Exercise was something that I was able to maintain through the second trimester of my pregnancy. Around 28 weeks I stopped doing weights and instead continued to do rolling hill walks (level 1) on the treadmill right up until about 2 weeks before the birth. At that stage, things had become a little too busy at work and I had started to feel a little too uncomfortable on the treadmill. By the time Zelda left hospital I hadn't worked out for over a month and I was itching to get back to exercising. Two and a half weeks postpartum (post c-section!) is no time to be exercising. You can barely walk around the block at this stage. So I waited and waited. I found it hard to resume 'normal life', let alone exercise and by 5 weeks postpartum it seemed that my health had slipped backwards. I was so sore, everything hurt far worse than when I was visiting Zelda in hospital. I checked in with my midwife (who the week before had insisted I rest more) and asked to see an ob-gyn. The doctor said that there was no physical reason why I was in so much pain. He thought that perhaps I was resting too much and gave me the all clear to hit the gym again. Thank goodness. I went to the gym the very next day. And it worked. The pain slowly went away.
5 Weeks Postpartum
At 5 weeks, 2 days postpartum I started rolling hill walks on the treadmill, level 1, speed 5.6 for 20 mins. I then did light stretching/yoga, including side planks as I had read that they were very good for strengthening your core without working the stomach muscles that were still healing. I made it to the gym maybe twice a week and twice a week did at home exercises - this postpartum workout and light stretching/yoga with side planks. At 6.5 weeks postpartum I received the all clear in regards to my abdomen but it still didn't feel quite right to be running again. In those early weeks you feel as if your tummy might fall out! Low impact walking is much better for you while your abdomen gets back to some kind of normal.
8 Weeks Postpartum
At 8 weeks postpartum I kicked it up a notch and added in weights workouts at the gym two times a week plus the hill walks once a week, of course with stretching, side planks and wall sits. I had continued to do wall sits through the pregnancy so I was keen to start these again.
10 Weeks Postpartum
Over the past two weeks I slowly began adding a minute or two of running to the hill walks and on Monday I completed my first 3.5km (2 mile) run since having Zelda!
My Key Postpartum Fitness Items:
I love using my Apple watch for tracking my exercise. A few years ago Nick gave me a polar heart rate monitor and I bought a fit bit last year but the Apple watch is by far the better tool for someone getting back into fitness. Rather than just trying to reach a goal with the fit bit (10000 steps) or the Polar (500 calories), the Apple watch fitness tracker sets goals based on what you did last time. I find beating my last effort to be far more rewarding than trying to reach that abstract goal and failing (I hardly ever burnt 500 calories in a work out).
While I have returned to my pre-baby weight (63.5kg, my height is 152cm), I haven't returned to my pre-baby shape! I think that my weight must have been a little higher than it should have been because of muscle weight and stopping the weights workout changed that weight to fat. Measurements are where it is at folks! My pre baby waist was 86cm (I measure around my belly button as that is the easiest to ensure that the measurement is taken at the same spot each time) and my 'hip' (the largest part around my thighs and butt) was 103. This is why measurements are so important because at the same pre-baby weight my current waist is 92 (6cm bigger) and my hip 105cm (2 cm bigger but it makes a huge difference!). My current aim is to go down a few kilos as well centimetres. I am going to eat well, but not crazy - I want this to be something that I can sustain - it's all well and good to say you're totally giving up alcohol or sugar but the reality is never what you imagine. This will be more of a lifestyle shift rather than diet and I want to work out regularly. I love working out and everything is so much better when I do.
Ps Three ways to fit exercise into your daily routine, Postpartum weight loss for realistic mums