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Congratulations on the new addition to your family and welcome to motherhood. Your body has been through many changes and you may not feel comfortable in your postpartum body. That’s perfectly normal. As a new mother, you need to take care of your baby, but it’s also important to take care of yourself. When it comes to getting back into shape, pace yourself and follow your doctor’s orders.
Life with a new baby might mean getting a little creative with your workout, but you can still find ways to reach your fitness goals. Here are seven tips to help you embrace fitness after a pregnancy:
- Check with your doctor. Every pregnancy and delivery is unique, and your doctor can best address your individual health concerns. Make sure you have the go-ahead from your healthcare professional before you resume your fitness routine or start a new one.
- Set realistic goals. It’s important to be realistic about your progress. Set challenging, but achievable goals. Don’t hesitate to adjust those goals as you go.
- Reach out to Health and Wellness Coaching. A Military OneSource health and wellness coach can help you get back into a fitness routine that is right for you.
- Find ways to get active with your baby. A brisk stroll while your baby is strapped to you in a carrier or lounging in a stroller can be a great way to establish your fitness foundation. You can also check for local baby-friendly activities in your area, like a “Mommy and Me” yoga class. Your Military and Family Support Center, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Program can provide you with get-fit resources on the installation and in your community.
- Don’t do too much, too soon. Listen to your body and slow down if it feels like you’re doing too much. One sign that you may need to cut back on your physical activity is your post-delivery vaginal discharge – called lochia. If the discharge becomes pinker in color, or flows more heavily or restarts, call your doctor as soon as possible.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Eating right will keep your energy up and help your body adapt to your new exercise program. The Defense Commissary Agency website has recipes and great information on planning and sticking to a healthy diet.
- Returning to active duty. Each service branch has a postpartum fitness program. Check with your unit fitness coordinator, physical training leader or fitness facility to see what specific postpartum training your installation offers. You can also check out the Army Pregnancy and Postpartum Physical Training Program through the Healthy Living section of the Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine.
Above all, remember to follow the advice of your doctor, and seek out a professional health and wellness coach for a customized exercise program. Getting in shape after such a momentous life change may seem difficult, but consistency and hard work can go a long way. Military OneSource has your back as a new mom.