Workouts aside, as a new mom you’ve already done one of the strongest things your body will ever do–bringing that little bundle of joy to life. But with all the attention you’re showing that wee one, don’t forget about you, too, mommy.
Your post-pregnancy body may look like a mere shell of your former self. That’s completely to be expected–you did just make a human, after all. But if you watch celebs who recently rocked baby bumps seemingly transform immediately to red-carpet ready, you may feel under pressure to fit right back into those skinny jeans of pre-parenting days.
Post-Pregnancy Body Changes Take Time
You already know comparing yourself to anyone–celebrities especially–is never a good idea. You are you, and your body has brought you to where you are today. And if that token doesn’t help, maybe what model-turned-momma Chrissy Teigen said in a Today show interview about famous moms losing weight will change your mind:
“Anyone in the public eye, we have all the help we could ever need to be able to shed everything…So I think people get this jaded sensation that everybody’s losing it so quickly, but we just happen to be the ones who are out there. We have nutritionists, we have dietitians, we have trainers, we have our own schedules, we have nannies. We have people who make it possible for us to get back into shape. But nobody should feel like that’s normal, or like that’s realistic.”
Bottom line, when it comes to your post-pregnancy body, patience is a virtue.
Post-Pregnancy Body Patience
Patience will come in handy in multiple ways:
- Time: Without a lot of extra help from family, friends, and even hired babysitters, baby will often dictate your schedule. Look for ways to add your itty bitty to your exercises–be it going on walks, taking mommy-and-me classes, or using the little snuggler to add a few extra pounds to body-weight exercises, such as air squats and overhead presses.
- Progress: Even if you were killing it in the gym pre-baby, it doesn’t mean you’ll pick up right where you left off post pregnancy. Once your doc gives the OK, ease back into workouts reducing reps, sets, weight, and time under pressure.
- Results: Your post-pregnancy body has changed thanks to hormones and how your muscles and skeletal structure adapted to carrying around another life form within you. You may have extra fat stores you didn’t before to help with breastfeeding and any ab muscles you once had may now be stretched and weakened. Bouncing back could take longer than shedding pounds or toning up did in the past.
Post-Pregnancy Body Exercises
It’s important to remember it took nine months to reach your post-pregnancy body, so getting back to where you were isn’t going to happen overnight. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Use the post-pregnancy body exercises below–ones targeting areas that might be weakened or not-as-they-once-were–to help get you back on the right path. Build up your cardio endurance (which you’ll need to keep up with the energy of that growing baby) by turning the following exercises into a circuit. Do all the reps of each exercise before immediately moving into the next exercise. Complete three to five sets, taking a one to two minute break in between each round.
- Glute bridges: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. With your arms flat by your side, squeeze your butt and lift your pelvis up. The front of your body should be one flat plane. At the top of the bridge, hold a three-second kegel releasing the hold after you lower your butt back to the floor. Complete 15 reps.
- Push ups: Depending on your strength level, complete a standard push up either on your toes or on bent knees. Keep your core engaged, thinking about trying to touch the back of your belly button toward the back of your spine. Complete 10 reps.
- Exercise ball forearm planks: Kneel in front of a large exercise stability ball and place your forearms shoulder-width apart on the ball. Reach your feet back into a plank position, similar to the top of a push up. Hold the plank, keeping the ball steady, for at least 30 seconds. Work up to longer holds over time.
- Oblique crunches: Stand with your feet below your hips and your hands behind your head with your elbow out to the side. Lift your right knee up and out to the side while at the same time crunching your elbow down to touch your knee. Complete 12 reps on each side.
- Walking lunges: Walk forward on your left foot bending your knee to a right angle and keeping your chest up. Step up and forward with your right foot sinking back down into your next lunge. Complete 40 total steps. Does baby need to be held? This is a great exercise to add the little one in as a bit of extra weight.
What post-pregnancy body issues are you struggling with? Share them in the comments!