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From the minute your baby is born, it’s a whole new world. Your life will be defined by new landmarks, including the magical first time when your baby’s eyes meet yours, and the mundane but still happy occasion of your own first post-delivery shower. Such milestones are so meaningful because they mark moments in your brand-new life as a mother.
One milestone you’re probably eager to reach now is getting your body back into prepregnancy shape. To help you get there, exercise physiologist and Reebok master trainer Lenita Anthony of San Diego, Calif., has designed the following routine just for new moms in the first two months postpartum. As soon as you feel ready and get your doctor’s go-ahead, begin this workout to regain strength and flexibility. Some tips: Before beginning the workout, do five minutes of walking to limber up. Do some shoulder rolls, arms circles, cat backs and a few easy squats (without the baby) to complete your warm-up. Finish your workout by stretching all of your major muscle groups. For best results, aim to do the workout three to four times a week.
Your baby will grow and change every day, and watching this miraculous development is the great joy of parenthood. But you will change, too, as your body recuperates, your emotions settle and your mind adjusts to the new responsibilities of being a mom. Enjoy your new life!
Mama’s first moves
Try these gentle moves in the first few weeks after giving birth to help you regain strength and flexibility (with your doctor’s approval, of course).
Pelvic tilts Lie on the floor face up, knees bent and feet flat. Contract your abdominals gently, tilting pelvis upward. Begin with 10 tilts and progress to 25. To progress further, perform the same exercise in a squat position, knees bent at a 90-degree angle, with your back against a wall.
Shoulder squeeze Practice squeezing your shoulder blades down and together while sitting and breastfeeding. Hold each squeeze for a few seconds. Begin with 5 squeezes and progress to l0.
Belly breathing Lie on the floor face up, knees bent and feet flat. Place hands on lower belly. Inhale, filling belly into hands, then exhale, bringing navel toward spine. Progress by doing the same exercise sitting cross-legged. Begin with 8 breaths and progress to 25.
Kegels Contract the muscles around the vagina and hold for 10 seconds; then slowly release. Aim for 5 sets of 10 reps at a time. Do 3–4 times a day.