Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a little human being! Tough and rewarding at the same time, I hope you’re enjoying every moment. You may well still be in that ‘me and my baby’ bubble at the moment, but if you’re coming out of that and suddenly thinking, ‘omg what has happened to my body’ then these tips will hopefully help you come to terms with your newly created mum-body and help you move to the next stage.
You may well be lucky and from the outside you’ve ‘pinged back’ to your old self pretty quickly (you’ll probably have lots of other mums cursing you for this 😊) but, that’s not to say that your insides are as happy. Your body has gone through a huge amount of change over the last 9 months, culminating in what can only be likened to that scene in Alien, so naturally your body is now knackered and needs rehabilitation.
There are so many factors that determine how your body recovers after such a traumatic experience: age, fitness levels before and during pregnancy, general health, the interventions used in labour and the overall birthing experience to name a few. And yes, even if you had a relatively simple birth, there is still a lot of ‘trauma’ that happens to your insides, so there’s always healing to be done for everyone.
So, you’re looking down and seeing what everyone describes as a ‘mum tum’; you feel a little loose and things jiggle; you get out of breath running upstairs to get a nappy; you have stretchmarks; your undercarriage and your boobs just don’t feel like your own. You’re not the only one! Most new mums will be experiencing this, whether they say it or not.
So my first tip is: Don’t worry about it and just embrace it. It’s not forever. You will get back to feeling more like yourself but you just need to give it time. What has happened to you is an amazing thing so just think about what your body did to give you that gorgeous little person.
Secondly: It’s not a race to ‘ping back’ and it never should be a competition with other mums. Everyone is different and recovers at different times so please DO NOT compare yourself to others!
What not to do:
Don’t be unrealistic. It took you 9 months to grow this person and for your body to change, so it’s going to take time to change back. This could take you more than a year so don’t worry, you’re not abnormal.
Don’t weigh yourself. I tell all my clients, whatever stage of life they’re at to NOT get reliant on the scales. They aren’t a great indicator anyway, but you also get into a very unhealthy mindset and can become obsessive over that pound here and there. Instead, use your clothing as an indicator – can you fit back into your pre-pregnancy jeans for example. And use how you feel too – are you able to run upstairs without getting breathless?
Don’t wait until the weight has come off to buy pretty clothes – make yourself feel good now. Yes, you may not be in those clothes long before you get to your ideal shape, but who wants to live in dumpy unflattering clothing until then?
What to do to help:
Feed yourself healthy. It’s really important not to neglect your nutrition. I know you’re thinking it’s hard enough to drink a hot cup of tea these days, so how the hell do I prepare a healthy meal? Well this is where you need to ask for help and utilise things like pre-chopped veg packets etc. And don’t forget your hydration – this is really important, so make sure you’re sipping water throughout the day. This will really help energy levels.
Ask your partner/ family to give you some time for yourself – it’s important that you have time to spend on yourself where you’re not thinking about your baby
Get out of the house and go walking with the pram. It is a complete mission getting a baby out of the house, but try and get out every day so that you don’t get cabin fever and so that you get some Vitamin D and fresh air. And, the bonus is that you get in some light exercise!
Take things slow when it comes to exercise. It’s not safe to rush back into your old routine. Start with simple stretches at the beginning of the day to loosen the muscles. Work on exercises that help with your alignment – opening up the chest and strengthening the core and back. Opt for exercises such as squats and press ups against the wall to start with and ease your way in.
Work on your breathing and pelvic floor activation. It’s not just about doing your 100 kegels each day. When you’re doing every day activities, such as lifting baby up, when breathing out pull up the pelvic floor to activate the core too.
I’d really love women to embrace their new body**, not hide it away and not get stressed out about how it’s not quite right. We aren’t supermodels or famous actresses who have a personal trainer every day and have chefs at their disposal, so we’re never going to ‘ping back’ as quick as they supposedly do (although I suspect some of what we see is an illusion in some cases!).
So please don’t compare, don’t stress, don’t rush and just be.
** I love Emily Skye for this – she recently posted pictures on social media to highlight that not everyone has this amazing body straight after childbirth. For those who don’t know her, she’s a fitness influencer, who’s living has been made from looking and being extremely fit. Even she realised that she needed to give her body some love and time to heal. We need to see more articles like this!
I do a variety of postnatal classes for whichever stage you’re at from my BabyFit Restore private session which is for initial rehabilitation, BabyFit Indoor for those wanting core strengthening to my BabyFit Buggy for those that are able to be more active. Check out this page for info. I also do personal training if you have specific issues you want to address and would like more individual attention. Feel free to contact me about either of these options
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