Congrats! Welcome to the world of nurseries and night feeds. You’ve waddled the pregnancy gauntlet – but probably don’t feel like your body is any lighter. Here’s the thing: all women gain weight during pregnancy that doesn’t disappear the moment baby arrives.
It takes time, but physical activity will help you to recuperate muscle tone. These exercises also encourage the release of prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk production. “If you’ve had a straightforward vaginal delivery, you can return to light exercise after a few days if you feel up to it. With stitches, it’ll be more like three weeks,” says physio Becky Dyer, founder of online fitness programme Body Beyond Birth.
Baby came out the sunroof? “A Caesarean is major abdominal surgery, so wait at least eight weeks, but you can walk and do pelvic floor exercises from day one.” When it comes to cardio, ease back into it. “Don’t try anything high-impact, such as running or skipping, until your core muscles can handle it,” says Body Beyond Birth’s Pilates instructor Jackie Steele. Not waiting until you’re ready could spell discomfort and light bladder leakage. Um, no thanks!
Check with your doctor before starting this workout plan.
Green light from your doc sorted? Awesome. Do this workout three times a week, following the pattern applicable to you.
Month one: Do three sets of each exercise, resting 30 seconds between sets.
Month two: Do the exercises in pairs: 1 with 2, 3 with 4, rest for 30 seconds, then 5 with 6, rest, and 7 with 8. Repeat the entire sequence for a total of three rounds. Month three: Do one set of each exercise, moving from one to the next without rest. Once you’ve completed all exercises, rest for two minutes, then repeat for a total of three rounds.
1/ PELVIC TONER
2/ ABDOMINAL REBUILDER
Sit on the ball with hips and knees at 90 degrees (A). Keeping your core tight, lean your upper body backward, but don’t let your back touch the ball (B). Return to start using a slow, controlled movement. That’s one rep. Do 15.
3/ OBLIQUE BUILDER
Lie on your right side with your right forearm and edge of your foot on the ground. Keep your left hand on your hip and the side of your left foot resting on your right (A). Raise your hips, forming a straight line between your shoulders and feet. Maintain a tight core (B). Hold for 30 seconds, then swap sides.
4/ CORE STRENGTHENER
Lie down on your stomach, toes and forearms on the floor, palms flat down, elbows stacked under your shoulders (A). Raise your hips, forming a straight line from head to ankles (B). Hold for 30 seconds.
5/ ABDUCTOR CONDITIONER
Lie on your right side with your right leg bent for balance. Stretch your left leg out. Support your head with your right hand (A). Raise your left leg towards the ceiling, keeping it straight (B). Return to start without touching your leg to the floor. That’s one rep. Do 15, then repeat
on the other side.
6/ BACK AND BUM BUILDER
Kneel on all fours – on knees and forearms – maintaining a tight core (A). Raise your left leg and stretch it behind you (B). Return to start without your knee touching the ground. That’s one rep. Do 15, then repeat on the other side.