Lose ‘Baby Fat’ After Pregnancy With These 6 Exercises
Written by Colette Bouchez
In this Article
- 1. Walking
- 2. Deep Belly Breathing With Abdominal Contraction
- 3. Head Lifts, Shoulder Lifts, and Curl-Ups
- 4. Kneeling Pelvic Tilt
- 5. Kegels
- 6. Bonus Workouts for Baby and Mom
Getting your body back after having a baby is not as hard as you might think.
Research shows that starting a regular exercise program soon after giving birth is not only good for your overall health, but may also help reduce the risk of postpartum depression.
Every pregnancy and delivery are different, so check with your doctor before engaging in any workout program after giving birth. If you experience any heavy bleeding, excessive soreness, headaches, or other unusual symptoms during or right after exercising, stop immediately and call your doctor for advice.
Here are some moves that will help you get your body ready for regular exercise.
Why It’s Good For You: It may not sound like much of a workout, but walking is one of the simplest ways to ease into a fitness routine after giving birth.
How It’s Done: Start with an easy stroll. Eventually you’ll work your way up to a pumped-up power walk. But a gentle walk can still do wonders for you and your body, especially in the beginning. Bringing baby along in a front pack will add extra weight that can increase the benefits.
For a variation, try walking backward or walking in a zigzag pattern to help keep your muscles guessing. You should not include baby in this activity until you’ve mastered it and are certain of your balance.
Why It’s Good for You: This exercise is so easy you can do it an hour after giving birth. It helps relax muscles, and it starts the process of strengthening and toning your abs and belly.
How It’s Done: Sit upright and breathe deeply, drawing air from the diaphragm upward. Contract and hold your abs tight while inhaling and relax while exhaling. Gradually increase the amount of time you can contract and hold your abs.
Why They’re Good For You: These three movements help strengthen back muscles. They also tone the tummy and abs and burn calories.
How They’re Done:
- Head lifts: Lie on your back with your arms along your sides. Keeping your lower back flush to the floor, bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor. Relax your belly as you inhale. As you exhale, slowly lift your head and neck off the floor. Inhale as you lower your head back down.
- Shoulder lifts: When you can do 10 head lifts with ease, try this move. Get in the same position you did for head lifts. Inhale and relax your belly. As you exhale, raise your head and your shoulders off the floor, reaching your arms and hands toward your knees.
If this strains your neck, fold both hands behind your head, but don’t pull on your neck. Inhale as you lower your head and shoulders back down.
- Curl-ups: When you can do 10 shoulder lifts, move on to this. Start in the same position on the floor. Lift your torso until it’s about halfway between your knees and the floor behind you. Reach toward your knees and hold for 2 to 5 seconds. Then, slowly lower yourself down.
Don’t forget to breathe. Exhale when you exert. Inhale when you relax.
Why It’s Good for You: This aaahh—inspiring exercise helps tone your tummy. Strengthening your abs can also relieve back pain.
How It’s Done: Start on all fours, toes touching the floor behind you, arms straight down from your shoulder line, palms touching the floor. Your back should be relaxed and straight, not curved or arched. As you inhale, pull your buttocks forward, tilting your pelvis and rotating your pubic bone upward. Hold for a count of three, and release.
Why They’re Good for You: This classic exercise will help you tone bladder muscles and help reduce risks of incontinence associated with childbirth. The more kegels you do, and the longer you hold them, the better control you will have over those leaks caused by sneezing, laughing, or picking up your baby.
How They’re Done: Your goal is to contract and hold the muscles that control the flow of urine. To get which muscles they are, start by doing the exercise while you use the bathroom. As you urinate, manipulate your muscles until the stream temporarily stops. Then release and let the urine flow. Remember what that feels like, and when you’re not urinating, contract, hold, and release those same muscles. Try to do this 10 times per session, three times a day.
It can be hard to find time away from your baby in the early months, so try these exercises that you can do with your infant. Take caution when completing them. You may want to practice first using a doll or a rolled-up blanket or towel that’s the same size as your baby. Do the moves full-out only when you’re certain there’s no danger of dropping your baby. Make sure you’re fit enough, and have a good enough sense of balance, to assure your and your baby’s safety.
- The baby glider: Holding your baby close to your chest, do a forward lunge with your left leg (take a big step forward and bend your knee). Don’t let your toes go past your knee. Then return to starting position and lunge with the opposite leg. This will help strengthen your legs, back muscles, and core. Repeat 8-10 times on each side.
