Post Baby Body: Getting Back Into Shape Quick

Here are a few key points on how to get your post-baby body back into pre-baby shape!
Get your post-baby body back in shape with walking. 

Break a Sweat
Exercise is key in shedding some of the baby weight gained during pregnancy.  Not only does working out help you lose weight and tighten up areas that haven’t quite bounced back yet, but post-natal exercise can speed up the recovery process and possibly protect you against postpartum depression. 

Additionally, taking a half hour to an hour for yourself every day can help improve your mood and increase your overall energy levels—a must when dealing with a newborn!

*Before undertaking any kind of exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor. Some experts recommend waiting six weeks postpartum—and eight weeks for those with C-sections—before engaging in any type of rigorous activity. 

Unless you’re prescribed bed rest and explicitly told to not exercise, walking is an easy, free, and readily available way to add some activity into your daily routine without overexerting yourself. 

These are a few exercises to get you started on that road to recovery; they’re targeted for areas that new mothers usually want to see the most change.

# Pelvic muscles - Kegels are more important than ever to strengthen and stabilize the pelvic area. The best thing about Kegels is that you can do them anywhere—sitting in a car, on a bench, in front of the TV, etc.

# Arms and chest -  Strong arm and chest muscles are key due to all the lifting you’ll be doing with the baby, stroller, diaper bags, etc. Many trainers believe the best overall exercise for these areas are push-ups. Do modified push-ups or against the wall push-ups if you are not strong enough to do full push-ups yet. 

# Core - Arguably, THE most important area to strengthen post-baby to help your body bounce back. Traditional sit-ups are not recommended for women post-baby, especially for those with diastasis recti. Planks, however, help cinch that waist back in while protecting those muscles.

# Hamstrings and Butt - Floor bridges are a quick and efficient way to target the backs of your legs and butt.

Also, if you’re unable to break away for an hour—or even half an hour—at  time, you can incorporate some quick exercises while doing other tasks. Some simple things to do to increase your daily movement include:

# Be less efficient - Yes, you read that correctly. By taking a few more trips between the changing table and the diaper pail, you increase the calories burned. It’s a minimal change, but every extra movement counts over a full day.

# Squeeze in a few push-ups, squats, or lunges if you ever find yourself standing in one place for a while (over a stove, at a sink, over the crib).

# Run through a few basic yoga poses while the baby’s napping.  

# Have a few workout videos on Netflix or on DVD or podcast handy for the few brief free moments.

Fuel the Fire
Exercise is only part of the story. It’ll help you burn extra calories and tighten up muscles, but a key component in losing the post-baby weight is how you’re eating. 

You should avoid dieting, especially if you’re breast-feeding, as you need a lot of calories and nutrients to nourish your baby. 

You can reduce portion sizes though while picking the highest quality and most nutritious foods. 

The best way to keep track of how much you’re eating is via a food diary and a kitchen scale. Don’t have time to measure out all your food? Get portion-control plates that allows you to measure out appropriate serving sizes for vegetables, proteins, and starchy items.

Again, don’t change your diet until you’ve gotten the go-ahead from your doctor. 

Most experts would recommend waiting, again, until that six-week mark. 

If you’re breastfeeding, some doctors would recommend waiting until even later before embarking on a weight loss plan. If you are nursing, you need a bare minimum of 1,800 calories a day (though more like 2,000 to 2,700 calories) to nourish both yourself and your baby.

According to WedMD, these are the top 12 most important foods for a new mother, nursing or otherwise: 

Low-fat dairy products
Lean beef
Whole-grain breads
Whole-grain cereals
Brown rice
Leafy greens

Take Care of the Skin You’re In

Another post-baby body complaint, outside of weight gain, is the changes to a new mom’s skin.

Melasma and stretch marks are common side effects that come with pregnancy; and new moms are often looking for ways to reverse those marks. 

Also known as the "mask of pregnancy," melasma is caused by an increase in melanin production (which can also be caused by prolonged exposure to sun, so always remember to wear sunblock!). 

While makeup and concealers with white and yellow undertones can cover up the dark patches, skin-lightening products, laser treatments, or chemical peels may be necessary to permanently get rid of the spots.

More than 90 percent of women develop stretch marks, of varying degrees of severity, during pregnancy. 

They can appear as red or purple, or white or brown shiny bands running along the rounded belly, and sometimes on breasts and thighs as well. 

While the popular cocoa butter has not demonstrated success in reducing those spots, Tretinoin cream or laser therapy seem to lighten stretch marks.

Remember to take care of yourself and not increase your levels of stress over getting your pre-baby body back. Stress can actually slow your efforts. 

Be kind to yourself and follow the above tips to slowly get post baby body back into shape.

About the Author:

Marcela De Vivo is the founder of Gryffin Media, and an accomplished online marketing professional with expertise in social networking, search marketing, and web analytics. She has experienced 3 beautiful pregnancies, after which she had to bounce back into shape!

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