Getting back into shape after having a baby is not easy, but we're here to help. The Fitness Club and the Woman’s Day Spa located in the beautiful Woman’s Center for Wellness feature certified staff, classes and a playroom for infants and children.
We also offer nutritional counseling and personal training to help you get motivated and moving in the right direction. For more information, call 225-924-8300.
Set Realistic Expectations
Don't expect to return immediately to your pre-pregnancy figure. Even though you may have dropped 20 pounds with childbirth, you still likely won't fit into your old clothes right away. It will take weeks for your uterus to fully contract and your stomach to flatten.
You will also need to be patient with physical changes, such as vaginal and breast soreness and painful bowel movements. Your physician can help you with these issues.
Rest assured that all the negative effects of childbirth will pale in comparison to the amazement and love you feel for your new child. You'll find that the physical difficulties will have been well worth it.
Gradually Return to Exercise
Each day, try to do 10 to 15 minutes of a mild physical activity - be careful not to do too much too soon. Ask your doctor if you should avoid any activity. If you notice any pain in your pelvis or changes in the color or amount of vaginal discharge, stop exercising and call your doctor.
Strengthening Abdominal Muscles
Delivery weakens abdominal muscles. Gentle exercises for the stomach, such as pelvic-tilting and abdominal tightening, should begin 24 hours after you have your baby. Do not do full sit-ups. Avoid exercises that require you to raise or lower both legs at the same time.
Kegel exercises tone your pelvic floor muscles, which become stretched from the weight of the baby during pregnancy and especially during vaginal delivery.
The pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, uterus and rectum. Strengthening these muscles will help prevent leaking of urine or bowel contents, heal the perineum and tighten the vagina.
To perform a kegel:
- Squeeze the muscles that you use to stop the flow of urine
- Hold for up to 10 seconds, then release
- Do this 10–20 times in a row at least 3 times a day
Studies show that 40% of women do Kegel exercises incorrectly. For more information on how to perform this exercise correctly, register to attend our Kegels class.
Woman's Hospital offers Baby Steps fitness classes designed to help women get back in shape after pregnancy.
Eating properly will help your body heal. Eating a variety of foods will help you get all of the nutrients your body needs to recover from labor and delivery.
For mothers feeding their baby with a bottle, follow this food guide:
• 6 to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta
• 2 to 4 servings of fruit
• 3 to 5 servings of vegetables
• 2 to 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts
• 2 to 3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese
Adjust the number of servings within each food group to allow for a gradual return to a healthy body weight.
Eat fats, oils, and sweets sparingly.
To prevent dehydration and promote healing, drink 8 to 12 (8-ounce) glasses of water every day.
If you are breastfeeding, follow the dietary recommendations in the section on nutrition in the Breastfeeding Guide. You may also call Woman’s Hospital’s Food and Nutrition Services at 924-8451 for more information.