- The baby bouncer: This move is similar to the baby glider, but instead of forward lunges, do side lunges — stepping to the side instead of to the front — and do a squat. Reach back with your behind as if you’re sitting in a chair, keeping your knees over your ankles. Repeat 8-10 times to each side.
- Rock-a-baby squats and curls: Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Holding your baby tight and close to your chest, squat down, allowing your baby’s feet to touch the floor. As you rise up, bring the baby closer to your chest. Repeat 15 times. Note: You should do this exercise only when your baby is at least 10 to 12 weeks old.
Getting back into working out: Exercise as a new mom
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Getting back into working out after having a baby can be tough, but even just a little bit of postpartum exercise can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being. If you’re struggling to find time to exercise, consider a mom and baby workout where your little one can come with you, or stream an online workout at home while your baby is napping. Another idea, once you and your baby’s sleep schedules feel a little more stable: Wake up before everyone else and squeeze in some solo workout time.
Photo credit: iStock.com / M_a_y_a
For many new moms, finding time to exercise may take a back seat to more pressing concerns, like caring for your growing family or squeezing in a few extra moments of precious, precious sleep. But postpartum exercise has many benefits worth tapping into, from relieving stress and boosting energy to strengthening your core and even promoting more restful slumber.
Once you’ve seen your healthcare provider at your postpartum checkup and they’ve given you the go ahead to start working out again, you may find that even just short bursts of exercise can leave you feeling more reenergized and refreshed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week, which can include anything from a one-hour fitness class to something as simple as a ten-minute walk around your neighborhood. It’s all about finding what works best for you.
In the throes of 4 a.m. feedings and unpredictable baby sleep patterns, it can be hard to even think about getting back into working out. But there are creative ways to fit some physical activity into your schedule and lifestyle. Here are a few ideas:
Try a mom and baby workout
Whether it’s a formal mommy and me exercise class or a walk around the neighborhood with your little one in tow, working out while spending time with your baby is multitasking at its finest.
- Put your baby in the stroller and go for a walk. When your baby is at least 6 months old, they can go in a jogging stroller and you can pick up the pace.
- Head out for a walk with your little one in a baby carrier or sling. If your baby is sitting up, they can go for a hike in a backpack carrier. (Just make sure your baby is well supported – a sling is fine for a walk around the block, but isn’t a good option for a more rigorous adventure or a hike through the hills. Make sure you’re supported too, and that whatever carrier you’re using doesn’t strain your shoulders, neck, or back.)
- Check out local health clubs, gyms, or yoga studios. Many offer postpartum exercise classes suitable for new moms as well as daycare or even classes you can take with your baby. If your gym doesn’t offer postpartum classes, pick a low-impact class that has a decent warm-up period (at least 10 minutes) and includes stretching and toning. Note: If you’re thinking of joining a club that offers babysitting services, look for one that has a safe, secure area staffed by trained childcare providers and a clean, inviting playroom stocked with age-appropriate toys and books. Also look for one with a low child-to-staff ratio (about four children to every adult) and a policy of not accepting sick children.
- Join a mom-and-baby stroller exercise program like Momleta or Stroller Strides – local fitness clubs in your neighborhood may offer something similar. It’s a great way to get outside, exercise, meet other moms, and spend time with your baby.
Schedule time for exercise
Finding time to exercise on the fly may be difficult, so if you’re able to consider when working out may work best for you and plan ahead, you might have more success.
- Have your partner or another caregiver watch the baby for 30 minutes so you can get out for a walk around the neighborhood and enjoy some time to yourself.
- If your maternity leave is over and you’re back at work outside the house, try getting up about an hour before everyone else in the morning and head to the gym. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, get up before your partner leaves to squeeze in some exercise.
- Bring your sneakers and a change of clothes to work and go for a stroll or to the gym during your lunch break – you can do the same if you’re working remotely.
Find a postpartum exercise you can do at home
There’s no shortage of great and easily accessible streaming workouts and videos you can access at home, including BabyCenter’s Postpartum Exercises series.
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- Consider investing in some home exercise equipment that you can use while your baby is napping or otherwise occupied. It doesn’t have to be a stationary bike – even something as small as a jump rope or some free weights will help you get moving.
- If you’re on a budget, search online for free exercise videos, or download an exercise app on your smartphone. It’s easy to find everything from aerobics to meditation to kickboxing.
