How To Get Your Body Back After Pregnancy: 8 Ways To Follow 2023

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Medically reviewed by Kimberly Langdon, MD

how to get your body back after pregnancy

New moms, you do not need to beat yourself up about your postpartum body. You just made a little human and your body is allowed to change after that ordeal. Despite knowing this, it is still perfectly normal to want to get back in shape soon after childbirth. 

Pushing yourself too hard while trying to snap back after your pregnancy can hurt you instead. With the right support, you can begin your journey to getting back in shape after pregnancy the right way. 

8 Ways To Get Back In Shape After Pregnancy

Taking the slower yet healthy path below to get back in shape after pregnancy might be better for you.

  • Eat healthily 
  • Light workout 
  • Prenatal vitamins 
  • Breastfeeding 
  • Set realistic goals 
  • Pelvic floor exercises 
  • Wait it out 
  • Rest

Your body is still healing after childbirth and moving too quickly towards your body goals can be dangerous to your health.  

Despite your desire to get in shape after having your baby, you need to proceed with caution so that you can stay healthy to take care of your baby. You don’t have to jump on a fad diet or spend hours at the gym just to get the same results as your favorite mom influencer.  

How To Get Your Body Back After Pregnancy

Eat Healthily

Right after childbirth is not the time to jump on the latest crazy diet for weight loss.  Your body needs sufficient nutrition to heal during this period.

If you are breastfeeding, you will need an additional 200-300 more calories to provide for your little one. Try to stay within 1800-2000 calories a day.  

If you are breastfeeding, the extra food helps you produce nutritious milk to keep your baby healthy.

Just like during pregnancy, your nutrient needs are still up after delivery. So, your intake of fruits and veggies needs to stay up to replenish your lost nutrients.  

Such a healthy diet provides your body with what you need to heal and bounce back.  

Light Workout 

It can seem like a lot of moms on social media jump right from the hospital bed to the treadmill with their unbelievable postpartum bodies.  

However, you should not be getting into vigorous exercise too early. You might want to steer clear of workouts that demand lots of jumping and running. 

During pregnancy, your body produces more relaxin, a hormone that causes your joints to become a little loose. This hormone persists after childbirth, therefore, increasing your chances of injury during such intense workouts. 

Start with a simple 30 minutes walk[1]. If your baby is old enough, you can carry them out in the stroller with you as you walk through your neighborhood. 

Core strengthening workouts are also excellent at this time. You might need to see your doctor first before starting your postpartum workout regimen. This is especially important if you have Diastasis Recti as you do not want to widen your muscle separation further. 

Exercises that you can try after pregnancy with your doctor’s approval include:

  • Plank
  • Bridge 
  • Yoga 
  • Cycling 
  • Low impact aerobics
  • Swimming 

Getting back to work might also help if it involves some physical activity. For most women, working while pregnant is perfectly safe, and getting back into that routine after childbirth keeps them fit. 

Prenatal Vitamins 

It takes a while for your body’s nutrient needs to revert to how they were before you got pregnant.  

Your body needed more nutrients to care for the baby growing inside you. After childbirth, your body still needs the extra nutrients to help you heal.  

Keeping up with your prenatal vitamins[2] after delivery especially if you are breastfeeding helps with your postnatal healing and allows you to provide your little one with much-needed nutrition through breast milk. 

Breastfeeding

The American Academy of Pediatrics[3] encourages new moms to breastfeed their newborns exclusively for the first six months of life.

Breast milk is packed with vitamins and minerals that strengthen your baby’s immune system[4]. That means fewer infections, colds, and less frequent hospitalization.

Exclusively breastfed babies often grow into healthier children and adults. One more reason to breastfeed your baby is that you are more likely to lose baby fat[5].

You need a little more calories than normal to produce nutritious milk for your little one. So, breastfeeding can take up to 500 extra calories daily. 

Exclusively breastfeeding your child for at least the first three months of life could help you lose weight within a year of childbirth. 

If you cannot breastfeed your baby for whatever reason, you should not feel bad as long as your baby is healthy and getting the required nutrients. You can still work on getting your body back in shape through exercise and diet. 

Set Realistic Goals 

It is easy to feel like you are not doing enough to get your body back with mommy influencers showing off their toned bodies barely weeks after childbirth. 

The truth is that your body might never return to exactly how it was before pregnancy. Some changes that you might notice include loose skin, wider hips, and a broader waistline. 

Working to reduce your weight, waistline, or loose skin after pregnancy might need a holistic approach. 

Using celebrity bodies as a yardstick to measure your progress is more harmful than helpful. Your results might not mirror your favorite celebrities’ results because you have different bodies. 

