During your pregnancy your body has been changing shape dramatically over the past nine months. In most cases your body weight will have reached a higher level than ever before, you may have stretch marks, your pelvic floor muscles will be much weaker, you may notice more cellulite and varicose veins popping up here and there and you will certainly have increased your dress size by at least 2 or 3 sizes?
This is all natural and part of your body's attempts to cope with this major change and growth of your baby in your body. Your body has been equally as well designed to recover from such an event. It will readily strive to return to the fitness, health level and shape you were in before pregnancy.
If you weren't in the best shape before, don't worry because of the change in your hormones you can still get in to great shape now.
It isn't easy to find the time to return to exercise after pregnancy but find it you must. If you don't do the things I outline in this report you can say goodbye forever to that flat toned stomach.
It really is as important as that.
Why physiotherapists and personal trainers aren't employed to work with every new mum is simply a matter of economics. I know one thing if you are conscious about your shape and appearance you are going to need help.
Whatever you do, don't visit your local gym and follow the advice of an under educated under trained instructor. Quite frankly if you've not done the research or got the experience you can't correctly instruct and design routines for postnatal women. Instead ask for the most qualified and experienced instructors, most gyms will have some good staff.
Alternatively book a couple of sessions with a qualified personal trainer there are many around these days. Check they hold a reputable qualification.
My golden Personal training motto is this - 'consistency'. This is true in every area of health and fitness but never more so than in postnatal fitness. What I mean by this is commit yourself to a plan of action and stick to it religiously. Sure its fine to have the odd treat, that's good and yes there will be times when you are too tired or unwell to take exercise and I am not advocating no pain no gain this certainly is not appropriate at this stage.
You will make very rapid progress with relatively little effort if you follow the information in this 10-point postnatal report.
So what is the plan, what do you have to do? Following is listed in a nutshell the action you must take immediately after having your baby, as long as you aren't experiencing any pain or discomfort by following the advice you should be fine and notice rapid changes.
Don't worry if you're reading this months if not years after giving birth as there are certain exercises you can do which will help you achieve that toned stomach, a good trainer should be able to guide you through this.
One thing I will say is this if you are reading this and hoping there is some magical solution to regaining your shape after child birth then you will be mistaken and very disappointed. To change your shape and appearance takes dedication, persistency and knowledge this is why personal trainers are so successful in sculpting and shaping the physiques of their clients.
Here's your 10 point postnatal report: -
1. Drink At Least 2 Liters Of Water Each And Every Day. Drinking this amount of water each day ensures that a number of things happen: -
2. Plan A Walking Route - To get the most out of walking you should design a route around where you live which will take you between 20 and 30 minutes to complete, in surroundings you feel comfortable with. This route should be push chair friendly and performed at a comfortable pace for the first few days and then done progressively faster so that you feel warmer, breathing slightly heavier and your heart rate increases, you should still be capable of holding a conversation.
Your route should include some gentle gradients as these challenge the body to a greater degree than walking on the flat. Do this route at least five times a week. You will also have the benefit of getting some fresh air for you and your baby.
3. Reduce The Amount Of Food You Are Eating. Or more specifically the amount of calories you are consuming. During pregnancy there is a real need for extra calories because you need to maintain normal healthy function for yourself and you must provide extra calories for a growing baby.
After giving birth however there is not the same demand. That is not to say that you should dramatically cut the amount of food you eat instead this should be a gradual reduction over the course of 7 – 10 days.
4. Don't Diet. Diets don't work, they mess with your mind and slow down your metabolism. The biggest mistake most people make when trying to lose weight is to simply try and starve themselves. This kind of strategy has a number of major downfalls.
The first main problem is that when you restrict calories in a drastic and uncontrolled manner in order to lose weight the body does shed a small amount of body fat, but not fat alone. Protein found in muscle tissue gets used to fuel daily activity and essential bodily fluids are also lost.
