The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Los Angeles-based Valerie Waters is a personal trainer with a red-hot roster of celebrity moms, including Jennifer Garner, Cindy Crawford and Kim Raver, and she knows firsthand the challenges of getting her clients into peak physical condition after pregnancy. “First and foremost, forget what you hear about celebrities getting back into shape in two to three weeks after giving birth,” says Waters.
"The process of getting fit again takes time and should be done with great care.” Waters suggests beginning with 20- to 30-minute workouts that alternate strength training and cardio exercise. “If you don’t take care of yourself, it will catch up with you,” she says. “You need your strength back so you can keep up with the demands of new motherhood.” According to Waters, it’s best to lay the groundwork before you give birth.
Actress and mother of two Kim Raver agrees, saying, “The key thing I learned about post-pregnancy weight loss is that it really helps if you are in shape during pregnancy.” After having a baby, Raver also worked with Waters’ good friend and celebrity trainer David Kirsch. “It’s so hard to find time to exercise when you have a new baby,” says Raver.
“But, it’s important to carve out time for yourself when you’re ready to get back in shape.” Waters designed the following workout, a modification of her Red Carpet Ready Workout originally created for her celebrity clients, exclusively for Fit Pregnancy with busy new moms in mind. “Many of these moves work multiple muscles, so it’s time efficient,” says Waters. “I wanted the workout to be energizing, not depleting, as afterward you’ll probably have to feed your baby—and not be able to take a nap!”
The following moves can be done every other day. Wait six weeks before beginning this workout. If you’ve had a Cesarean section, wait at least eight weeks or until your incision has healed. Always check with your doctor before beginning this or any workout program.
You will need exercise tubing with handles for this workout (available at sporting goods stores or spri.com).
Take a 10-or 15-minute walk or bike ride or stay indoors and do 10 minutes of full-body movements such as shoulder rolls, plies, knee lifts and arm swings.
Follow the suggested reps for each exercise. Begin gradually, doing one set of each exercise, adding another set when you feel strong enough. Build up to three sets total. For an additional calorie burn, add more cardio into your workout by taking a brisk 10-minute walk with your baby in a stroller or dance with your baby in a front carrier. Gradually add five minutes each day, building up to 30 minutes of cardio.
Do light stretches for the lower back and torso by lying on your back and hugging one knee into your chest. Hold for 30 seconds, then