A new mom has a million things she wants to teach her baby, but her baby has a thing or two to teach her as well. Babies develop in stages that can’t be rushed, and for good reason. They will crawl, stand and walk, only when their bodies are ready. There is great wisdom in this for new moms—to only do what their bodies are ready for and that at the time when their bodies are ready. Perhaps then, the first and most important tip for new mom’s about fitness is to listen to their bodies, get enough time off, and start slow.
Gently does it
Some gentle exercise is beneficial, and even important for a new mom soon after her delivery. Her body can benefit right away from exercises to strengthen her pelvic floor, which helps prevents urine leaks and helps her heal faster from a vaginal delivery.
Walking is another gentle exercise that she can start at her own pace. Walking is a great way to get her body moving, to get some fresh air, and to gauge her strength. A walk is easy to fit in with caring for a baby. With the right walking shoes and baby in the stroller, she’s all set to go. It may seem counterintuitive if she’s feeling tired, but walking can help her relax. Walking is not only good for the body, it’s a great opportunity for mom and baby to bond.
Get back up again
Patience is the name of the game for the new mom. Encourage your client to be patient with her body. Although new moms are generally advised to wait six weeks after their delivery to begin aerobic exercises, it’s different for every mom. Those who have worked out regularly before and during pregnancy and have had a normal delivery may be ready earlier, but there are no guarantees. Listening to your body is the best bet when it comes to timing.
If your client has had a cesarean it’s important for her to wait for the six-week postnatal check and get her healthcare provider’s go-ahead. C-sections may be commonplace, but they are still major abdominal surgeries that need time to heal. Starting too soon can lead to a setback.
Keep the energy up
Once your client is back in the gym, help her troubleshoot ways to keep up her strength, not just so she can work out and lose weight, but so she will have the energy she needs to take care of her little one. You can’t remind her too often about hydration. A new mom has lost fluids during childbirth. A breastfeeding mom needs to pay attention to hydration and nutrition. Keeping track of fluid intake before, during and after workouts is a great tip to give to your client.
Being a new mom is both exciting and challenging. It brings considerations that didn’t exist before because mom’s health is so closely linked to baby’s health. A gentle and patient approach towards fitness is the best way to begin. Reassure the new mom that she will gradually reach her fitness goals; she simply has to begin with little steps.
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