5 Ways to Get Your Body Back after Pregnancy

post_pregnacy_bodyFirst of all, congratulations on your new bundle of joy. For sure, you are excited to see your baby after nine months of carrying her in your womb. Now that you’ve given birth, you must be excited to lose the baby weight you gained over the past few months and get back to your pre-pregnancy body.

Don’t worry. With the right amount of time, food and dedication, you can surely get your pre-baby body. Can’t wait to get started? Then here are five ways to do it.

  1. Let nature do its job.

Yes, ladies. You can lose weight even without exercising. As soon as you give birth, there is an immediate loss of up to 13lbs. – or more. Breastfeeding is also an effective way to shed the baby weight you gained. Also, take advantage of your baby. Do some lunges while carrying her or go for a walk with your baby in the morning. You’ll both love the sun too.

  1. Watch what you eat.

This is one of the important things you should do when you want to lose baby weight. Drastic weight loss programs and pills are not advisable at this point. Therefore, the best you can do is to be careful with what you eat.

Stay away from eating empty-calorie foods such as sodas and chips. It won’t help in the weight loss process and not even a healthy one for your body and baby. Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and natural fruit juices. Stick to fish, beans and lean meat and don’t forget to add fiber in our diet.

  1. Get some rest.

This may seem simple but very difficult to do. If you want to lose weight, then it is important to get some rest as much as you can. Studies show that getting a good night’s rest can decrease the possibility of depression and increase your daily energy levels. This will make you feel better, especially in dealing with weight loss after the baby.

  1. Change the way you eat.

You live by the “eating for two” philosophy while you were pregnant. Now that you’ve given birth, it’s time to forget that philosophy. Remind yourself that you need to eat not just healthy food but also carefully. There is no more bun in the oven so stop eating like you’re still pregnant. Take it easy on food.

  1. It’s time to exercise.

Getting back to the gym is a gradual process. However, there are simple exercises you can do to help you get back into shape. In this case, Kegel exercises will be your best friend. Aerobic exercises such as biking, jogging or swimming can also help you get back into shaping. You can also go for yoga or Pilates to help you gain flexibility and strength.

Before anything else, it is important to allow your body to recover for four to six weeks, or longer for CS operations, before you can get back to the gym. Some women even take amino acid supplements to aid with muscle building, but talk to your doctor first. It’s okay mommies. Don’t rush. You’re still beautiful no matter what.

Posted on Sunday, January 11th, 2015 at 11:47 am

Exercises That Helps With Lower Back Pain

low_back_exerciseLower back pain is a common ailment, especially in this day and age of sedentary lifestyles. This type of pain can greatly affect one’s quality of life and make mobility and comfort difficult. It is also a common side effect of long hospital stays. Exercise is the best way to deal with this kind of pain as it allows you to strengthen your back and gradually get back to a normal lifestyle. When your back is stronger, you will find that you experience less and less pain and greater mobility. Doctors recommend 10-30 minutes of targeted exercise, to be carried out 1-3 times a day. Here are a few simple suggestions of exercises you can undertake to help achieve the desired results.

  • Stretching

Both dynamic and static stretching helps to reduce back pain and strengthen the muscles. Static stretching refers to poses that are held, like in yoga, and dynamic are those that involve complete range of motion.

Single knee to chest stretch

This simple exercise involves lying on your back with both knees bent. Hold your thigh behind the knee and bring it up towards your chest. Get as close as you can and hold for about 20 seconds, before relaxing it again. Try to do this a minimum of 5 times on either side.

Half lunge

This will stretch out the muscles in the hips and calves. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Step your left foot forward until you can get your front knee about 90 degrees and lower back knee a few inches from the floor. Push your right hip forward and feel the stretch. Hold for about 20 seconds and then relax. Switch sides.

  • Strength training

Strength training comes in the form of weight lifting and resistance training. It is great for stabilizing and strengthening the body. The hip and lower back muscles are tricky to work on without special equipment. Basic squats however allow you to use your own body as the weight and build up core strength. Stand with your feet hip width apart and bend your knees while shifting your hips back, as though sitting on a chair. Lift your arms to help provide some balance. Hold this pose for as long as you can and stand up again. Repeat 10-15 times. If you suffer knee pain, try a variation, such as leaning against an exercise ball that is between you and a wall while you squat.

  • Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise is veryuseful in helping to build up core strength, as many of the activities you can pursue will engage the abdominal muscles. Form rowing to riding a stationary bike. It is all about maintaining proper form. Keep the spine in a neutral position when working out.

  • Manual therapy

This is often suggested by doctors when mobility has been particularly compromised. It involves having the aid of a physiotherapist. They make use of techniques such as massage, manipulation and mobilization to put you through a workout. Because of the severity, it can take a while to see results but this option has proven successful for many sufferers.

Sources:

NHS Choices <-> Exercise for Back Pain

Web MD <-> Back Pain Tips

Prevention <-> 4 Exercises to End Back Pain

Ortho Info <-> Low Back Pain Exercise Guide

Posted on Saturday, December 27th, 2014 at 1:12 am

5 Recommended Perineal and Abdominal Exercises for Pregnant Women

abdominal and perinealMany pregnant women feel anxious about the strain various exercises can bring to the health of their baby. This is aggravated by the popular notion that too much activity for pregnant women is not safe for their babies. In fact, a study conducted as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2006 by researchers from North Carolina showed that only 1 in 4 pregnant women in the U.S. is exercising.

However, studies link exercise to better pregnancy and childbirth outcomes such as having decreased risk for developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression, which is relatively common after childbirth. In fact, a study conducted by Linda E. May of Kansan City University of Medicine and Biosciences found out that exercise produce an effect to the heart of the baby which is similar to a heart of an adult who is regularly training.

General Exercise Guidelines for Pregnant Women

According to American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 30 minutes of moderate exercises on a daily basis for an uncomplicated or low-risk pregnancy is enough to promote welfare to both the mother and the baby. An activity is considered to be of moderate intensity if it produces light sweating and brief increase in heart rate and breathing.

It should be remembered that pregnant women should not enroll to a formal exercise program without their direct care provider’s approval. All attempts to exercise should be avoided when pregnancy shows any sign of complications and pregnant women are all encouraged to not exercise to the point of fatigue.

Importance of Perineal and Abdominal Exercises

Perineal (area between vaginal opening and anus) and abdominal exercises are given importance especially if expected date of delivery is nearing as these exercises will prepare the pelvic and abdominal muscles for the challenge and stamina required in pushing during delivery. A study conducted by Hay-Smith and Dumoulin in 2009 states that perineal and abdominal exercises will allow muscle stretching which can significantly reduce discomfort during childbirth. Also, it helps muscles to go back into their pre-pregnancy condition more efficiently.

Here are 5 recommended perineal and abdominal exercises for pregnant women:

  1. Squatting

An effective squatting means having to squat with feet flat on the floor to promote stretching of the pelvic area. Women should not squat on their tiptoes. 15 minutes of staying in this position on a daily basis is beneficial during delivery of the baby. A perfect activity that can be an alternative to this exercise is picking up toys on the floor.

  1. Tailor Sitting

The correct position for tailor sitting is to put one leg in front of the other. This will prevent occlusion of blood flow to the legs. While on this sitting position, a woman should gently push on her knees toward the floor for the pelvic area to stretch. This position can be use while watching television, reading, or playing with a child. Pregnant women should stay on this position for 15 minutes a day.

  1. Kegel Exercise

This exercise is basically just tightening the muscles of the perineum. A pregnant woman can basically do this anytime and anywhere. According to Hay-Smith and Dumoulin (2009), Kegel exercise has the following benefits: 1) reduced pain; 2) faster healing of the area after delivery; 3) increased sexual responsiveness; and 4) preventing involuntary passage of urine due to applied pressure on the abdomen such as when laughing, sneezing, and coughing.

  1. Pelvic Rocking

This exercise is helpful to prevent backache during delivery and early stages of labor. To perform pelvic rocking, the woman should hollow her back and then arch it, trying to lengthen or stretch her back. It helps the lower spine become more flexible so backache is relieved and the pregnant woman is comfortable during the night.

  1. Abdominal muscle contraction

This is simply performed by contracting the abdomen and then relaxing it. Like Kegel’s, it can be done anytime the woman wishes while standing or sitting. It will help prevent constipation and restore bowel movements. This will also help the woman to push effectively during delivery.

