Postpartum fitness: Take it slow, say experts

Postpartum fitness: Take it slow, say experts

High intensity workouts immediately after delivery build up stress


Gaining weight during pregnancy is inevitable for moms and to lose those extra kilos is pretty tough. 

We see celebrity mothers following fad diets and intense workout routines postpartum to get themselves back ‘in shape’. 

The transformation of South African model and actress Gabriella Demetriades, who had a child with actor Arjun Rampal recently, turned heads on social media. She posted a series of photographs — pregnancy, post-delivery and a leaner self  — showing a transformation that happened in 11 days after the delivery.

She captioned the latest photo of herself as, “This photo was taken 11 days after delivery. It’s a long way from where it was but the body is an amazing thing. All I can say is, don’t stop your regime during pregnancy. Move, eat well and treat yourself
every now and again.
Prenatal yoga really helped keep my pelvic floor strong. Also, remember everyone is different and all good things do take time, so be patient with your body and your mind.” 

Many wondered whether such a drastic change is healthy.

Gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Sripada Vinekar says that it is healthy to stay active postnatal but you should follow a graded and supervised routine.

“I give simple exercises to be followed from the fifth day after delivery; nothing too strenuous,” she shares.

To start an intense workout, the mother has to wait for 10 days, if it is a normal birth and six weeks if it is a C-section. She assures that exercising is not a problem if the mother has the time and energy.

“Not everybody has the time for fitness training; most moms do not have the luxury of having maids to take care of their children,” Dr Sripada adds.

What about the diet? “It is important to consume nutritious food postpartum; one shouldn’t starve themselves to lose weight. Since the mother will be breastfeeding, the baby will get nutritious food only when she consumes it,” she says. 

What moms say

Fitness enthusiast and young mother Afreen Khan says that the right time to start exercising post-childbirth differs from person to person.

“As per my experience, I feel training right after delivery is not the way to go. Wanting to lose weight instantly after having a child puts unnecessary stress on one’s body,” she opines.

She shares that she started training only a year after her child’s birth.

“I took my own time to become fit,” she says. 

Afreen says it is important for mothers to focus on their bodies postpartum but at a slow pace.   

She adds, “People want a girl to look a certain way only until her wedding. As soon as she becomes a mother, she is not expected to focus on her body. It is considered selfish if she starts to focus on her health. If you are not healthy enough to take care of yourself, it is going to affect all the areas in your life.”

What experts say 

Shwetambari Shetty, fitness trainer at Cure Fit, also recommends taking it slow. 

She says, “Don’t get into high-intensity workouts immediately. Doing some moderate exercise will help increase the energy levels and reduce stress.” 

“If you have had a C-section or a complicated delivery, you must take time and most importantly consult your doctor before you start,” she adds.

The ideal time to start focusing on fitness is when you feel your body is ready, says Shwetambari. 

Celebs who were body-shamed

Many actresses were shamed for their appearance post-pregnancy. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan,  Sameera Reddy and Neha Dhupia are among the few to speak against it.

Expert advice

Things to remember if you are about to start exercising post-pregnancy: 

  • There is no need to start with high-intensity exercises; low to moderate intensity is a good start.
  • You can exercise for about thirty minutes a day, start with three times a week and move up to five times a week.
  • Focus on warm-up and cool down. A good stretch is important for a good recovery.  
  • Your go-to exercise should be walking, brisk walking and meditation. As you feel stronger, graduate to yoga and other strength and cardio workouts.
  • Add a lot of fluids to your workout — before, during and after.
  • Stop if you feel any pain. Don’t push too hard. If the pain persists, consult the doctor.

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