Getting pregnant and childbirth are two of life’s greatest miracles.
Most women, when asked the question, “What was the most memorable event in your life?” often cite pregnancy and childbirth.
It’s like a gift from above. There is just no denying the powerful emotions that pregnancy and childbirth can create in parents.
However, while pregnancy is glorious and a rewarding experience, the hard truth is that there is a nutrition and fitness aspect that cannot be neglected.
There is also a flip side to this shiny coin. Many women often end up feeling that pregnancy has ruined their shapely figure and the stretch marks have disfigured them.
They automatically assume that once they’ve given birth, their bodies will never go back to the shape they originally used to be. Weight gain, stretch marks, a loss of sex appeal, etc. are negative consequences that women consider a trade-off to having a bouncy little baby.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes… pregnancy will result in weight gain. This is only natural and in fact, it’s healthy. However, the weight gain can be maintained without letting it get out of control.
All weight that is gained during pregnancy can be lost after pregnancy. After all, it’s just fat and the principles of fat loss are set in stone regardless if it’s a pregnant woman or an obese man.
It will take you time to shed the fat… but there is no hurry. Slow and steady wins the race. With patience and persistence, you can definitely lose the excess fat after childbirth.
If you persist, you can even get fitter and be in better shape after childbirth than you were previously. Your body is a marvelous organism and it will adapt to whatever demands you place upon it.
What truly matters is that you believe that it can be achieved. You must release any false beliefs that pregnancy and childbirth will result in you becoming an overweight, dumpy or unattractive woman.
The natural state of things will mean that you gain weight during pregnancy and you’ll lose it all after childbirth.
Even the world’s most female celebrities have had the following things to say about pregnancy and weight gain.
“You have to eat to feed your baby. And I have a girl, so I want her to see some day why her mom has good self-esteem and good body issues. It gets you down sometimes, I’m not going to lie. I’ve had days where I’m like, ‘Ugh, I wish this was easier.’ But it’s not, and that’s OK.” – Jennifer Love Hewitt
“I’m taking it week-by-week so I don’t get frustrated with myself. If I had a long-term goal and that’s all I thought about, I think it would set me back more.” – Jessica Simpson
“I think if you ask any pregnant mom, they’re like ‘I want my body back. But it takes time. It takes nine months for your body to get that way, and it’s putting on that weight on purpose. The second I start to get down like, ‘What happened to my body?’ I look at my beautiful baby—and I’ve never been more appreciative for this body that I have.” – Hillary Duff
The point to take away from all this is that it is normal to gain weight and it takes time to lose it. Will you feel down and depressed now and again?
Yes, you will. But you will persist and ultimately, you will get the body you desire.
There is much more to just losing weight after childbirth. You’ll also need to know how to eat right during your pregnancy, how to do certain exercises to stay fit and strong, what types of supplements to use, etc.
This book will give you helpful tips and techniques that you can use to get healthy and stay n shape during and after your pregnancy.
Do note that this is all just advice. It will only work if you adhere and apply the information within this book to your life.
Chapter 1 – Pre-conception: What you need to know!
Before even getting pregnant, you should be aware that your health, habits, diet, fitness level and many other factors will directly or indirectly affect your pregnancy and the fetal development.
One example would be pregnant women who have the smoking habit. This does a lot of damage to both the mother and the child within.
If you’re going to get pregnant, you should eliminate all your negative habits prior to conception.
Ideally, you should exercise more, eat a clean diet, avoid alcohol and smoking is a definite no-no. If you have any issues with substance abuse, etc. you should eliminate all these before planning to have a baby.
Proper nutrition is crucial in the stages of pre-conception and during pregnancy.
The beautiful baby in your belly is physically incapable of providing for itself. All the food and nutrition it gets is determined by you. Surely you want nothing but the best for your baby.
A fetus also does not display any visible signs of malnourishment during your monthly check-ups. That means, even your doctor will not be able to ascertain if the baby is getting all the nutrients it needs.
Therefore, you will have to ensure that you’re eating enough for two and getting all the necessary vitamins and nutrients. Only by being proactive and taking an active interest in your nutrition will you be able to keep both the baby and yourself healthy and happy.
