It's no secret that pregnant women easily put on a few pounds each month until their bundle of joy arrives —unfortunately getting rid of that weight is not so effortless. Along with eating right, exercise is a sure way to getting your body back to the way it was pre-baby. Our basic postpartum exercise time line helps you determine how and when to slowly add exercise so that you can watch the number on the scale drop as your baby grows.
That chubby little tushy on your newborn baby is probably the most adorable thing you've ever seen, and although pregnancy has left you with the same squishy tush, for some reason it's anything but adorable to you. Once you hit the six-week mark, your doc has likely given you the green light to start exercising, and you're excited to get on the road to getting your pre-baby body back. Here are some obstacles you might encounter when heading back to the gym and how to overcome them.
- Fatigue: Always having the feeling like you could use a nap doesn't exactly give you the get-up-and-go you need to do an intense butt-blasting workout. Cut yourself a break and start off with shorter, low-intensity workouts such as walking, yoga, or swimming. A 20-minute walk around the neighborhood every day for a week (or longer) will feel like plenty. Gradually increase the intensity and length of your workouts as your strength and stamina increases.
- Engorged and/or leaking breasts: Nursing moms not only have to find sports bras and fitness tops that are big enough to handle their fuller bosoms, but there's also the pain of engorged breasts and the oh-so-embarrassing leakage. Plan ahead and nurse or pump your baby immediately before heading out for a workout. Invest in a supportive, full-coverage nursing sports bra like this one from Motherhood Maternity ($17) so you can empty your breasts without having to waste time getting your workout clothes on.
- Feeling self-conscious about belly fat: It took you nine months to grow that belly, so don't expect it to diminish right after the birth. A healthy diet, exercise, and time is the key to getting your body back, so in the meantime, wear tops like these that hide your pooch. And before heading to the gym, sip on this flat belly smoothie made with ingredients like pineapple and kale that can help diminish fat around your waist.
- Being away from your baby: Hormones coupled with the insane love you feel for your baby make it tough for some moms to even think of leaving them, even if it's for only 20 minutes. Don't let the bond you share get in between your workouts — bring your baby along. When your baby is still small, wear him or her in a Moby Wrap for walks or hikes — it's lightweight and super supportive for new moms often sore backs. You can also take him or her to a postnatal yoga class or do some poses at home following this yoga sequence. Once they're a little older, invest in some baby gear like a Bob Jogging Stroller or Chariot trailer for biking. You'll not only be burning calories together, it instills in them at an early age that is an important part of a healthy life.
- Weak abs: Core exercises aren't recommended during pregnancy, plus your muscles get completely stretched out as your baby grows, which leaves you with weak, flabby abs that can hardly do one crunch. It also makes for an achy lower back. Don't get frustrated — get strong. You can quickly build ab strength by spending time during each workout on core-building moves. Try this 10-minute core workout.
People say females are the stronger sex since they birth babies. But, are women warriors because they deal with the aches and pains of pregnancy and labor or because they can look in the mirror after delivery and deal with its physical aftermath? There are lucky mothers who end up with amazing postpartum bods, but the masses have reflections that are a far cry from their pre-baby physiques. Check out some of the common surprises.
Postpartum leakage is no joke. Often considered one of the realities — or battle scars — of giving birth, one in four women, especially during and after pregnancy, experience light bladder leaks. For sufferers, pantyliners and unsightly garments like Depends (don't be fooled by those ads on TV — they aren't red-carpet ready!) are part of the daily dressing routine. That is, until now. Dear Kate, a new line of function-meets-fashion underwear, just may change the lives of moms who hope to maintain their hip style while dealing with leaks.
Founded by 25-year-old chemical engineering student Julie Sygiel, Dear Kates were designed to control those inevitable leaks that occur during a woman's period. But during the design process, Julie learned that those aren't the only leaks women experience — especially during pregnancy and in the postpartum years. She designed the underpinnings with a built-in lining made up of three breathable layers — two absorbent, stain-releasing, and wicking microfiber layers and a breathable, leak-resistant outer layer with a hydrophobic finish — that can hold up to three teaspoons of liquid. The soft, stretchy material keeps the undergarments comfortable, while the designs make them fashionable and even sexy. The line — which launches on Dec. 20 but is available for pre-order now — comes in styles ranging from high-waisted briefs and thongs to bodysuits, bikinis, and hipsters, all priced from $28-$38.
