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Sensible shape-up ideas can make you feel like the ‘old you’.

Exercise options for new mums

Ignore celebrities who are back in skinny jeans a month after giving birth. If you do want to lose weight, consult your doctor and do it gradually, through appropriate exercise and healthy eating. Regular exercise can work wonders for your physical and mental wellbeing*, benefiting both you and baby!

Before you start

It’s usually at your postnatal check-up about six weeks after birth that you’re given the go-ahead to start getting more active. Then run through this checklist:

  1. Have you had a ‘Rec Check’? This tests whether your rectus abdominus, or tummy muscles, separated during pregnancy. If you haven’t, avoid tum-toning exercises until you’ve spoken to a postnatal fitness trainer or GP.
  2. Are you breastfeeding? If so, feed your baby before exercise and always wear a sports bra.
  3. What’s your action plan? In the months after birth your body is more susceptible to injury, so avoid high-impact exercise.
  4. Are you doing pelvic floor exercises? We know – you’re nagged about these all the time. But they’re vital to strengthen the muscles supporting your pelvic organs.

Walking

Buy a pedometer to keep track of your progress. Tesco Baby Club fitness expert Joanna Hall says: “A brisk walk with the buggy is the easiest option. For tummy toning, wear a belt and pull in your abs firmly, away from the belt.”

Buggy workout

You’ll meet other parents and have a trainer to motivate you. Try Buggyfit or Pushy Mothers.

Parents’ and babies’ exercise class

Here the focus is on strengthening tummy muscles and pelvic floor, often involving movements to do with your little one. Find an instructor at postnatalexercise.co.uk.

Yoga or Pilates

Find classes for you and your baby. There’s baby yoga too – take a look at birthlight.com.

Swimming

Your baby can go before they’ve had their vaccinations, so if you’re feeling up to a dip in the pool too, go right ahead.

Source: POGP Fit and Safe: Exercise in the Childbearing Year

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