OB ABCs

Month 5

month_05While you may have run 5 miles every day before the advanced stages of your pregnancy, you likely will not have the energy or exercise capacity to pick up where you left off.

You’re five months post-pregnancy, and you feel ready to hit the gym—but you find your body may not quite be in sync.

While you may have run 5 miles every day before the advanced stages of your pregnancy, you likely will not have the energy or exercise capacity to pick up where you left off.

Before exercising at all, make sure you get your healthcare provider’s approval. The level of exercise you can perform post-birth often depends upon your level of activity before you had your baby. If you were exercising right up until you had your child and underwent a vaginal birth, you may be anxious to return to activity as directed by your provider (usually six weeks). A cesarean birth, however, may mean you should wait up to eight weeks prior to exercising to allow your body proper recovery time.

Remember, during pregnancy, your joints and ligaments have a tendency to loosen, which can cause you to feel clumsier or less in control of your body following birth. Take it easy as you resume exercises that require coordination, such as step aerobics or dance class.

Rules of Post-Pregnancy Exercise

As your body re-adjusts after baby, it’s important to start small, such as a 30-minute walk three times per week. Walking is ideal for post-pregnancy exercise because of its low impact on the joints and cardiovascular benefits. You can even purchase a jogging/walking stroller and take your baby along for the ride.

If you are overly preoccupied with the idea of losing your post-baby belly, remember some of this stretching has more to do with your enlarged uterus and less to do with underlying fat. The uterus may take up to six weeks or longer to return to its pre-baby form, meaning patience is required as you work to get back in shape. This process can be sped up with breastfeeding, which creates hormones that signal the uterus to continue shrinking.

Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to lose your baby weight. Just as it took 40 weeks to gain the weight, it can take a significant amount of time to keep it off. When you stop expecting miracles to happen overnight, you can focus on your new baby and your health, which often will result in losing your pregnancy weight.

TIPS

  • An estimated 50 percent of those suffering from perinatal mood disorders are undiagnosed.
  • Perinatal mood disorders do not include just depression. Intense feelings of anxiety also may constitute a perinatal mood disorder. If you find yourself experiencing overwhelming feelings of worry or anxiety, discuss your symptoms with a physician.