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How to Have a Fit Pregnancy: Tips for Postpartum Weight Loss

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 4/21/2009

It can be tempting to launch into a postpartum weight loss routine soon after giving birth. But the key to safe and healthy postpartum weight loss is patience and the gradual reintroduction of activities you did before pregnancy.

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    How soon can you exercise after giving birth?

    You already know how important it is to maintain your fitness routine, but how soon can you jump back into it after you give birth? Check with your doctor to get the OK to start your postpartum weight loss routine. However, as a general rule most doctors say that you’re ready to exercise when you feel up to it, provided that you didn’t have a difficult pregnancy or undergo a C-section.

    Your body undergoes major changes during pregnancy, so it’s important to get back into exercise gradually. It can be tempting to jump right on the treadmill soon after pregnancy, especially given the media images of skinny Hollywood moms like Angelina Jolie, Victoria Beckham, and Rebecca Romajin. If you put on some weight during your pregnancy, you still need to work it off gradually.

    Crash dieting or excessive exercising are unhealthy for any woman, but they can be particularly dangerous for new moms. The worst thing you can do is try to do too much too soon. If you do, you risk getting frustrated and giving up on your postpartum weight loss altogether.

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    Postpartum Dieting

    Most women think that the best way to kickstart postpartum weight loss is by restricting your calories. However, doctors advise that cutting calories can be dangerous for your baby if you’re breastfeeding. Breastfeeding women should consume between 1800 to 2000 calories per day. Even if you’re not breastfeeding, you will still need the proper amount of calories in a balanced diet to sustain your energy.

    According to WebMD, women should not consider dieting until at least six weeks after giving birth. Aim to lose only one pound per week---any more could be too much stress on your body.

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    Postpartum Weight Loss Exercises

    Exercise has many benefits for new moms beyond postpartum weight loss. Caring for an infant can be stressful, and exercise can help relieve that stress. It has also been shown to ward off the effects of postpartum depression.

    Here are some suggestions for doctor-recommended postpartum exercise:

    • Walking: Walking is low impact and doesn’t require any special equipment. Thinking about pushing baby around in his stroller during your walks to make them more challenging.
    • Kegels: Kegel exercises involve strengthening the muscles of the vaginal wall with contractions. Strengthening the pelvic muscles can help alleviate bladder control problems which are common post-pregnancy.
    • Yoga: Gentle yoga poses can help you work on getting back core strength and flexibility. Find a postpartum yoga class near you. A certified instructor can walk you through gentle poses. You can always do yoga at home as well. Here are some suggestions: Yoga for New Moms and Yoga in Bed.
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    Recovering Core Strength After Pregnancy

    Doctors recommend doing exercises to recover core strength after pregnancy. Whether you had a strong core before pregnancy or not, your muscles will have weakened due to being stretched out for nine months.

    Traditional crunches may not be right for you after pregnancy, especially if you’ve had a C-section. Start slow with pelvic tilts: Lie down on the floor with knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Keep your glutes relaxed while you engage your abs to lift your pelvis towards your upper body.