David Wescon loves helping new mums feel good about themselves! He is a personal trainer who loves what he does and has been working in the health and fitness industry since 2005. His passion for health lies in positively impacting the lives of others, and he helps to support mums with exercise and nutrition in a safe and healthy way. That means no unrealistic pressures or expectations.
We've asked David some questions about how new mums can ease themselves back into fitness after giving birth.
Q. What's different about working with women who have had children?
A. Giving birth is a big deal for the body and can take some time to recover. This can be a slow process and a doctor’s clearance would be recommended before starting.
There would be a focus on core if the mother was ready - usually six weeks after birth for a natural birth and eight to 12 weeks for a C-section.
Other things like making sure posture is assessed is important as the body could be out of alignment after a heavy child birth. I would avoid any hard intensity for the first couple of months especially.
Q. What are some realistic goals mothers can set for themselves in terms of weight and body composition?
A. A realistic goal could be as simple as building up some strength and finding a routine. With a new baby, finding a routine is the biggest challenge.
Weight loss of more than 700g per week can decrease milk production and put both the mother and baby at risk of nutrient deficiency.
Eating for weight loss is not recommended for mothers who are breast feeding - a new mother needs her strength so a well-balanced diet is important.
In most cases, getting the body back into shape post childbirth can be slower than expected, especially if it was a difficult birth.
Q. What are some of the more common "problem areas"? Are there any specific exercises you recommend to work on these areas?
A. This can vary from person to person.
Women tend to store excess fat around their hips and thighs and these are the first "problem areas" a woman may focus on.
As a personal trainer, it is important to assess the mid-section and work to build the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis and pelvic floor muscles and get them back to full strength. This will need to be done under medical supervision.
Q. How can mothers fit in exercise when they have such a busy schedule? Do you have any tips or exercises to recommend?
A. I suggest start small! The backyard can be a very comfortable and very convenient place to start.
[Do] 10-15 minutes per day, two or three times per week of some light resistance work such as body weight squats, lunges, push ups on your knees or a wall, pull ups, dips. If you can include your newborn in the workout in a safe way it may make it more fun!
If you can, exercise with a friend or hire a personal trainer - this can help you organise your time and your busy schedule.
Q. What role does diet play in getting back into shape after baby? What kind of eating regimen can give mums more energy and promote better health?
A. It plays a big role. It is important to keep energy high especially if a mother is breast feeding. If you include carbohydrates and good fats in every meal with a little bit of protein, you will find your energy will be sustained throughout the day and you should feel great!
Q. Do you have any tips for women on how to manage the pressure to lose weight so quickly after childbirth?
1. Hire a personal trainer and give up on the idea of perfection!
2. Enjoy your newborn and enjoy finding a new routine with exercise and eating.
3. Pick a time frame to get back into shape by, and then double it. This way you will relieve the pressure and work to some more realistic deadlines.
4. Focus on well-balanced and regular meals. This is important for mothers especially if you are breast feeding.