Post Pregnancy Fitness -- with Lyn Leddy
WebMD Live Events Transcript; Event Date: Thursday, July 1, 2004
By Lyn Leddy
Everyone says having a baby changes your life, but feeling flabby and exhausted is not the "new you" you were counting on! If you want to lose those postpartum pounds, get back in shape, and boost your energy, check out these pregnancy fitness tips from women?s exercise expert, Lyn Leddy. She joined us on July 1, 2004.
If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.
MODERATOR: Welcome to WebMD Live, Lyn. Please tell our new moms and soon-to-be new moms a little bit about yourself.
LEDDY: I?m president of Evolving Fitness. I have a degree in exercise science and a certification from the American College of Sports Medicine. I?ve been practicing exercise physiology since 1992 in various settings: at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Portsmouth Regional Hospital in New Hampshire, AT&T Phone Company in Boston, and Teradyne Systems in Nashua, N.H.
I have a 10-month-old daughter. And my main mission currently, for the past three years, has been focusing on the needs of women throughout pregnancy and beyond.
MODERATOR: What?s the first step new moms should take toward getting into shape?
LEDDY: First they need to be mentally ready, which means you are no longer feeling overwhelmed. Next you start slowly, after gaining consent from your doctor. This could mean walking for 10 minutes, three days a week, then gradually increasing your minutes as you feel comfortable and ready.
MEMBER QUESTION: I am so sleep deprived I can?t imagine working out, but I know it will give me energy. I feel overwhelmed. What can I do to get moving again?
LEDDY: Every child is different. Just because you may see one mother fitting exercise in easily does not mean you should be at her level. Be creative with ways to get more active. For example, taking a stroller walk during nap times every day could be a realistic achievement.
MEMBER QUESTION: I could live with being big and round during my pregnancy, but I was pretty shocked at how big my stomach was after delivery! It?s gone down a little now that a couple of months have gone by, but I need to do something to this flab. Is it too much to expect a flat tummy ever again?
LEDDY: No, that?s not unrealistic. Exercise performed four days a week regularly, along with a good eating plan, will shed pounds; about 2 to 8 pounds per month. The key is being regular, consistent, and patient; and the pounds will come off. Strength training at least two days per week will tone your abdominal muscles back to fighting condition. It took you nine months to gain weight; it can take four to 10 months to take it all off.
MODERATOR: Are there specific exercises you recommend for post-pregnancy?
LEDDY: A sample exercise prescription for post-partum pregnancy would be walking or using a cardiovascular machine four to five days a week, starting at 20 minutes, working up to 50 minutes, making sure that you can talk comfortably yet feel like you're getting a brisk walk and that your heart is pumping and you're breathing heavily.
To tone your midsection, sit on a stability ball and perform a pelvic tilt:
Then to strengthen your lower back, which helps pull in weak abdominal muscles:
These two exercises are the basic fitness moves two to six weeks after pregnancy. After six weeks you may begin standard abdominal exercises, such as lying on the floor and bringing your shoulders off of the floor and slowly lowering them down, which is called an abdominal crunch, and the bicycle, which is performed lying on the floor, hands behind your head, and touching your elbow towards your opposite knee, which is being brought in towards you.
MEMBER QUESTION: Although I am active (I have a 20-month-old to chase around all day) I am not really working out. We walk, but that is about it. I am 122 pounds and 5 feet 4 inches tall. At 37 I feel I should be doing more to prepare my body for another pregnancy, but feel limited on time to myself to have a set routine. We are trying to conceive baby No. 2 now and I am wondering if I start adding 15 minutes of yoga a day now if I can continue this type of workout if I get pregnant this month. Is it too late to start?