After giving birth, many new mums experience challenges with losing the weight they gained during pregnancy. It’s also common for new mums to encounter a phenomenon known as “mummy tummy” — when the “baby bump” lingers on, long after the baby is no longer taking up space in your womb.
If you’re suffering from either of these issues after having given birth, the following fitness tips are likely to help you make progress towards regaining your usual shape:
1. If Possible, Breastfeed Your Baby Exclusively
Exercise is critically important after you’ve given birth; but, believe it or not, there’s an exercise-free way to lose your baby weight and shrink your mummy tummy. According to peer-reviewed clinical research, exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first 3 months was found to result in several positive weight-related outcomes for new mums.
One is a greater amount of weight loss, with the difference being about 1.5 kilos total after a duration of 12 months. Another is a slightly increased probability that you’ll return to your same body mass index (BMI) or lower, and that you’ll also return to your usual pre-pregnancy weight or lower.
Surprisingly, according to experts at the Medical Clinics of North America, breastfeeding actually burns as many as 500 calories every day.
Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, and we’re not here to judge you if that isn’t the right solution for you and your baby. But, if you’re able to do it, it’ll give you a fantastic head start on slimming down postpartum.
2. Create a Realistic Postpartum Exercise Program
After you’ve fully healed from giving birth, exercise becomes a high priority. It’s ideal if you can speak with your GP or midwife for advice regarding how soon to start and what type of exercise would be most beneficial considering your unique situation.
Typically, new mums would benefit from doing a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week; brisk walking is a doable activity for most. Gentle pelvic floor exercises also tend to be beneficial for new mums. Resistance training might also be appropriate, depending on your abilities and fitness level.
3. Shun Added Sugar and Other Empty Calories
Too much sugar can cause many health problems, one of which is unwanted weight gain. It’s best to avoid sugary drinks and foods and instead to nourish yourself with more nutritious fare.
4. Consider Physiotherapy for Diagnosing and Treating Diastasis Recti
If your mummy tummy doesn’t go away despite exercising and eating a nutritious diet, it is possible that you may be suffering from a condition known as diastasis recti.
This can sometimes happen when a growing baby places more pressure on a pregnant woman’s rectus abdominis muscle than it can handle, and that pressure causes the muscle to separate.
The separated muscle doesn’t automatically heal itself after the baby is born; although it theoretically could heal itself in time, it frequently does not.
This is an issue that you may need professional help to diagnose and resolve. A physiotherapist could recommend exercises or other solutions for healing a diastasis recti condition.
5. Consider New Families Health Insurance
New families health insurance can be useful long after you’ve given birth to your new baby. You might benefit from utilising the services provided by a dietitian to ensure you and your baby are getting adequate postpartum nutrition; or you might discover that you need a physiotherapist’s help to resolve diastasis recti.
Or you might need any number of other allied health services, most of which are not covered by Medicare. But if you opt to enrol in an extras cover policy, you can get cover for these types of services through your private health fund. If you’re having trouble losing weight after giving birth, it is likely that you would find it worthwhile to do so.
These 5 tips can help you to lose the weight you gained as a result of your pregnancy and childbirth. They can also help you to ditch the “mummy tummy” that lingers on after your baby has left your womb. We also recommend these nutrition tips, which could help with weight loss at any time, including the postpartum phase.