Get your body back!
NEW mothers often find that their body feels different after the birth of their child. They feel weaker than before. Their backs ache from carrying the baby. It may take months to get back to lithe and lovely.
When the time comes to hit the gym or start an exercise programme again, new mothers must first check out what their body can handle.
Classes geared specifically to mothers are becoming common. There are even outdoor workouts where the moms can bring the baby buggy, as well as fitness bootcamps at popular vacation spots.
"Our motto is ‘Happy mom, happy kid,’" says fitness trainer Katja Ohly-Nauber, the founder of Laufmamalauf, a commercial organisation which administers exercise classes to new mothers.
Its classic option is an outdoor circuit training class, where mothers do full body training at different stations and can have their babies near them in prams.
A special focus is on the pelvic floor, which weakens during childbirth. It is very important to restrengthen those muscles.
"This includes supporting the back, correct posture and building muscles in the leg, said Petra Schweers, a midwife in Berlin.
Schweers instructs Kanga Training, a postnatal workout where the baby is close to the mother’s body.
"At the same time it is important to take it easy on the pelvic floor. Leaping and jumping are taboo, so regular gym fitness classes are often poorly suited," she notes.
Once a woman engages in exercises again, it is important that she listens to her body and assesses her own well-being as she goes.
Schweers recommends women forget aiming to look like a fashion model again after eight weeks of training.
Most women must train for longer periods of time to reach their desired figure.
Childbirth does not mean all contact with the midwife and gynaecologist can cease. These professionals remain the experts afterwards in advising a woman what her particular body can stand.
In general, there is no set answer as to the extent and type of activity a mother should engage in after the child is born. Every woman's pelvic floor and abdominal muscles is different, meaning they will strengthen at different speeds.
Schweers and Ohly-Nauber both recommend a holiday from exercise for six to 10 weeks – provided there were no complications during child birth. But a final examination by a gynaecologist should be done before beginning an exercise regime. – dpa
New mothers work up a sweat pushing buggies round a park.