Here are a few tips if you’re in the pre-conception stage.
No smoking & no alcohol
No negotiation here.
Consume 400 to 800 micrograms (400 to 800 mcg or 0.4 to 0.8 mg) of folic acid daily.
You should speak to your doctor about this. He/she will be able to guide you in this matter. Folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects related to the spine and brain.
Get your other health problems under control
If you’re diabetic, obese, have asthma, etc. you should get all these problems under control first before getting pregnant. All these health issues may cause pregnancy complications.
Get fit and healthy
Exercise more. Build up your strength and stamina. When you’re pregnant, it will be easier on your body if you’re strong and healthy.
Ask your partner to play an active role
If your partner smokes or engages in detrimental activities, they should try and quit for the sake of the baby.
At the very least, if they can’t quit, they shouldn’t smoke around you or tempt you by consuming alcohol around you.
Chapter 2 – Nutrition and the Best Foods to Eat During Pregnancy
The ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, once said, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.”
This definitely holds true when you’re pregnant. A clean, healthy and wholesome diet will work wonders for you and your baby.
We live in a society that is smothered with a plethora of food choices. The hard truth is that the majority of these foods are detrimental to our bodies in the long run.
Additives, preservatives, chemicals, processed foods, junk foods, genetically modified foods, etc. are all part of our diet these days and are wreaking havoc on our health.
Obesity has become an epidemic. The numbers of people suffering from diabetes, high cholesterol, digestive issues, etc. have skyrocketed. The main culprit – our diet.
Changing one’s diet and eating clean is a Herculean task. You absolutely can’t do it overnight and don’t even think that will-power will work.
You will need to make small changes to your diet gradually till you form the habits of eating right. That is why, it is imperative that you start making these changes 3 months before getting pregnant.
You’ll then be able to ease into a healthy diet relatively smoothly and easily.
How many calories should I consume?
Many women wonder about this. They do not want to consume too many calories for fear of putting on weight… but then they have all these sudden food cravings that seemed to pop out of nowhere.
The first thing you should note – Do NOT obsess over your calories when you’re pregnant. Now is really not the time to be analyzing and counting your calories.
Pregnancy gives you the permission to take 9 months off from the calorie counting and agonizing over the numbers. That being said, it’s also not a free pass to gorge yourself on whatever food comes your way.
Eat sufficient food but eat the proper food. Restricting your calories could potentially harm your baby.
Low birth weight, poor fetal development, weakness in the mother, etc. are all often related to not consuming enough food.
Always remember, whatever weight you gain can be burnt off after childbirth.
A warning though – If you consume too many calories there are problems too. You will gain too much weight which will put you at risk for diabetes, heart problems, early labor, pre-eclamsia, etc.
It’s all about balance. Eat enough for both you and your baby. Eat healthy and eat in moderation.
Before going any further, you will need to calculate your pre-pregnancy Recommended Daily Caloric Intake. This is actually just your normal caloric requirement if you were not pregnant.
You can find this out at http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm
Now we’ll look at the foods that you should be consuming during your pregnancy. Truth be told, healthy foods are healthy foods whether you are pregnant or not. It doesn’t matter if you’re male female, young or old… Good food choices are always beneficial.
The only difference is that now, you’re pregnant and it’s even more important to eat right because another life depends and is affected by your food choices. Yup… the pressure is on.
Foods You Must Eat
In the fitness industry, there is a saying, “Calories are not created equal.”
That means, you could eat 300 calories from different foods and have a world of different results. For example, if you ate 2 bananas and 2 apples a day, which would roughly be 300 calories. What if you got all 300 calories from 2 scoops of chocolate ice cream?
Would the benefits be the same? Guess which one is going to be better for your baby?
1. Eat whole foods
Whole foods could also be called single ingredient foods. For example, a broccoli is a single ingredient food.
You pick it up… you know what it is… and you know it grew from the ground.
Now let’s look at white bread?
Most people have no idea how it was made, what ingredients were used… and how in the world did they get the bread so white, anyway?
