Looking after a little one is rewarding yet exhausting, so it's important to take it easy when it comes to fitness. Although it's tempting to revert back to your pre-baby workout straight after giving birth, it's important you give your body adequate time to recover from labour – this is usually around six weeks after giving birth. The recovery process is vital, to ensure that the uterus has retracted back into the pelvis, bleeding has ceased and stitches have healed. It is important to listen to your body during this time and ease back into exercise gently. Remember that the body has been through many complex and amazing changes over the past nine months – so take it easy on yourself!
When you feel up to it, start with some very gentle exercise, including some pelvic floor exercises and short walks with your new baby. After your six-week check-up, if your doctor agrees, move on to an agreed training plan.
Your diet is an important part of your post-pregnancy program. But don't be tempted to embark on a diet while breastfeeding. It's important to follow a sensible balanced diet which supplies your body with the nutrients it needs post-baby. Try these top tips and our handy eating plan to get your on track.
The Golden Rules
- Balance your hormones with zinc (red meat, nuts and seeds, egg yolks and oats) and vitamin B6 (broccoli and bananas).
- Detoxify your body from chemicals by not smoking, limiting alcohol and caffeine intake and eating organic.
- Stay stress-free. Try meditating, a hot bath or yoga.
- Maintain a healthy weight, keeping your BMI between 20-25.
- Maintain your blood sugar balance with low Glycaemic Load (GL) foods. Avoid refined and sugary carbohydrates.
- Aid digestion with fibrous foods such as fruit and vegetables, whole grains and beans.
- Get lots of folic acid in your diet with green vegetables, beans and pulses.
- Support your immune system with prebiotics like onions, garlic and rye and probiotics.
- Eat a range of essential fats found in nuts and oily fish to reduce any inflammation
Try this healthy eating plan to whittle down your post-pregnancy bod.
- Omelette with a slice of wholegrain toast
- Berry smoothie made with natural yoghurt a handful of berries and 2 tablespoons of mixed nuts and seeds
- Porridge with unsweetened rice or coconut milk, 1 tablespoons of flaxseeds and half a teaspoon of cinnamon
- Grilled chicken served with a big garden salad
- Baked sweet potato with cottage cheese, served with a generous helping of colourful vegetables and a knob of butter
- Lentil salad made with quinoa, tomatoes, spinach and a handful of your favourite herbs
- Steamed wild salmon with sweet mashed potato on a bed of sautéed green leafy vegetables
- Beef stir-fry served with brown rice
- Tuscan bean soup made with cannellini beans, brown pasta, one tin of chopped tomatoes, onions, vegetable stock and seasoning
- Small pot of natural yoghurt served with a sprinkling of pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- Two oatcakes with hummus
- Banana with a small handful of nuts
- Fruit salad topped with seeds
This article first appeared in Women’s Fitness
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Louise Pyne worked as the features editor of Women’s Fitness, which briefly shared a website with Coach. While working in editorial, Louise trained as a nutritionist at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London and is became a member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy.