Getting Back Your Before-Baby Body

October 30, 2008
By Charles Stuart Platkin
Special to The Seattle Times

This is the first of a two-part series on fitness and nutrition for new mothers.

Can you really get back your old body, or even a better one, after having a baby? If so, how long should it take?

You can still have a great body post-pregnancy. “It’s not too much to expect to get your body back. I know many women even after multiple children who gain better bodies than they’ve ever had. You do want to give your body some time to do this. Don’t expect miracles. It took you 40 weeks to stretch that body out, so you need to give it time to bounce back,” says Lisa Druxman, the creator of Stroller Strides and author of “Lean Mommy” (Center Street, 2007). “It isn’t going to happen overnight, and it takes discipline and time (both of which are in short supply for most new moms!). So, expect to see results in an average of three to 12 months,” says Dr. Jennifer Wider, author of “The New Mom’s Survival Guide” (Bantam, 2008).

However, a recent review from Cochrane Library suggests that women who return to their pre-pregnancy weight by about six months have a lower risk of being overweight 10 years later.

What are the benefits of postnatal exercise?

“Exercising after having a baby can speed a woman’s recovery time after delivery. In addition, a recent article in the journal Birth reveals that exercise can lessen the severity of depression in new moms. Other studies have also suggested that exercising can lower a woman’s chances of postpartum depression. Postnatal exercise can also increase a woman’s energy, which can be quite beneficial when she is exhausted by all the changes in her life,” says Wider. More…