The moment you have no idea what goes into the food, it’s best you avoid it. White bread uses refined flour that is bleached white and all kinds of artificial ingredients go into making a loaf.
None of it is doing your body any favors. Avoid processed foods and stick to natural foods.
2. Eat fruits and veggies
This is common sense. We all know that fruits and vegetables contain a ton of vitamins and minerals that do us good. Be consistent with your diet. You must eat these daily.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
You can’t eat 7 apples on Saturday and expect to get the job done. It doesn’t work that way. Consistency is key.
3. Make sure you’re only eating good carbs
Carbs have received a bad reputation over the years. The truth is that carbs are essential for us. This is especially so when you’re pregnant. Carbs give you energy and make up a sizeable chunk of your required calories.
What matters is that you consume carbs from healthy sources. Fruits vegetables, whole grain breads, potatoes, oats, quinoa, brown rice, etc. are all excellent carb sources.
Pizzas, white bread, white flour products, etc. are bad carbs that should be avoided.
4. Eat enough protein
These are essential too. Get your proteins from lean meats, eggs, beef and beans. Once again, focus on the “single ingredient” requirement. A few cuts of lean chicken breast are good. A chicken nugget is NOT good. A slab of steak is good. A few sausages are NOT good.
5. Try and keep it organic if possible.
While this can be a little costly, it is highly beneficial. If you can afford to eat organic for the 9 months that you’re pregnant, go for it.
Organic foods are free of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.
In the event that your budget does not allow you to go completely organic, then make sure some of the foods that you consume are organic.
Foods such as apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, raspberries, spinach and strawberries have been found to contain high levels of pesticides. So, try and keep these organic, if you can.
6. Eat the right kind of fat
Extra virgin olive oil and virgin coconut oil are two of the best types of fat you can consume. In fact, of the two, the coconut oil is better.
Saturated fats are found in meat and animal products such as butter. These are best eaten in moderation.
If you forget everything mentioned earlier in this chapter and just print out and follow the food list below, you will do just fine.
|Vitamin A||Liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, collard greens, cantaloupe, eggs, mangos and peas|
|Vitamin B6||Fortified cereals, bananas, baked potatoes, watermelon, chick peas and chicken breast|
|Vitamin B12||Red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs and dairy foods|
|Vitamin C||Citrus fruits, raspberries, bell peppers, green beans, strawberries, papaya, potatoes, broccoli and tomatoes|
|Calcium||Dairy products, fortified juices, fortified butters and fortified cereals, spinach, broccoli, okra, sweet potatoes, lentils, tofu, Chinese cabbage, kale and broccoli.|
|Vitamin D||Milk, fortified cereals, eggs and fatty fish (salmon, catfish and mackerel)|
|Vitamin E||Vegetable oil, wheat germ, nuts, spinach and fortified cereal|
|Folic Acid||Oranges, orange juice, strawberries, leafy vegetables, spinach, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, pasta, beans, nuts and sunflower seeds|
|Iron||Red meat and poultry, legumes, vegetables, some grains and fortified cereals|
|Niacin (Vitamin B3)||Eggs, meats, fish, peanuts, whole grains, bread products, fortified cereals and milk|
|Protein||Beans, poultry, red meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, cheese, tofu, yogurt, fortified cereal and protein bars|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||Whole grains, dairy products, red meat, pork, poultry, fish, fortified cereals and eggs|
|Thiamin (Vitamin B1)||Whole grains, pork, fortified cereals, wheat germ and eggs|
|Zinc||Red meats, poultry, beans, nuts, grains, oysters, dairy products and fortified cereals|
Chapter 3 – Supplements Before & During Pregnancy
Besides food, your body will also require supplements. It is extremely difficult to get all the necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals that your body needs from food alone.
Your diet will have to be varied and your knowledge of nutrition will have to be good to get a completely balanced diet with no deficiencies.
Most women just do not have the time to watch their diet like a hawk and note the different vitamins they’re getting. By consuming supplements, you’ll be able to pick up the slack from a diet that is deficient in a few vitamins and minerals.
