Regardless of how your baby came into the world, you’ll no doubt be feeling pretty impressed by the miracle your body has pulled off. But after such an epic physical achievement, it’s only natural that it will take your body some time to recover. Here’s what you need to know about helping your post-pregnancy body heal so you can feel like “you” again.
It’s usually a good idea to wait until your six week check-up before getting back to the gym because going too hard too soon can actually set back your pregnancy recovery.
But there’s plenty you can do from earlier on to build the foundations for post-pregnancy strength – start with a simple kegel routine to re-strengthen your pelvic floor and help heal any abdominal separation.
Too much running or jumping early on can lead to incontinence and pressure on the joints and ligaments because you’ll likely still have the hormone relaxin kicking around for a few months.
So keep things low impact with pram walks in the sunshine and gentle yoga or postnatal pilates when you feel up to it (or your doctor says you’re good to go).
Eat healing foods
Not only will a healthy diet help with post-pregnancy fat loss but it’s really important for muscle healing as well.
The aim of the muscle re-building game is to boost collagen production to bring elasticity back into your muscles, and you can really help the process by consuming enough protein (from meat, eggs and legumes); iron (from broccoli and beef); essential fatty acids (from fish); vitamin C (from kiwi fruit, oranges and berries); vitamin A (from kale, carrot and sweet potatoes); and zinc (from nuts, beans and seeds).
If you’re feeling too weary to hit the supermarket, give a loved one a shopping list or set up a recurring online order so your fridge and pantry stay stocked, even when you’re doing around-the-clock feeds.
Celebrate what you achieved
Many Western women report feeling pressure to “bounce back” to their pre-pregnancy body, but it’s worth remembering that other cultures celebrate periods of confinement and rest for months as new mums learn the ropes and let their bodies recover.
So try not to put too much pressure on yourself after pregnancy – your body has just done a truly remarkable thing, so be in awe of it and allow yourself time to recover. You’ll still be able to get back to feeling like you if you go easy on yourself.