Exercise after baby: movement makes motherhood a little better

The idea of physical activity probably sounds overwhelming when you’re coping with the added responsibilities of a new baby, but it’s important to be active when you can. Even just a little bit of light exercise each day is helpful in reducing stress, improving self-esteem, increasing energy, regulating moods, getting your body back in shape, and sleeping more soundly when you do have the chance to rest.

If you had a healthy pregnancy and a vaginal delivery, you should be able to start exercising again soon after the baby is born. If you had a C-section or other complications, ask your health care provider when it is safe to begin exercising again.

The best exercise is the one you can do safely and regularly. You know your body better than anyone – listen to it! When you are ready to start exercising, here are some ideas for getting the recommended 20-30 minutes of movement each day:

  • Walking is a great way to get back in shape. Walking outside has an added bonus because you can push your baby in a stroller and get a little fresh air.
  • Check out fitness DVDs and online exercise programs you can do right at home. Many are designed for women who have just had a baby. Some even show you how to involve your baby in the exercise routines.
  • Check with your local fitness clubs or community centers for classes that interest you, such as yoga, Pilates, spinning, and dance. Some gyms even offer special postpartum exercise programs, classes you can take with your baby, or childcare options to watch baby while you sweat. Classes offer the added benefit of social time and the chance to meet workout buddies that keep you motivated!

Adapted from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

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