We complete 9 months of sweet cuddles and sleepless nights. And to mark the occasion, my baby woke up at midnight, crying, and would calm down only in the bathroom, playing with tap and toothpaste tube. I sat on the edge of the bathtub, staring at my disheveled reflection while he gave me gummy smiles. 😀 He recently got over a high fever and throat infection (which I believe was caused by the brutal heatwave and smoke conditions in Sydney). I feel grateful to hold this little muffin every single day. Without further ado, let me get straight to the topic. In this post, I will share my postpartum fitness (home workout) journey and share resources that helped me to gain back my strength.
Please note that I am NOT a fitness instructor or qualified to give any medical advice. I am just your everyday software engineer who started practicing Hatha Yoga in 2015 by following Youtube tutorials and reading articles… a lot of articles. For any health-related query please consult your physician.
The postpartum period is an extremely emotional period for a woman, so please please do not take any stress about your body. You have created a miracle and your body will heal with time and care. Eat healthy, nutritious food and just try to be active. Always check with your doctor or midwife before starting a new exercise. I had signed up for GetHealthy free phone coaching service provided by NSW (Australia), where I chatted with one of the coaches every month for 6 months. She answered my queries, provided support and shared resources (for both food and exercise). Always listen to your body. If you feel pain or dizziness – STOP.
Always remember – Consistency more important than intensity.
Up to 6 Weeks Postpartum
I had a forceps delivery, underwent episiotomy and had a diastasis recti (abdominal separation common after pregnancy) of 3 and a half fingers. You can read about my pregnancy here – Pregnancy, Fitness, and Disappearing Eyebrows. The midwife and doctors suggested it was safe for me to slowly start pelvic exercises until 6 weeks checkup. I started doing these exercises after 4 weeks of delivering the baby. By that time my episiotomy stitches had almost healed. Slowly, very slowly I tried to build my core strength.
Below, I am sharing two Youtube videos that I followed to strengthen the pelvic core and close the diastasis recti (DR) gap. I would spend at least 30 minutes doing these exercises.
6 weeks Postpartum
My DR gap had reduced to 2 fingers by 6 weeks. The doctor was happy with my progress at 6 weeks appointment and gave me the green signal to start doing gentle yoga. I started by doing a few rounds of Suryanamaskar, warrior poses and standing hatha yoga poses. Since I still had a DR gap I avoided all poses and workouts that would worsen the gap. Like crunches, sit-ups, planks and boat pose holds. I followed the below video by my favorite Yoga Youtuber Sarah Beth Yoga. When I first started doing yoga after pregnancy, I felt a lot of poses were still intense for my body, so I just let them go. I only did what I was comfortable with.
Sharing another excellent Yoga beginner video that I followed when I first started doing Hatha Yoga in 2015.
16 Weeks Postpartum
I wrote a blogpost after 16 weeks – Postpartum fitness. By this time I had started doing inversions like headstands and core works like side planks. My DR had reduced to 1.5 fingers so I felt confident to start doing planks and knee pushups. I don’t have any formula. I just tried doing a workout. If it felt good I continued doing it. And if I felt discomfort, I waited a few more days before trying it again. My workout routine was gentle and moderate, not too intense. During that time I found an amazing fitness influencer on Instagram, who shared diastasis recti and pregnancy-friendly workouts. Check this one – DR friendly workout
Sharing another great video on postpartum fitness home workout to rebuild core. You can follow this video at your own pace, take rest if it gets too intense.
6 Months Postpartum
Postpartum Fitness Home Workout/Yoga
I updated my 6 months postpartum journey in a blogpost – 6 Months Postpartum. I started doing headstands and arm balances like forearm balances with wall support. If you are looking for a good beginner level headstand video, then this is the one I followed.
For forearm balance, frankly I just look up tutorials on Youtube and watch them, understanding the do’s and don’ts, and learning preparatory poses. Once you follow them, you will understand that doing the preparatory poses itself comprises a good chunk of your workout. I leave all the arm balancing towards the end of my yoga practice or workout. This is an excellent forearm balance tutorial for beginners with preparatory poses.
By 6 months I was finally able to feel like my previous self. I spent anywhere between 15 mins to 45 mins on working out (sometimes spread across a day). Most of my workouts were done while the baby slept.
9 Months Postpartum
Postpartum Fitness Home Workout/Yoga
Between 6 months to 9 months, I was back to my old routine. I started working on handstands and backbends. By 8th month, I started doing HIIT, Bodyweight and Cardio workouts 2-3 times a week. My baby had started cruising (walking by holding furniture) by 7 months, so it was getting really hard to find time to workout. And when I tried to do one, he would rush towards me and sit on my face or pull my hair. Really hard to do a downward dog to upward dog transition when the baby is tugging at your pants. 😛
I love love love Blogilates and have practically done all her workouts in the past few years. You can pick any of her videos, mix and match or increase the number of sets/repetitions for added intensity.
Sharing another wonderful HIIT and Cardio workout I do at home.
If you ask me, my biggest achievement at 9 months would be to do 10 push-ups at one go and nailing Koundiyasana A yoga pose.
Fitness is incomplete without diet. As I am currently breastfeeding my baby, my potion of carbohydrates is more (9 serves per day till 6 months, which reduced gradually as the baby started eating solids). I eat normal Indian cuisine – rice, dal, fish, chicken, lots of vegetables and fruits. When I feel like having something fancy, I lightly fry tofu in soy sauce and eat it with vegetable noodles and prepare vegetables in coconut milk or cashew sauce. And on days when I am unable to cook an elaborate meal, both my baby and I have moong dal khichdi. For breakfast, I have milk with bread butter toast or cheese toast or avocado toast, mainly because they are easy to put together. 🙂 I do eat burgers or pizza once in a while or indulge in creamy desserts, but mostly, I eat home-cooked food. I don’t drink soda, sweetened packaged drinks, and alcohol.
Weight Loss – I thought I would address this too. I had gained 17 kg during pregnancy. Given my pre-pregnancy weight and height, the healthy weight gain range for me was 11.5 to 16 kg. Maybe due to the body fat distribution or because I was active before and during pregnancy, I lost 15 kg in the first three weeks after delivering the baby. It happened on its own. It took me a few more months to shed the last 2 kg, but I wasn’t too worried about it. I concentrated on maintaining a proper diet, strengthening pelvic core muscles and gain back my back strength.
I hope you find this post useful. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will try to answer them.
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