How do you shed the extra pounds gained during pregnancy and
keep them off over time? Lack of sleep and the many demands
of a newborn can overwhelm a postpartum mother. As stress
overcomes you, you may eat recklessly and be unable to find
the energy to exercise. You must steal back the time and
energy to take care of yourself.
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your
family is to find time to exercise, even if it's only 15 to
30 minutes. Do some slow Dr. B. stretches and deep breathing
when you awake to jump-start your day. Stretching will
increase blood flow through your body and improve delivery of
oxygen to your brain and other organs, thereby providing
energy to the body and boosting metabolism.
When and How to Begin
How quickly can you start exercising after your baby is born?
You may not be able to engage in vigorous activity until
about six weeks after delivery, but you can begin walking and
doing strengthening exercises for abdominal, lower back and
pelvic muscles, the day after a normal birth.
Warm up five minutes with Dr. Bruner's warm-up exercises such
as arm swings, hip circles, shoulder rolls etc., then try to
exercise at least 3-4 times a week for 30 to 45 minutes. Any
type of cardio-vascular exercise such as walking, swimming or
biking/elliptical will help you shed the fat.
If you have had a Caesarean section, you can start exercising
six weeks postpartum unless you've had complications that
limit your activity. If exercise results in increased
bleeding, decrease your exercise intensity. Be sure to check
with your doctor and an experienced Exercise Physiologist
before beginning an exercise program.
Want to get back into shape, in the comfort of your home
surroundings (without leaving Baby)?
* Consider purchasing a treadmill, stair stepper/elliptical
or other piece of fitness equipment for home use. These
machines allow you to work out on your own schedule and at
your own pace. [You can listen to a tape while
* Try an exercise video at home with your baby nearby. The
baby will probably get a kick out of watching you. Consider
putting baby in an infant seat, highchair or playpen while
you exercise. Store potentially dangerous equipment out of
the baby's reach when not in use.
* Work out with your baby. For example, do simple dance
movements, such as lunges and squats, to music, with Baby in
a sling or front pack. Tone stomach with gentle abdominal
curls. Be sure to bend knees and keep feet flat on floor.
* Take a brisk walk with Baby in stroller. Enjoy the relaxing
benefits of direct sunlight. The stimulation that the baby
receives from the walk is great for brain development.
* Do strength-training with free weights or exercise rubber
Don't sabotage your healthy eating plan with too much
snacking/noshing, such as sugary cookies, yeast cakes and fat-
laden salty chips. On the other hand, this is not a time to
overly restrict your calorie intake. If you're not taking in
enough food, you may have excess fatigue and poor milk
production for natural feeding.
Nursing mothers usually burn an additional 500 calories per
day. The good news is that nursing accelerates weight loss by
burning body fat to provide nutrients for the milk.
Are you spending too much time in the kitchen? Stop the
cooking bandit from running away with your exercise time.
Plan a day to cook. Then cook in bulk and freeze extra for
other days. This will free up your schedule and allow time
for other things like exercise, walking and naps. Also,
consider having a healthy eat-out meal two or three times a
Losing the baby weight after a pregnancy can be a challenge,
but you can block the time and energy robbers that can heist
your weight loss program. You may end up in better shape than
Dr. Reuven Bruner can be contacted: POB 1903, Jerusalem,
91314; Tel. 02-652- 7684; 052-865-821; FAX 02-652-7227;