You worked out before you fell pregnant and you already plan on working out after your delivery. During your pregnancy, an exercise regimen under a doctor’s watchful eye can not only help make delivery easier but also speed recovery time, and get your body ready for the change in activity you will experience once baby arrives.
I asked Vicki Feldman, a trainer at Orangetheory Fitness in East Cobb, what she advises expecting and new mothers who want to workout. Here are her five tips:
1.) With all the necessary rocking, cradling, picking up, and putting down, my arms are not ready for full time hands-on parenting. What can I do to get them ready while I’m pregnant?
“After giving birth, carrying a baby and maneuvering a baby requires repetitive muscle movements. There are arm exercises that can help. Bicep curls and front and lateral shoulder raises can help strengthen the biceps and shoulders for lifting. Tricep kickbacks or overhead tricep extensions will help for the back of the arms. All arm work should be done with a focus on core stabilization as it is very important to protect the back. Abdominals should be contracted and weight lifting should not move the rest of the body. Picture the core looking like the trunk of a tree.”
2.) I worked out during my pregnancy and I took a few weeks off to heal after giving birth. What’s the best way to get back on the horse?
“Women should stay aware of their body while ‘getting back on the horse.’ [They] should begin slowly with walking, staying aware of fatigue, especially coupled with sleep deprivation.”
3.) My child hates being put down but constantly carrying around that little bundle of joy makes my back ache.
“Carrying a baby and breast feeding often can cause poor posture and some back discomfort. Incorporating a workout program of both cardio and strength is ideal. Adding in workouts that also strengthen the back, rear shoulders and hamstrings can add balance.”
4.) Is there an exercise I can do to help with breast soreness?
“I recommend pushups, modified pushups or chest presses and flies to help the underlying pectoral muscles. This will strengthen the muscles connected with breast soreness. If breastfeeding, plan an exercise routine following breastfeeding or pumping. This will be more effective as the swelling will be reduced.”
5.) My pre-pregnancy bra and workout shorts just will not cut it. What should I wear?
“A supportive bra is essential to a new mother’s wardrobe. A loose fitting shirt over a sports bra can be more comfortable for working out, especially since most new mothers are anxious to get rid of extra pounds. Clothes that wick moisture away and shorts with elastic waistbands are also essential for comfort.”
Vicki also wants every expecting and new mother to remember, “It takes nine months to have a baby, take the time to get back to pre-baby weight!”