For an optimum exercise benefits and safety, pregnant women should remember that exercise can increase the temperature inside the body. This is particularly harmful for the baby. Therefore, exercise should not take place during the middle of the day and women should wear loose-fitting yet comfortable clothes. In addition to this, women should keep themselves well-hydrated all throughout the exercise session by drinking water from time to time. Lastly, women should stop exercising if they suddenly feel out of breath, nauseous, or even dizzy.

References:

  1. Boyles, S., (2010). Pregnant Women Don’t Get Enough Exercise. WebMD Health News, 2010.
  2. Hay-Smith, E.J. C., and Dumoulin, C. (2009). Pelvic floor muscle training versus no treatment, or inactive control treatments, for urinary incontinence in women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2009.
  3. Kaar, S., Exercise During Pregnancy. Sports MD Articles.
  4. Krans EE, Gearhart JG, Dubbert PM, Klar PM, Miller AL, Replogle WH. Pregnant women’s beliefs and influences regarding exercise during pregnancy. J Miss State Med Assoc. 2005 Mar;46(3):67-73. PubMed PMID: 15822648.
  5. Pilliteri, A. (2010). Maternal and Child Health Nursing: Care of the Childbearing and Childrearing Family Volume 1
  6. Rettner, R., (2011). Exercise During Pregnancy Benefits Baby’s Heart. Live Science.
Posted on Saturday, November 29th, 2014 at 7:16 am

A healthy Lifestyle for the Pregnant Mother

pregnancy healthAny pregnant mother has a variety of needs that should be taken care of. The expectant mother should develop a healthy lifestyle that is important for her health and for the proper development of the unborn child. Yes, it is of great importance. We all know this but in most cases, we have wished it away. Sometimes, it is the responsibility of everyone around the expectant mother to show the way to a healthy lifestyle. The main concerns of a pregnant mother include physical activity, diet and the contraction of cardiovascular diseases. A lot of knowledge is required from medical practitioners in order to realize a healthy lifestyle. The problem of pregnant women has been enhanced through incorrect sources of female relatives and friends. This often leads to unhealthy behaviors that pose a danger to the mother and the unborn child.

According to Beckham, Urrutia, Sahadeo, Corbie-Smith and Nicholson from the University of North Carolina, underserved pregnant women showed inadequate knowledge of the risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases and the strategies of prevention. These primarily include the fundamental recommendations and guidelines for physical activity and healthy diets during pregnancy. In most cases, pregnant women have searched for more information concerning these important guidelines unsuccessfully. Some obstetric providers have only given them incomplete information needed to sustain a complete healthy state. Nutritionists and nurses have however played a significant role in providing answers to these important heath questions.

Important Habits for Pregnant Mothers

A pregnant mother should develop healthy habits. This includes that of your partner as well. There are important health behaviors that you should start practicing if you hadn’t thought of them. During pregnancy, you should observe the following:-

  • Visit the health center as often as possible – starting from the day you realize you are pregnant and days afterwards
  • Eating different kinds of healthy foods
  • Avoid illicit drugs, caffeine, over-the counter medications and alcohol. It is important to get directives from your doctor on any medication you take
  • Be active – walk around to exercise your body
  • Rest your body sufficiently
  • Don’t expose yourself to harmful substances at your work place or at home. These include radiations, cigarette smoke, chemicals or drugs
  • Avoid foods like soft cheeses and some kinds of fish with high chemical levels. Seek the advice of your doctor concerning certain foods.

Physical Exercises During Pregnancy

You may have heard of the importance of doing exercises during pregnancy. This may have been discussed in a casual manner. However, it is important to note that it is a very important requirement. This makes you feel energized and refreshed. Most importantly, it assists in maintaining muscle strength and tone in preparation for labor pain and birth.

There are quite a number of physical activities that can be applied during pregnancy: aerobic exercises and stretching among others. These should be done regularly like walking up the stairs, doing some bit of gardening, cleaning your house and so on. These activities will make you active. Your doctor should always advice on the best physical activity. Do it safely, whether it is in your diet or during the physical activity. Again, always contact a health professional on the same.

Posted on Friday, September 19th, 2014 at 5:48 pm