Your cup of happiness is full to the brim, there are a lot of new emotions surfacing and you are discovering new levels of patience (nobody could stretch it that far till now) - Yes, you have a cuddly little bundle of joy of your own. Now that you are a mother, you feel perfect - well almost, because the weight that you have put on looks squarely back at you from the mirror and you can't help but agree that it is quite unbecoming.
How to defeat the dreaded baby belly?
1) Keep Realistic Targets
A persistent effort is needed right after pregnancy as the activity level goes down (all your activity is usually centered on your child only and all heavy activity is also banned for a while). The weight and inches are fresh so they go off fairly easily with a concentrated effort.
2) Eat Healthy
Even if you did not have a weight problem earlier, it might start after
pregnancy because sometimes the body more out of habit then anything else, gets used to eating more and a conscious effort is needed to put a stop to it. Those endless glasses of aerated drinks did not affect you earlier but they will now because you already have extra weight on, which needs to be shed before you, can adopt the same 'Eat without care attitude'. And if you did have a weight problem earlier, all the more reason to be cautious now.
But remember to never diet in excess. It is more important not to be anemic and calcium deficient. Take professional help for diet and avoid crash diets totally. They will cause more damage than benefit.
Foods to be avoided - doubly so, that is both for your sake as well as the child that you are feeding - fried foods and heavy restaurant food . These cause high blood pressure risk to you and colic and gastric problems to your child.
3) Ease Back Into Exercise
A large portion of a woman's midsection distention, following the birth of a baby is actually the displacement of internal organs, fluids, and stretched surface skin. Luckily, most of this takes care of itself within three to four months after giving birth. The additional body fat and loss of abdominal tone may take longer to resolve. A good overall postpartum exercise and diet plan will help you lose the extra pounds.
If you have had a normal delivery and have maintained a reasonably consistent exercise routine during most of your pregnancy, you can probably start with a light and calisthenics program within two to six weeks after your delivery. Even if you haven't exercised earlier, don't despair. 'No time is better to start, than right now'. Formulate an exercise routine and stick to it. Start exercises, mild ones as soon as you get a green signal from your doctor. Don't waste even a day. Don't delay starting.
To help with toning the abs, all abdominal and postural exercises will help.
You can actually start within hours after delivery with a simple "pulling in" of the ab muscles, as though you were trying to zip up a tight pair of pants. This compression-type exercise can help to bring the uterus back to its original size and expel residual blood.
Certain exercises that are done during pregnancy to target the abdomen and the pelvic floor muscles -- the spinal C curve and Kegel exercises -- can be started almost immediately after delivery, as long as there is no extensive damage to these areas due to tearing or surgical procedures, such as a C-section.
Most importantly you should listen to your body and be willing to adapt your routine on days when you feel fatigued from caring for your new baby and from the extra energy
Some Postpartum exercises for the abdominal muscles
Deep breathing, Head lifts, Pelvic tilt, Knees-to-chest, Straight curl-ups, Diagonal curl-ups.
Do these exercises gradually and follow these guidelines:
- At first, do only a few repetitions of an exercise at one time. These exercises should not tire you. If they do, you are over exerting.
- Start each exercise with your lower back pressed firmly against the floor.
- Pull in your abdominal muscles. You can do this by pulling your belly-button in toward your backbone. Keep the muscles pulled in throughout the exercise. (Remember to keep breathing! Pulling in your abdominal muscles doesn't mean holding your breath.)
- Breathe out as you do the exercise movement. Breathe in as you relax between repetitions.
- Each movement should be made slowly and smoothly
So throw complacency out of the window. Regular reminders are necessary for continual effort in the right direction - A slim new mom - You. Then get ready for a healthier you, better self-esteem and lots of gooey compliments.