Copyright 2005 Joey Atlas
The second biggest question you will ask yourself as a new mom is, “Will I be able to get back into shape after I give birth?” (The first, of course, is, “Will I be a good mother?”) The truth is, yes, you can get back into pre-pregnancy shape and, if you desire, you can get yourself into even better shape than you were in before your pregnancy.
One of biggest myths you must get past is classic, “The doctor said I have to wait six weeks before I do any kind of exercise.” Under certain circumstances this is a valid rule. For instance, your pregnancy may have occurred later in life or you experienced complications during your pregnancy and/or actual birth of your baby.
If you fall into this category you should communicate with you doctor regarding your desire to exercise and abide by her recommendations.
But, if you had an uncomplicated, normal pregnancy there should be no reason why you can’t start working out twenty four hours after you give birth. So as not to mislead you, let’s define working out as it applies to you at this stage of game.
You are clearly not ready to jump into a full scale fitness program one day after giving birth. But you can and should begin doing gentle isometrics (contract a muscle, hold it for a few seconds & then release it) and Kegels. Of course, you should consult with your doctor before starting just so she is aware of what you are doing. She may also have some valuable input.
Before you leave hospital ask doctor about condition of your rectus abdominus. These are two muscles that run parallel to each other from pubic area up to diaphragm. During some pregnancies connective tissue between these two muscles tears and separates. If this is your case ask your doctor how you can help them reconnect and heal faster. This will be necessary in order for you to add next few exercises to your routine.
If your abdominal muscles did not separate, which should be confirmed by your doctor, then you can add tried and true pelvic tilt to your new exercise program. This is one of most basic exercises for “core muscles”. At this time it should also be safe to add a modified abdominal crunch. This is best achieved by starting with a pelvic tilt and then lifting head and top of shoulder blades by curling forward slightly as you breathe out. Then return to neutral as you breathe in.
It is generally safe to add several modified leg exercises at this point. Of course, you will want to run these by your doctor before trying them out.