Some basic knowledge would be very helpful though. When you understand what you’re eating, how much you should eat, why you’re eating it… pregnancy nutrition will be much easier to get right.
There is a list further down with 14 important supplements you should consume. Do note that the Recommended Daily Allowances are just a rough estimate. Speak to your doctor and tailor your supplement intake to best suit your needs.
Another point you should be aware of is that there are negative consequences of overdosing on specific vitamins. This usually occurs from eating foods that contain a certain vitamin and consuming supplements which contain that vitamin too. Now there is a surplus in your body.
This is why it’s important to tell your doctor during your prenatal appointments what you’re eating and what vitamins, medications and supplements (including herbal) you’re taking too.
This will help them to assess your diet. Do not leave any details out regardless of how insignificant you may believe them to be.
These are the supplements that you will need.
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is crucial for the development of the baby’s bones, teeth, heart, ears, eyes and immune system.
Aim to consume at least 770 micrograms (or 2565 IU, as it is labeled on nutritional labels) of Vitamin A per day. This will double when nursing to 1300 micrograms (4,330 IU).
Overdosing on Vitamin A can cause birth defects and liver toxicity. Do NOT consume more than 3000 mcg (10,000 IU) per day.
Vitamin A can be found in liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale spinach collard greens, cantaloupe, eggs, mangos and peas.
2. Vitamin B6
This vitamin which is also known as Pyridoxine helps with the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system. It also encourages the growth of new red blood cells in both mom and baby. Some women report that B6 has helped to alleviate their morning sickness.
Pregnant women should consume at least 1.9 mg per day of Vitamin B6. That amount rises slightly when nursing to 2.0 mg per day.
Vitamin B6 can be found in fortified cereals, as well as bananas, baked potatoes, watermelon, chick peas and chicken breast.
3. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 works together with folic acid to help aid in the production of healthy red blood cells and promotes development of a healthy brain and nervous system in the baby.
The body usually has sufficient stores of B12 and it’s very rare to have a B12 deficiency.
Pregnant women should consume at least 2.6 mcg (104 IU) of B12per day, nursing mothers 2.8 mcg (112 IU).
It can found in red meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs and dairy foods.
4. Vitamin C
Probably the most famous of all the vitamins, Vitamin C will help both mommy and baby to absorb iron and build a healthy immune system. Other than that, it will hold the cells together and help the body to build tissue.
Pregnant women should consume at least 80-85 mg of Vitamin C per day, nursing mothers no less than 120 mg per day.
Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, raspberries, bell peppers, green beans, strawberries, papaya, potatoes, broccoli and tomatoes, as well as in many cough drops and other supplements.
This vitamin is crucial for building your baby’s bones and promotes optimal functioning of the baby’s brain and heart.
Pregnant women should consume at least 1200 mg of calcium a day, nursing mothers 1000 mg per day.
Calcium can be found in dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and, to a lesser extent, ice cream, as well as fortified juices, butters and cereals, spinach, broccoli, okra, sweet potatoes, lentils, tofu, Chinese cabbage, kale and broccoli. It is also widely available in supplement form.
6. Vitamin D
Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium. This will lead to healthy bones in both mother and child.
Women who are pregnant or nursing should consume at least 2000 IU of Vitamin D per day.
Babies usually require more Vitamin D than adults. Your doctor may recommend a Vitamin D supplement and baby formula is also fortified with Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is rarely found in sufficient amounts in ordinary foods. It can, however, be found in milk (most milk is fortified) as well as fortified cereals, eggs and fatty fish like salmon, catfish and mackerel. Vitamin D is also found in sunshine, so women and children found to have a mild Vitamin D deficiency may be told to spend more time in the sun.
7. Vitamin E
Vitamin E helps the baby’s body to form and use its muscles and red blood cells.
Pregnant women should consume at least 20 mg of Vitamin E per day but not more than 540 mg.
Vitamin E can be found in naturally in vegetable oil, wheat germ, nuts, spinach and fortified cereals as well as in supplemental form.
It’s better to get your Vitamin E from natural food sources than synthetic supplements.
