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HEALTH & FITNESS with Les Mills

Recover, Rebuild, Relaunch! Make a Post-pregnancy Plan

Having a new baby is a magical experience but living in a post-pregnancy body can be somewhat less magical!   Many women say their body is never the same after having children but this need not be the case.   With a sensible plan and a bit of time there is no reason why your post-baby body cannot be just as good, if not better than ever before.

After having a baby there are phases to move through before you can exercise at pre-pregnancy intensity. First, Recover, then Rebuild, then Relaunch yourself!

The first objective after having a baby is to Recover. This time is often called the 4th trimester because it can be helpful to see the phase as an extension of the pregnancy rather than a time to return to pre-pregnancy form. Recovery is about building a platform of health and vitality to advance from in later weeks. There will be some weight loss in the recovery phase but it’s normal to continue to look pregnant for a few weeks as the uterus takes time to contract back to it’s normal size. The amount of weight you lose in the recovery phase will depend on your genetics, your condition pre-pregnancy and activity during the pregnancy.  The duration of the recovery phase is different for everyone. If you had an uncomplicated natural birth then the recommendation is to re-start exercise around 4 weeks after delivery. A tricky birth or a c-section may require a longer recovery time. Your LMC will give you clearance to move to the Rebuild phase.
The Rebuild phase is a good time to book a consultation with a Personal Trainer. Even if you’re not able to commit to a regular session it can be helpful to see a professional who can liaise with your medical people to help you create a realistic plan with achievable goals. Initial exercise should be gentle with the aim of gradually increasing endurance. Pregnancy places mechanical stress on the body so the rebuild may require some rehabilitation. Common post-pregnancy ailments are sacroiliac joint pain, pubic symphsis, lower back pain and abdominal splitting. Your PT can liaise with your physio to help you rehabilitate back to full functionality if necessary.
Once your body is structurally sound again it’s time to Relaunch! The top priority is to regain some lean muscle mass. The body recovers from most aspects of pregnancy naturally - the uterus contracts to close to its former size in about six weeks and the body’s ligaments return slowly to their former length and elasticity. Unfortunately, muscle tissue doesn’t respond in the same way, so it is necessary to introduce weight training in order to return your muscles to their former length, strength and functional capability. The other great benefit of weight training is that it increases your metabolic rate. Once you are ready to relaunch the weight loss principles are the same as any other time in life. Energy out (exercise and general day-to-day activity) must outweigh energy in (what you eat), and your individual metabolic rate will determine how much it needs to outweigh it by. 
Les Mills Takapuna is a great place to come when you’re ready to Rebuild and Relaunch. We have over 50 group fitness classes every week and many of them are just 30 minutes which is a Mummy-friendly duration.
My clients and I have found that there is no great secret or short cut to post baby weight loss. It’s just simple, sensible habits along with a little discipline and a bit of patience. Before you know it you can transform from Preggie Tummy to Yummy Mummy.
On Monday 12th of May at 7:30pm I am presenting a Les Mills seminar “Yummy Mummy - Weight Loss Post Baby and Beyond”.
Please contact Les Mills Takapuna reception on 488 9413 for details.

by Claire Bellingham

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