Postpartum Exercise

Start planning your post-pregnancy fitness regimen now. You'll be back out there in no time!

You may be excited about the fact that you'll soon be able to lace up your sneakers (and see your feet again) and head outside for a run or to your favorite step class. Though you'll need to wait until your doctor gives you the OK to start to exercise again, you can start planning your post-pregnancy workouts now.

Start with walking. Take a 5-minute walk and then come home and see how you feel. If nothing bleeds, pulls, or aches, take a 6-minute walk tomorrow and a 7-minute walk the next day. During these first few forays out into the world, don't carry your baby in a frontpack or push him in a stroller because the strain may be too much. Ask your partner to take care of the baby while you go out or have your partner push or carry the baby.

Let your body tell you how much activity to do during the first few weeks. After you've walked comfortably and safely for a week or two, build up from there, adding some gentle upper-body stretching or a postpartum exercise class. If you're breastfeeding, forget about weight loss until a couple of weeks postpartum when your milk supply is firmly established. Some weight will come off automatically during the first few days as your body relinquishes the stored fluids it needed during pregnancy. The rest will come off gradually as you become more active. If you're nursing, your body needs 500 calories a day more than it needed before you conceived, so eat enough and eat healthfully.



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        Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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