Not everyone can be like Gisele Bundchen, who posed on the cover of a lifestyle magazine in a bikini, just two months after giving birth to a baby girl. According to holistic healing practitioner, Dr Tyran Mincey, on an average, pregnant women gain at least 25lb during their term. This is impacted by the diet and lifestyle, before and after giving birth.

Post-birth, it is important to understand that the body is going through myriad changes. “The body is an intensely dynamic entity. Most changes are not visible and take months to complete; endocrine and hormonal changes for example,” she explains. It is important to give the body several months to recuperate and re-equilibrate.

Check with your doctor to know what the ideal resting duration (postpartum period stretches to a minimum of six weeks) is for your body. This will also depend on the kind of delivery you went through.


The New Mommy Diet
When you do feel up to getting back on your fitness regime, think about how you will treat your body safely and efficiently. One must meet basic nutrition, structural, and dietary needs.

After the first month (following the birth), and after consulting with a healthcare practitioner, begin with a gentle low-level exercise program. Try walking at least three times a week. It is a misconception that exercise is the most effective and important way to reduce weight, says Mincey. Nutrition and function come first.

Post-delivery, when trying to get back in shape, make sure you drink lots of water to flush out excess fluid. High-fibre foods also help clean the intestinal tract, making the digestive process more efficient. Up your protein intake and try to cut down on fats, while returning to the calorie intake that you would ingest before you were pregnant.


The New Mommy Workout
Trying to do an ambitious number of crunches will not help. It could instead, cause further damage. During pregnancy, the outermost abdominal muscles stretch and separate to make room for the expanding uterus. After birth, the uterus shrinks back to its original form; these abdominal muscles may stay separated. Crunches put pressure on the tissue that connects the outermost abdominal muscles and can further separate them.

Instead, try to improve your posture and use toning exercises while carrying and feeding your baby. Stretching and pelvic floor exercises will help amp up your energy levels and improve flexibility. Yoga is also a safe option.

On a parting note, shedding postpartum pounds can be tricky says OBGYN, Dr Drai. Luckily, a lot of the natural order of things works to bring your body back to its original form. For example, breastfeeding is beneficial for your baby and it helps you lose that post-child birth weight. “The key is exercising while you are pregnant. This helps your labor go smoothly and it makes it easier to lose weight afterwards,” he says.

An alumnus of Asian College of Journalism, and Cardiff University, Wales, Yoshita Sengupta has more than five years of experience in writing for various news outlets. As Founder and Director of Underscore, a content solutions agency, she writes for multiple digital and print news outlets and consults brands. When not working for Underscore, she works with social entrepreneurs and homeless communities, which includes running a library for street children.