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Updated: June 30, 2012 18:48 IST

Bye baby bump

JAYANTHI MURAHARI
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Set aside time for exercise...Photo: Special Arrangement
Photo: Special Arrangement
Set aside time for exercise...Photo: Special Arrangement

Trying to lose weight gained during pregnancy? Here are a few tips.

At last the wait is over. After weeks of anticipation and expectation the baby has arrived. Then comes the day of realisation; the mother stands in front of the mirror and realises that her baby bump is still rather obvious. It may have looked cute with the baby inside but not after delivery.

Having a baby means a lot of things like losing sleep, coping with the dramatic changes in the body, learning to hold, feed and bathe the tiny one, and dealing with the weight gained during pregnancy. The routine can be both exhausting and overwhelming. So exercising may seem like the last thing you want to do. That's totally understandable but this is also a time when you need to exercise.

If you were active before pregnancy and had a normal delivery with no complications you can start exercising as soon as you feel ready for it, preferably after six weeks. But if you've had a C-section, then consult your doctor before starting a exercise routine.

Benefits

Set aside some time during the day to exercise. This is very important. Exercising can help beat post partum stress. It helps raise metabolism, provides energy and helps you connect with your body. A positive side effect: it will also help you lose those extra kilos.

It's common to gain 12-15 kg on an average during pregnancy. Ideally 6-8 kg can be lost in the first couple of months after delivery. It's only the last few kilos that cling to you. So start early and with a little hard work you can get back in shape.

In some cases the protruding belly during pregnancy can cause diastasis recti, a separation of the rectus abdominis muscle into left and right halves. The rectus abdominis is the outer most abdominal muscle that runs down vertically. This will look like a ridge through the belly. Usually it will resolve on its own but if it doesn't check with your doctor.

Try these simple yet effective exercises initially. Gradually add progressive techniques after consulting your doctor and a fitness expert.

Breathing: Sit straight, roll the shoulders back and avoid tension in any part of the body. Now inhale deeply and slowly through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Slowly draw the abs in and try to brace the transverse abdominis muscle (the deep abdominal muscle that works like a corset around the body).

Kegels: This primary exercise can help you avoid urinary incontinence and rebuild the pelvic floor muscles. They are done by repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form the pelvic floor and can be initiated while passing urine. Once you've got the idea, do it in 2-3 times a day to counts of 10-15 by sitting cross legged or on a chair.

Tummy tucks: Lie on your back with legs bent. Place both your palms on the tummy one inch below the navel on both sides. Now inhale deeply. As you exhale imagine you are completely deflating the tummy. Repeat for 8-10 rounds.

Pelvic bridging: Lie on the back with your legs bent and hands on the side of the body with palms facing down. Gently lift the pelvis off the floor and straighten the hips. Hold for eight counts and relax. Repeat 8-10 times.

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