8. Folic Acid
This is one of the most important vitamins during pregnancy and is vital for the development of a healthy baby. The body uses Folic Acid for the replication of DNA, cell growth and tissue formation.
Folic acid deficiencies result in many nasty birth defects such as spina bifida (a condition in which the spinal cord does not form completely), anencephaly (underdevelopment of the brain) and encephalocele (a condition in which brain tissue protrudes out to the skin from an abnormal opening in the skull).
All of these conditions occur during the first 28 days of fetal development, usually before the mother even knows she’s pregnant.
It’s imperative that you get enough folic acid in your diet prior to getting pregnant.
Pregnant woman should consume at least 0.6-0.8 mg of Folic Acid per day.
Folic Acid can be found in oranges, orange juice, strawberries, leafy vegetables, spinach, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, pasta, beans, nuts and sunflower seeds, as well as in supplements and fortified cereals.
This is another important vitamin that helps with cell development, blood cell formation and placenta formation.
Women who are pregnant should have at least 27 mg of iron per day.
Iron can be found in red meat and poultry, legumes, vegetables, some grains and fortified cereals.
This is known as Vitamin B3 and helps to keep the mother’s digestive system functioning optimally as well as gives the baby energy to develop well.
Pregnant women should have an intake of at least 18 mg of Niacin per day.
Niacin can be found in foods that are high in protein, such as eggs, meats, fish and peanuts, as well as whole grains, bread products, fortified cereals and milk.
Protein is the building block of the body’s cells. All growth and development of the body requires protein and protein is especially important in the second and third trimester, when both Mom and baby are growing the fastest.
Pregnant and nursing women should consume at least 70g of protein per day, which is about 25g more than the average women needs before pregnancy.
Protein can be found naturally in beans, poultry, red meats, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, cheese, tofu and yogurt. It is also available in supplements, fortified cereals and protein bars.
This is also known as Vitamin B2. It gives the body energy and helps in the development of the baby’s bones, muscles and nervous system.
Pregnant women should consume at least 1.4 mg of Riboflavin per day, nursing mothers 1.6 mg.
Riboflavin can be found in whole grains, dairy products, red meat, pork and poultry, fish, fortified cereals and eggs.
Thiamin is Vitamin B1 assists in the development of the baby’s organs and central nervous system.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers should consume at least 1.4 mg of Thiamin a day.
Thiamin can be found in whole grain foods, pork, fortified cereals, wheat germ and eggs.
Zinc is vital for the growth of your fetus because it aids in cell division, the primary process in the growth of baby’s tiny tissues and organs. It also helps Mom and baby to produce insulin and other enzymes.
Pregnant women should have an intake of at least 11-12 mg of Zinc per day.
Zinc can be found naturally in red meats, poultry, beans, nuts, grains, oysters and dairy products, as well as fortified cereals and supplements.
Chapter 4 – Nutrition & Fitness during Your Pregnancy
This chapter will breakdown the nutrition and exercise depending on each trimester.
By now, you should be aware of what foods to consume and you should realize that it helps to stay active during your pregnancy.
So, this chapter will be more about taking action and implementing the nutrition information provided earlier. You’ll also be told what exercises to do to help you.
The First Trimester – Nutrition & Exercise Tips
During your first trimester, your calorie intake does not have to significantly increase. However, you must ensure that you’re getting all the right vitamins, minerals, etc. This is especially true for folic acid.
You should NOT be dieting or trying to keep your weight down. It is normal to gain some weight during your first trimester. Enjoy the pregnancy process.
Do not fight it for vanity reasons.
Your strength and stamina prior to getting pregnant will determine how much exercise you can do during your first trimester.
There is a fallacy that pregnant women should not exercise for fear of injuring their baby. This is not true. Pregnancy is not an excuse to become a couch potato.
In fact, your pregnancy will be easier if you’re moderately active. The key word here is moderately.
Avoid all high impact training regimens such as HIIT, Crossfit or Tabata during your first trimester.
One of the best forms of exercise that you can do is brisk walking. In fact, just going for a daily 30 minute walk can be highly beneficial. Ask your partner to follow you too so that you have company and there is some bonding time.