They might also have a fitness team and nutritionist on hand to help them achieve their results. If you do not have such a team to guide you, it might take a  little longer for your body to bounce back.

Losing about one and a half pounds[6] each week is a good place to start. Even if you do not see the numbers drop on your scale, you can make progress toning your body with core-strengthening workouts. 

Pelvic Floor Workouts 

Getting your body back after pregnancy might involve working on the not-so-visible areas of your body. 

Your pelvic floor is another body part that receives a beating during childbirth. Your pelvic floor muscles can weaken due to the pressure of labor, especially if you had a vaginal delivery. 

Pelvic floor exercises such as Kegels and pelvic tilt help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. 

Wait It Out 

Quick fixes will probably leave you in a worse state than when you started.  It might take a while for you to see the result of your efforts and that is okay. 

Being in such a hurry to snap back after childbirth can drive you to take shortcuts. Crazy diets and exercise regimens might look like they get the job done faster but it is not the best choice for a recovering mom. 

The slower yet healthier option of gentle exercises and healthy dieting provides sustainable results without hurting you. 

Do not put unnecessary pressure on yourself. You should notice weight loss within a year after childbirth with a healthy lifestyle.

Rest 

In case you have forgotten, you just birthed a human and your body is still healing.

It might seem impossible to get enough sleep with the baby around but you need it. Getting enough sleep helps your body recuperate and heal. 

Not resting enough can harm your progress. The tiredness can push you towards unhealthy snacks that make you gain even more weight. 

If you can, accept help with the baby and take that time off to sleep. Delegate tasks in the house to anyone willing to help. 

Postnatal Support 

After you return home from the hospital with your baby, your life is going to change. While you are still basking in the euphoria of motherhood, you soon come to face the harsh realities of birthing a child  

Depending on your pregnancy, you might be coming home with physical and emotional changes[7]

Some women come home with painful episiotomies or hemorrhoids that make the healing process challenging.  Other uncomfortable physical changes that you might experience after giving birth include painfully engorged breasts, uterus pain, constipation, and hot and cold flashes.

These physical changes make reverting to your pre-pregnancy body more complicated. That is why seeing your doctor should be the first step to beginning your journey to your body goals. 

Your doctor will give you advice on the exercises that are fitting for your current physical state. 

Besides the physical burden of childbearing, it also leaves an emotional mark on the new mom. 

In addition to the warm feelings for your newborn, some moms might also experience baby blues or postpartum depression.

These conditions might bring on anxiety, crying, sadness, and irritability for the new mom. 

While you are working towards getting your pre-pregnancy body back, you should pay extra care to your mental health. 

Take advantage of all the help you can get during this period after having your baby. Friends and family could assist you with taking care of things in the house so that you can focus on your baby and healing. 

If your physical or mental health deteriorates, it is time to seek medical assistance. 

Conclusion 

It can sometimes feel like the pressure to bounce back from childbirth begins almost immediately after your child is out in the world. However, if you value your health, you will stay far from crash diets that promise to have you back in your old clothes a few weeks after delivery. 

Following the best health practices to achieve your desired goals will help you achieve long-term results while staying healthy. So, you can focus on caring for your baby. 

These steps could bring you closer to your goals:

  • Eat healthily 
  • Light workout 
  • Prenatal vitamins 
  • Breastfeeding 
  • Set realistic goals 
  • Pelvic floor exercises 
  • Wait it out 
  • Rest 

+ 7 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Pregnancybirthbaby.org.au. (2020). Safe return to exercise after pregnancy. [online] Available at: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/safe-return-to-exercise-after-pregnancy
  2. . (2021). What Really Helps You Bounce Back After Pregnancy. [online] Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/what-really-helps-you-bounce-back-after-pregnancy?amp=true
  3. Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. (2012). PEDIATRICS, [online] 129(3), pp.e827–e841. Available at: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827
  4. Cleveland Clinic. (2018). Benefits of Breastfeeding: For Baby and Mom. [online] Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15274-the-benefits-of-breastfeeding-for-baby–for-mom
  5. Jarlenski, M.P., Bennett, W.L., Bleich, S.N., Barry, C.L. and Stuart, E.A. (2014). Effects of breastfeeding on postpartum weight loss among U.S. women. Preventive Medicine, [online] 69, pp.146–150. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4312189/
  6. Medlineplus.gov. (2014). Losing weight after pregnancy: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. [online] Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000586.htm
  7. Kidshealth.org. (2018). Recovering From Delivery (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth. [online] Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/recovering-delivery.html

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

Jennifer Anyabuine holds a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from the University of Nigeria Nsukka and is currently a medical student. She is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics.

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

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