Tips for Pre- and Postnatal Fitness

The 9 Months After Baby

Seventy percent of moms are unsatisfied with their bodies even nine months after giving birth. Even those lucky few who do take off their pregnancy weight don't necessarily regain their same body composition. No matter how fit you are throughout your pregnancy, you'll need special training for your new role as a mother. P

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regnancy and childbirth can wreak great challenges on your body, all which are reparable with a sound exercise program.

Very soon after childbirth, most doctors say new moms can start out with a program of gentle stretching, slow walking, abdominal contractions and Kegel exercises. Your body is a good barometer and will tell you when you're doing too much through increased vaginal bleeding. If that happens, it's time to rest and relax some more. Build back to a fitness program very slowly. Most doctors will recommend that you wait six weeks after childbirth to begin a formal exercise program. The nice thing is that you don't have to leave your baby to get in your work out.

Front Pack Carrier Workout

A must-have for every new mom is a front pack carrier. These handy holders let mom carry baby around and keep her arms free. Baby loves the motion and being close to mom, and mom loves the freedom. What moms might not realize is that that same carrier can also be a great work out. Because baby's weight is evenly distributed, it adds a functional weight to the workout. The only downside we can find with a front pack carrier is that it can wreak havoc on your posture. New moms already suffer from posture problems aggravated from feeding, picking up baby, car seats and more.

The best way to use a baby carrier is to focus on stretching the chest area and strengthening the upper back. When wearing the carrier, regularly contract your shoulder blades, bringing them together as if you were squeezing a pencil. Keep shoulders down and back, and neck long and relaxed. Exercises you can do with a front pack carrier include lunges, plie squats and wall sits. Obviously, baby's safety comes first.

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Stroller Workout

Every new mom has some type of stroller. Not only is it a great mode of transportation, it makes a great workout. You can get a great cardiovascular workout while walking or running with your stroller, and you can get a great strength workout by doing lunges or squats. Pushing a stroller incorrectly is a sure way to sabotage your posture and to wind up with an injury. Take an inventory of your body from head to toe. Here are some Stroller Strides tips:

  1. Walk with good posture at all times.
  2. Keep shoulders low and pulled back.
  3. Lead with your chest. Imagine that you have a string attached at your sternum (the bone between your breasts) and it is pulling you forward.
  4. Hold in your abs, not your breath.
  5. Keep a soft bend in your arms and keep wrists in neutral alignment.
  6. Stroller Stride: When walking, feet and knees should be facing forward. You can do long, powerful strides and/or short, quick strides. Work at an intensity where you are a little out of breath but not so out of breath that you cannot talk during your work out.

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Conclusion

What we won't do for ourselves, we will most likely do for our children. Taking care of yourself is a gift for your children from the time they are within you. They benefit from your health, your energy and you as a role model.

More: How to Exercise During Pregnancy

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About the Author

Lisa Druxman, M.A., the creator of Stroller Strides, is a nationally recognized speaker, author and highly regarded expert in the field of pre and postnatal fitness. Stroller Strides is a total fitness program for new moms that they can do with their babies. It includes power walking and intervals of body toning, using exercise tubing and the stroller. Taught by trained instructors, it's a great workout for any level of fitness.

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