Whether you are pregnant or a new mom who would like to get back to or continue working out, there are certain things you should be aware of. Prenatal and postnatal workouts and staying active is most certainly recommended, but there are some changes you should make to your routine. Staying active will improve your health and wellbeing, and possibly make the delivery a bit easier. Also if you are a new mom, it helps you stay healthy, happy, keep your energy up, recover more quickly and get your pre-baby body back more easily.
Here are some moves you don’t want to be making:
Avoid heavy lifting, plyometrics, HIIT, jumping a lot, sprinting.
If you were very active before and liked exercising hard, it’s time to take it easy. It is very important to listen to your body. It’s easier to go back to working out hard once you are ready and not end up with complications if you start too early. You need to come back to working out gradually. If you are pregnant, you should avoid these all together because they could lead to serious problems later on. These activities will not hurt your baby, but could hurt your body - you might end up with Diastasis Recti, Pelvic Organ Prolapse or Hernia. If you are a new mom, you should wait at least 6 weeks before you start any kind of exercise. After six weeks have passed and if you’ve gotten a green light from your doctor, you may start working out, but it is advisable to gradually come back into it. These activities listed above require a fully functioning body and you should wait at least 6 months before you do any of them.
You should by no means do: pull-ups, push-ups, crunches or sit ups, and planks.
It is a good idea to work your abdominal muscles while pregnant, but in other ways than these, in ways that are putting less stress on your stomach. It is also not advisable to do the listed moves at least 6 weeks postpartum, and in some cases even longer. If you’re a new mom, you should get yourself checked for Diastasis Recti (a separation along the middle of the abdominal wall), Pelvic Organ Prolapse and the strength of your Pelvic Floor Muscles. If all is good, you might get a green light from your doctor to do these moves.
Now, these were the DON’Ts, but what about the DOs? What can you do if you are pregnant or a new mom?
What you can start right away is performing Kegals and walking. Both are very beneficial for your wellbeing. Kegals are a great tool to keep you body functioning during pregnancy because supposedly they make carrying the baby easier and birthing less troublesome. They are also a great tool post-birth because they help you recover better. Some milder activities are good until you are completely ready to come back to intensive training. These activities are: Mild Yoga, Qi Gong, Swimming, Easier Pilates, Aqua Aerobics, Low-impact Aerobics, Light Weight Training,Cycling or you might want to try some specialised workouts created for moms, like the MUTU System, Mama Fit or other Mama and Baby programs.
Here are a few moves you can do right away:
Do an easy warmup: circle the arms and then step side to side. Do a shallow squat and then reach up.
Do a Yoga move: Cat to Cow. Breathe in as you lift your head, stretch and relax your belly. Breathe out as you round your back, squeeze your abs and tuck your head under.
On all fours do donkey kicks, one side and then the other. Tighten your abs as you kick, and relax as you lower your leg down. Do both legs 10 times.
10 squats. Go as slow as you need to and as shallow as you need to. Make sure you keep your knees over ankles. Breathe in as you squat, and exhale as you stand and activate your core.
Do a light cool down. Stand and breathe in as you lift your arms above your head and breath out as you lower them back down. Do this move a few times until your heart rate comes down.
Do a side bend and forward hang, Keep your legs straight and back flat. Take it easy. You’re all done.