If you were highly active before your pregnancy, you may miss your cardio sessions.
You may still engage in cardio sessions as long as they are low impact. A stationary bike is a good way to break a sweat.
Swimming is also excellent. It is low impact and yet, very effective.
High impact exercises such as kickboxing, skipping, full body workouts, etc. should be avoided.
Do not workout to the point where you are breathless and gasping for air. Your goal is to be active… You’re not training for the Olympics.
You want to exercise to get your blood circulation and your heart pumping. It’s more about activity than achievement. Avoid strenuous workouts.
The Second Trimester – Nutrition & Exercise Tips
As far as what you’re supposed to eat, the food choices will be the same for all 3 trimesters. The only difference is that the calories will vary.
As you go into your second and third trimester you should increase your daily caloric intake by 300 calories.
This will help to compensate for the increasing rate of your baby’s growth. If your pre-pregnancy caloric intake was 1800 calories you should consume 2100 calories a day.
If it was 1400 calories you should consume 1700 calories, and so on and so forth.
Will you gain weight? Yes, definitely.
Is that ok? You bet it is. Now is not the time to worry about losing weight.
In fact, it is healthy to gain some weight during pregnancy. Eat the correct foods and eat more so that there are sufficient calories and nutrients in your body for both you and your baby.
Unlike the first trimester, most women do not experience morning sickness or fatigue. The body has adapted to the pregnancy and usually, that means more energy.
You should probably feel like you have more energy in your second trimester.
That will mean that you can be more active. Of course, the same rule applies about low impact exercises. However, now you should aim to incorporate strength training exercises in your regimen.
Pay more attention to exercises that tone your back muscles, neck muscles and legs. Pregnancy will place some strain on all these muscles. You often hear of pregnant women complaining that their backs, necks and legs ache or feel tired. Now you know why.
These are some of the best strength exercises that you can do during your second trimester. If you do not know how to do them, you can always Google them or look them up on YouTube.
- Step ups
- Modified side planks (knees at 90 degrees on ground)
- Bird dog
- Bicep/triceps curls
- Straight Leg calf stretch
- Hip flexor stretch
As far as cardio goes, you may carry on with your walking or stationary bike workouts sessions.
The thing about exercise is that it really depends on the individual.
There are women who are extremely sporty before pregnancy and can go running or even play sports during pregnancy.
Is this advisable? It depends. Only you will know your own capabilities.
Ideally, contact sports should be avoided.
The best person to speak to, will be your doctor. He/she will be able to advise you on the best types of exercises that are best suited for you.
Generally, most women will do just fine walking or doing a stationary bike. There is really no need to overdo it or try and prove that pregnancy is not holding you back.
Also, do not exercise more than you have to just because you’re consuming more calories during your second trimester and you want to burn them off and stay slim.
This is counter-productive and will affect both you and the baby adversely.
Enjoy your pregnancy. You will have the happy glow of a pregnant woman. There is no need to worry about looking like a Swimsuit Illustrated model.
The Third Trimester – Nutrition & Exercise Tips
By now, you should have had several appointments with your doctor and he/she should be monitoring your progress.
What your calorie requirement should be in the third trimester will be determined by your condition. Your doctor will advise you if you need to eat more or less. Just follow the doctor’s advice.
By now, the baby bump should be showing significantly. It may hinder most of the exercise movements that you’re accustomed too. However, you will still be able to go walking or use the stationary bike.
The goal is just to be moving. Don’t focus on sweating or getting your heart pumping. It’s not about intensity. It’s about movement.
You can follow the same strength training exercises mentioned during the second trimester.
Alternatively, you may wish to go for a few classes of yoga specifically designed for pregnant women. These classes often focus on stretching and also relieving the tension in the back, legs and neck area.
In the last trimester, every movement might be an effort. If you feel like you’re not in the mood to exercise or it’s just too much effort, you may take a break.
Being happy also matters because if you’re happy, the baby will be happy too.
You may also wish to meditate and relax to clear your mind and de-stress. There is immense power in mediation.
Chapter 5 – The Baby has arrived! What now?
