't have a gym membership nor can I afford one, we have a small home so I worry that early morning work outs may wake the little guy up...he tends to wake easily in the mornings. I sweat like a crazy person so lunch time work outs are out of the question and since my son is at day care all day I really don't want to put him in child care after work for another hr and half to do a class. - 8/23/2011 7:05:18 PM
  • I was determined to exercise and stay as physically active as possible during my last pregnancy. I even did a whole hour workout the day I went into labor. The nurses in L&D thought I was crazy. Within 1.5 weeks after having my baby I was feeling up to taking small easy walks with my double stroller. I know you need to wait 6 weeks and heal but I listened to how my body felt and I was back at the gym 2.5 weeks postpartum. I took it really easy though. I didn't even get back to running until 6 weeks but I was doing small weights and using the elliptical. I think working out my whole pregnancy helped me get back to the gym faster. I'm not saying that everyone should go back to the gym like I did so soon, but I think the physical activity level you set during pregnancy can determine how soon you can get back into working out. BF helped me get off some pounds too. I'm down to prepregnancy weight but am looking to lose some more weight that I had before having kids. - 6/6/2011 9:09:34 AM
  • I agree that it takes creative thinking to fit in an exercise routine with multiple children in the house. When I let the kids watch a Wiggles show, I try to dance along. It's really high impact! Breastfeeding has consistently helped me lose weight throughout the first year of each baby's life. It surprises me to read that NOT getting enough calories can actually slow down our bodies' weightloss. After tracking my food on SP, I find that's the case for me. I have a 5-month old and I have not been able to reach my lower range of 2,000 calories or protein range with "healthy" eating. However, if I indulge in more food or unhealthy food to help reach the ranges, then I go WAY over in the carb and fat ranges. Does that matter when I'm nursing? Which is worse for a nursing mother: not enough calories & protein/just right carbs & fats OR enough calories & protein/too many carbs & fats? - 6/6/2011 12:53:55 AM
    This is incredible!! http://pregnancyp - 2/1/2011 4:14:05 PM
  • I think these are great recommendations for people who have had their FIRST baby. The juggling becomes much more complicated after you have 2, 3, or 4. The lesson is to be creative and even 10 minutes of walking, stairs, situps, pushups are a great start! - 1/21/2011 1:06:02 PM
    Well... I have four children and I gained almost nothing during my pregnancies.... But!! Once the baby was out and I was breastfeeding, I was sooooo hungry! I was ravenous! I gained all the weight after the babies were born... Nursing my babies actually piled the weight on for me... Mind you, I don't regret nursing them. I just need to work extra hard now to catch up! - 1/21/2011 10:03:10 AM
  • I have 4 children. First were twins, and then singles. I gianed less weight with my last one, but seem to be having a hard time shedding the baby weight of 13 pounds. All the other pregnancies I got the weight off within 6 months, but this one doesn't want to give. - 1/21/2011 9:53:05 AM
  • I had 9 children and gained about 5 pounds with each because I didn't stay on top of the exercise. My hubby couldn't join me in walking, because of a bad back, and my little ones were very close together making an extra person pretty much a necessity. If I could do it over again, I would 'dance' with the kids doing the day....anything..
    as long as we stayed active ...together! Now we are a home schooling family and so I have determined to incorporate my w/o's with Phys Ed. Makes sense to me! :D - 1/21/2011 12:46:27 AM
  • I nursed with my daughter and lost a lot of weight doing that. I loved nursing, I had to stop when she was 7.5 months because of her allergies to food I was eating but you should do it as long as possible. After I stopped nursing her, I started gaining weight. - 8/27/2010 10:22:21 PM
  • I have three boys ages 1, 3, and 6. I stuggled to lose weight in between each pregnancy so I just kept packing on the pounds. I was introduced to P90X and Turbo Jam, both great workouts that i could do at home. They changed my life! I had time to workout and I didn't have to drag the boys to the gym daycare center. I lost 30 pounds and 3 dress sizes in after completing P90X. I feel great and I became a Beachbody coach to keep myself motivated and help others reach their fitness goals. If you want an accountiblity partner send me an email on my sparkle page and lets work together! - 8/22/2010 11:03:58 AM
  • I have a 6month old, am breastfeeding and working 4 8 hour shifts a week. I am so exhausted, despite sleeping 6 to 8 hours straight (I know I am lucky she sleeps through the night) but I wake up so groggy and exhausted that I get to the gym so inconsistently. I hate not having energy! I eat well too. The pounds are coming off slowly but the belly hangs loose and low and I know I could rock the pounds off quick if I could just get in there. I just miss it too. - 8/22/2010 5:18:03 AM
  • I have 4 kids ages 4,3,2, and 4 months. I breastfeed but unlike with the other 3, it doesn't seem to be helping with the weightloss. I did have some luck with Weight Watchers and 30-40 minutes of Pilates each day. Once I made it a part of the day, it seemed easier to fit in. I have about 30 pounds to lose to reach my ideal weight, so hopefully I continue to lose!!! - 8/21/2010 5:40:29 PM
  • Hi Ladies!

    I have a 4 1/2 month old, and to be honest I have never been more exhausted in my life, and finding the time to exercise was COMPLETELY out of the question. The first month I actually lost 33 lbs.--which is what I gained during my pregnancy--this was while I was BF my son--and as soon as I stopped I gained back about 20lbs. *sigh*.

    My MIL and SIL joined the gym and gave me a free 2 week pass, and I decided to take a Zumba class, and OH MY GOODNESS!! It is so fun, and I really feel like I am getting in some good cardio! I have since gone twice, and EVEN decided to join the gym!!

    Soo even if I am a zombie in class, I am sweating off the pounds!

    Good luck everyone! - 8/21/2010 3:41:00 PM
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