Finding time to hit the gym is tough for anyone with a busy schedule — but add a baby to the mix, and it's virtually impossible. That's why we're such big fans of combining quality time with your kiddo and a workout into one manageable routine. And if you can do it at home? Well, that's even better. We caught up with Zoe Bowick Levine of The Thriving Body, who teaches a wildly popular "Work Out Baby" class for moms and their wee ones in Brooklyn, NY. Here are five of Zoe's fave at-home exercises to do with the baby:
- Reverse Lunge and Belly Tickle: Stand tall with baby just in front of your right foot. Reach your right foot back into a lunge as you tickle baby's belly with your right hand. Bring right leg back in, stand tall, and repeat 15 times on each side.
- Tricep Peekaboo: Lie on your belly with your head toward baby and your hands under your shoulders. Press into your hands and raise your head and chest to play peekaboo with baby. Lower down and repeat 12 times. Try to keep your back relaxed and let your arms (triceps) do the work. Keep your chin slightly tucked — the back of the neck should stay long.
- Hip Press: Lay on your back with baby on your belly. Feet should be hip distance apart and knees should be bent. With your core engaged, press your hips up and down 20 times.
Four months after welcoming baby Maxwell to the world, Jessica Simpson is opening up about the pressure to drop the baby weight in a nanosecond. The new mama appeared on the premiere of Katie Couric's new Katie show and spoke very candidly about how some celebrities are praised for getting their "size 0" bodies back almost immediately after their pregnancies. Jessica explained that she wants to set a good example for her daughter, and wants to make sure she isn't allowing tabloid expectations to bring her down. See how she addresses the matter and tell us: is there too much pressure to lose the baby weight or is it being blown out of proportion?
For many moms, the postpartum body is the most dreaded part of pregnancy. After nine months of consistent growth (not to mention childbirth), it's not always easy to bounce back. While celebrities may have the added bonus of 24/7 access to trainers, nutritionists, and personal chefs, they also have the added pressure of media critiquing their every step.
Since we think every new mom is beautiful, today we're celebrating seven celebrity moms who flaunted their postbaby figures just weeks after giving birth, and looked fabulous doing so.
Get ready to meet your lil one! In the final days of pregnancy, expectant mamas have a lot on their minds. But as the nesting instinct sets in, take advantage of the downtime to read up on what lies ahead. Before heading to the hospital, check out our guide of things every mom-to-be should know.
Here in the US, the postpartum Ob/Gyn interaction for a new mom generally involves little more than the six-week checkup, where she's usually cleared to have sex again, and perhaps given some gentle encouragement to try Kegel exercises.
So you can imagine the shock of American writer Claire Lundberg, who after giving birth to her daughter in Paris, was prescribed 10-20 sessions of . . . vaginal physical therapy. La rééducation périnéale has been paid for by French Social Security since 1985, and was implemented not only to aid in restoring a healthy sex life for new parents, but also to encourage additional pregnancies and increase the national birthrate. Lundberg shared her hilarious recollection of the experience on Slate.com:
There are two methods for the reeducation itself, manual and biofeedback, and most kinés use a combination of the two. The first is just what it sounds like: The therapist inserts two fingers into your wuzza and talks you through a series of exercises designed to give you better control over your muscles. Can you, for example, contract your vagina and pull her fingers in and up? You may find this cringingly embarrassing, especially when afterward she tells you, "C’est assez faible" ("It’s rather weak") and that you’re going to need more than 10 sessions.
New moms, how would you feel about a postnatal prescription for vaginal therapy?
David Beckham is one of the lucky ones! Just seven months after baby Harper's birth, the dad of four showed off (almost!) every inch of his toned and tattooed body in one of the steamiest ads to air during the Super Bowl. Wait . . . a postpartum dad showing off his body? Considering that the average dad-to-be adds 14 pounds to his frame during his wife's pregnancy, that's something to be commended! And while we usually talk about the lengths new moms go to lose the baby weight, only 30 percent of new dads say they actually diet with their partners to lose the sympathy weight, making the soccer superstar one of the few.