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Amy Cassell was a senior editor at BabyCenter, the world’s number one digital parenting resource, where she wrote and edited wellness and lifestyle content about pregnancy and parenting. She lives in Seattle with her husband and daughter – and when she’s not writing, you’ll likely find her exploring with her family, at a brewery with friends, or on the couch with a book.
Fitness for moms — we do it together with the baby
10 years of athletics, 3 years of volleyball. Participant and winner of numerous sports competitions.
All young mothers who care about their health and body should not forget about proper nutrition and fitness with their baby.
To get in shape, restore the former flexibility of the body after pregnancy and childbirth, it is not necessary to immediately run to a fitness club. It is enough for a young mother to regularly perform home fitness workouts and the baby is absolutely not a hindrance to this, on the contrary, this has its advantages:
- the baby is always there;
- it is interesting for a child to observe and take part in training with his mother.
Baby is a great addition to your workouts. Together it is fun, and, most importantly, useful and safe.
Training at home with a small child is an affordable reality
How to restore the harmony and flexibility of the body?
With age, or after pregnancy and childbirth, the plasticity of the body is lost.
A series of complex stretching and flexibility exercises, prepared by Valentina Zorina, will help to bring her back. In training, a young mother can easily perform all the exercises, even in the presence of a baby.
- Reduced risk of injury.
Stretching allows the muscles to withstand heavy loads. Joints become stronger and more mobile.
- Relief from muscle pain.
Stretching relaxes and lengthens muscles, reducing pain and tension.
- Immunity strengthening.
Due to the plasticity of the body, blood flow to the muscles and general circulation are improved. This has a positive effect on the functioning of the cardiovascular system and protects the body from other diseases.
- Correct posture formation.
Regular stretching exercises help relieve muscle tension and stiffness, the body straightens and the back becomes straighter.
- Improved athletic performance.
Complex fitness exercises for flexibility make the muscles work more efficiently, which has a positive effect on the final results in sports.
- Source of good mood and cheerfulness.
Regular flexibility exercises relax the body and muscles. It charges with new forces, good mood and well-being.
Restoring harmony and flexibility of the body after childbirth
How to strengthen and restore the body after childbirth is one of the most common questions young mothers have. We hear no less often: what fitness workouts will help you recover? What exercises can a young mother do with her baby?
Professional trainer, master of sports in rhythmic gymnastics Valentina Zorina knows the answer and invites you to a home workout under the program «For moms. Flexibility».
Daily physical activity will help a young mother to regain harmony and flexibility of her body. Thanks to uniquely designed exercises, a young mother can train at home with her baby. Exercises are aimed at working out problem areas — the abdomen, thighs and buttocks.
Exercise at any convenient time, following a few simple rules for the best result:
- before training, be sure to do a warm-up;
- breathe slowly and deeply, do not hold your breath;
- stretch the muscles gently, without sudden movements;
- hold the maximum stretch position for 15-30 seconds;
- if you feel tension in your muscles, stop and try stretching again.
The program consists of 12 workouts, 6 of which are rest days for homework. This will help to consolidate the result and move towards the goal.
Join our team. With us you will learn a lot of new and interesting things. You can easily choose a training program that is right for you.
at home and with a child
Beauty Ideas /
I’m Mom! Here it is, a joyful and long-awaited event. But along with it came endless chores with feeding, hygiene, diapers. With sleepless nights. Such a cycle! Now I, a young mother, almost entirely belong to him — the new meaning of my life, tiny, so defenseless, infinitely loved! Life began to play with new colors.
But giving myself completely to the baby, I, nevertheless, do not forget about myself. How do you want to quickly become slim and fit again, regain your former grace and attractiveness. In combination with motherhood awakened in full force, this desire literally inspires.
Two weeks later, the same cherished numbers on the scales as before pregnancy. But! In the mirror I see an exhausted shapeless woman. No not like this. I see a deflated balloon, in some places. And the volume of the abdomen, on the contrary, exceeds all conceivable norms, so you seem to yourself still pregnant in the fifth month of commercials. Uff and oops. Pull up here and here, and also here. The task is unrealistic, considering that the baby even sleeps in my arms. But what can I say — you can get into the toilet only with the generous permission of the little master! In rare moments of respite, you want to get to the sofa and blissfully stretch out to your full height, give a little rest to your long-suffering back. And with sincere gratitude to smile at the household, who took care of everyday life.