The minute you resume eating normally water levels will quickly be restored to normal and body weight will in turn stabilise once more. The muscle tissue lost will not return and this has a number of disastrous effects. The first one being that when a body consists mainly of trained dense muscles it becomes similar to a fat burning furnace in that it needs to keep the muscles well fed and the metabolism speeds up in order to do this.
Reducing muscle density through restrictive diets will only lead to a slowing down of the metabolism. Since most people tend to go through periods of weight loss and weight gain the next problem is that when you start gaining weight the weight you gain will be mainly body fat because muscle does not simply create itself it needs a reason to exist and this is where resistance training comes in.
5. Don't Do Sit Ups. During the first few weeks sit-ups and abdominal crunches are about the worst exercises to do.
Why? Well it's like this, during pregnancy your body produces a hormone called Relaxin. This hormone allows the body to become more flexible it allows greater movement in the spine, allows for more flexibility in the tendons and ligaments and gives the growing baby more room to grow.
Taking your stomach muscles as an example, the relaxin allows the growing baby to push through the muscles separating down either side.
This separation needs to realigned and doing sit-ups or crunches in effect will promote doming. Doming is a bulge in the abdominal wall caused by pressure pushing the tissue up underneath and through this gap. This actually hinders recovery and increases the separation between the stomach muscles. Correct breathing must be maintained at all times.
There is a test called the rec check, which will dictate when the stomach muscles have pulled in tight and are ready to perform other stomach exercises. An experienced trainer should know how to perform this test.
6. Be Careful. Your body is in a delicate state right now remember that Relaxin hormone, it will stay elevated for at least five months, longer if you breast feed for some time.
There are some exercises that are usually all right to do but for now you should avoid them. These are basically exercises that stretch the muscles under tension. The danger here is that the muscles will get stretched too far and tear.
7. This Is The Biggy. Not doing these exercises at this stage when your body is primed to recover and retighten presents missing a golden opportunity and usually leaves a woman with loose stomach muscles and a slightly rounded abdomen forever unless professional help and advice is followed.
Perform static stomach contractions and pelvic tilt exercises along with pelvic floor strengthening exercises. These are basically exercises where no movement occurs at the spine. As a rule do these whenever your baby sleeps, they only take a couple of minutes and are not physically demanding. That should mean doing these few exercises about four to five times a day.
Again some of the better gyms will be able to teach the correct exercises to do or look in the yellow pages for qualified personal trainers you should only need to be shown a couple of times.
8. Don't Rush. Being impatient and trying to do too much too soon will leave you feeling tired and susceptible to any bugs going. Your muscles will be weak and aerobic system poor and untrained and therefore both will have to be coaxed and nurtured back to full strength over a period of weeks not days.
9. Eat well and prosper. Now is the time to really eat well and make sure you are eating the right amount of nutrients and getting sufficient vitamins and minerals. Choose whole foods, fresh fruit and vegetables and allow yourself the odd comfort food.
Once or twice a week give yourself a treat, don't feel guilty about it, look forward to it and enjoy it. The occasional treat makes no difference whatsoever to your return to shape just as long as the majority of your diet is made up of good wholesome foods.
10. Sleep As Much As Possible. Easy for me to say hard for you to do. Try take naps during the day when your baby sleeps, change your priorities, let the house look a mess or a while, things will get easier as you get the hang of the situation.
A really good idea to use if you have someone to help you is every alternate night spend in the same room as your baby and on nights when you are not in the same room, sleep in another part of the house. This is going to mean relying on your partner or parent sleeping in the same room as your baby when you aren't there but it will ensure that every second night you will have an uninterrupted nights sleep.
This strategy will help to recharge your batteries and provide the energy to cope with what lies ahead of you each day.You will also expect to have a poor night on duty and this is therefore a good coping strategy to cope with the stress of lack of sleep. You will really look forward to your nights off.
Well that's it. I hope you have learned something from this guide. Just to summarize then: -
To get full details of what to eat, exercise and do to get into great shape after pregnancy go to