This is the part where you cuddle your baby and make cooing noises. It’s also the part where you order your partner to do your every bidding because you’re recovering.
After childbirth, you may slowly reduce your calorie consumption. Carry on with your clean eating and eat sufficient quantities of nutritious food.
You will be lactating and will need to breastfeed your child. Once again, the best person to speak to, will be your doctor.
Generally, there are a few breastfeeding tips you should be aware of.
- It will hurt initially
- Moisturize your nipples with olive oil
- Use comfortable bras
- Drink lots of water and stay hydrated at all times
- Eat well and consume sufficient calories
There will be many other things to do as a new mommy. You can learn all these from a guide for new mothers.
Those are beyond the scope of this book which is focused more on nutrition and fitness.
Which brings us to the next point… getting your body back in shape after childbirth.
2 or 3 weeks after you have given birth; you will be ready to start on your exercise program.
Now… and only NOW… do you start focusing on attaining your dream body. Of course, before you can get there, you will need to shed the weight.
Once again you will check your daily caloric requirement. Once you have a number, you will aim for a 500 calorie deficit daily. This is a safe number to aim for.
Don’t aim to cut your calories too low. This does not speed up your results. It will just plateau your body and impede any further progress.
Now that you’ve given birth, you can exercise often. However there are a few things you must be aware of.
It takes six weeks to three months for your body to heal after pregnancy.
What that means is that your training program should still be low impact. Forget HIIT training or sprinting. Low impact training is your mantra.
Don’t worry. You will still lose weight at a steady rate. As long as your body is at a caloric deficit, it is inevitable that you lose weight.
If you went walking twice a day with each session lasting 30 to 45 minutes, you will be amazed at how much weight you will lose.
Want to challenge yourself? Walk uphill. Want more challenge? Add ankle weights and walk.
That’s how you do it.
As long as your diet is clean and healthy and you’re at a daily caloric deficit… you will lose the weight.
Many women get impatient and want fast results. Weight loss is not a fast process. It doesn’t matter if you’re pregnant or not… Losing weight is an uphill task that takes time.
Never give up on it just because you think it will take you 8 months to lose all the weight you’ve gained. The time is going to pass anyway.
8 months later, you will still be where you are if you don’t make an active effort to change.
So, keep at it slowly but surely. Take a photo on day one and take a photo 6 months later. You will be blown away by the results.
Most women are able to return to their pre-pregnancy body shape within six months, just by doing low impact cardio daily and maintaining a caloric deficit.
If they can do it, so can you.
Chapter 6 – Taking Your Fitness to the Next Level
After 6 months, see your doctor and check if you’re able to increase the intensity of your training program.
Once you get the green light, it’s time to pull out all the stops.
Start training with weights and combine your resistance training with cardio sessions.
Keep your cardio sessions short but at a high-intensity. This will put your body in fat burning mode for hours.
The principles are the same. A caloric deficit and training.
To go from moderately fit to super fit is just a matter of intensity and time.
The more intensely you train the better your results will be. Train intensely for 3 months and that will be good… but spend a year training and your body will be fantastic. The longer the duration, the better your body.
Mindset is also important.
The birth of a child does not doom you to living life with an out-of-shape body. It’s not a lifelong curse of being fat.
In fact, there is nothing stopping you from getting the body that you want. The only thing stopping you, is you.
Now you are a mother and you have every reason to be a living example for your child. Set a fitness goal for yourself.
Strive towards it. Stay focused and set small, measurable goals. Be happy with the little achievements and celebrate them. The end goal is a result of all the milestones you reached along the way.
Time flies, and before you know it, you will have the body your heart desires. You will be the envy of the other women.
They’ll probably think you have good genetics or that you did liposuction. People often put others down to lift themselves up. It helps them see past their own failings.
You, however, will know better. You will know that it took effort, discipline and determination. Aren’t these the qualities you want your child to have?
Of course you do. They will learn more by watching what you do rather than by listening to what you say. Be an example for them. They’ll be proud of you… and more importantly, you’ll be a proud mommy… and proud of mommy too.
That is truly priceless.