The only available way to get back to normal is long walks in the fresh air, which is good for the baby too. Here’s an alternative to fitness for you. In addition, such walks improve not only muscle tone, but also blood circulation.
Weeks pass… The new member of the family adjusted everyone to his rhythm of life. And little by little I can already pay attention to my beloved. Five minutes in the morning and evening for facial treatment. Half an hour for a manicure on one hand, the next day — another half an hour on the other hand. And only when the baby began to confidently hold his miniature head, showing off with all his appearance: “Mom! Look how I can! ”, It’s time to think about how to diversify fitness walks with a baby in a stroller with real exercises.
Do no harm
In any case, experts recommend refraining from training in the first two months after childbirth. It is also better to postpone classes for four to five months if the baby appeared as a result of a caesarean section. It would not hurt to consult a doctor. The main thing is not to start too zealously: the load must be dosed according to well-being, increasing gradually, in small steps.
Where do we start? Elementary Watson. First you need to ask permission from the little master. He wrinkles his nose, whimpering in displeasure. Another second and the room resounded with such crying that there was nothing left but to pick him up again, carefully put him in a sling and … start practicing together. I hold the baby with my hands so that my movements do not disturb him. I include songs from children’s cartoons. The baby sleeps pretty well. Everyone, we are ready. Are you with us? So let’s get started.
Moving in a wide circle, slowly, without sudden movements, I arrange a “promenade” around the room: first on the toes, then on the heels, on the inside of the foot, on the outside.
Without taking my toes off the floor, alternately raise my heels. It turns out «walking».
Feet shoulder width apart. I lift one leg on the toe, at the same time I turn the whole body in the opposite direction. I switch legs and repeat the movement. It turns out a kind of wiggle. The kid seemed to be on a swing.
Leg swings to the side, forward. Try to raise your legs higher, while your back should be as even as possible.
One leg is slightly set back, the other is resting on the sofa, the knee is bent. I bend as much as possible. I straighten my leg. After a few sets, I switch legs. The same lunges can be done without a sofa, add lunges to the side, rolling from foot to foot, but with a child in your arms it is more difficult.
I perform partial squats, lightly touching the edge of the chair. This simple exercise gives amazing results — almost all muscle groups of the legs, buttocks and back work. Do not forget that the baby in the arms creates an additional burden.
My baby fell asleep during class. And yours?
Like this, slowly, first five sets, then seven, ten, twenty. A month later, I noted with pleasure to myself that my butt no longer resembles a deflated ball, and my hips by no means can be called sluggish. Not difficult? Even funny. The main thing is not to make sudden movements, jumps and runs, so as not to harm the delicate back of the baby.
The baby has grown and grown stronger, he is already six months old. Well, it’s time to add exercises with the active participation of the baby to the joint classes. And, of course, take care of your still not quite bounced back press. You can remove the stomach by alternating physical activity of varying degrees of intensity.
We pump the press: lying on the back (fix the legs), raise the body as much as we can. The baby at this time can sit at the head. Every time you approach him, say “coo-coo”. You can also cover your face with your hands. My baby was actively involved in the game, laughed, slapped my face. It turned out to be very fun.
No less fun than the previous one. A kind of bridge: I lie on my back, my legs are bent at the knees, the baby sits on my stomach. I hold it with my hands. I raise my pelvis. I omit. The baby is happy to rock up and down.
Lying on my back, legs up and knees bent. The baby lies on my legs, I hold him. I pull my legs up to my face, trying to touch my forehead with my knees, or at least trying to do so. Difficult? Yes, not the knees, but the forehead of the baby is in contact with my forehead, causing a storm of delight.
Do you remember the nursery rhyme “The Bears Riding a Bicycle”? Under this rhyme, it is very fun to perform the “bike” exercise with the child: lying on your back, with your feet we “pedal” first forward, then back. The circle should be made as large as possible. The child can lie next to him and also “ride”, with your help, of course. You can put it on your stomach if you are ready for such a load.
Great, isn’t it? Both you and the baby received a lot of positive emotions. I’ll tell you a little secret: you can come up with exercises yourself, using your usual exercises that you did on your own as basic ones. Unless you’re a tightrope walker, though… The options are many. A “manual” child is not only an additional burden on mommy, but also a source of inspiration. Add elements of the game to the exercise, adapt to your well-being and the level of physical development of the child. Take care of safety. Nature itself will help you — maternal instinct.