pregnancy belly measuring tape

By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr Janice TUNG Associate Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Now that your bundle of joy has entered the world, you're probably thinking of exercising so you can return to your pre-pregnancy weight and enjoy wearing your old clothes.

But did you know there's a bonus benefit to regular exercise at this period? Getting sweaty helps you power through the post-partum recovery process, boosting your mood and arming you with extra energy.

Time It Right

time it right

Assuming you underwent a smooth delivery, a good time to start light exercise is about six weeks after birth. If you had a C-section or any complications, check with your doctor before starting an exercise programme.

Tip: What time of the day is best to get your workout on? Aim to exercise after breastfeeding — your breasts will be less full, so you will feel more flexible. Importantly, it's also best not to breastfeed soon after exercise, so that there is no build-up of lactic acid in your breast milk.

Related: Returning to Pre-pregnancy Weight and Shape

Looking to tone your belly muscles? Great! Just make sure that if you've had a C-section, your abdominal muscles have fully healed. You can:

  • Sit, stand or crouch on your hands and knees, whichever is most comfortable

  • Breathe in and then slowly breathe out, and pretend you're pulling your belly into your backbone

  • Hold this pose for 10 seconds, breathing lightly

  • Repeat this 10 times to complete one "set"

  • Feel free to undergo this easy exercise as many times as you'd like. You may find it super relaxing

Related: Pregnancy Exercises

Set Realistic Goals

set realistic goals

It's best not to expect that you'll go back to your pre-baby shape immediately — a healthy amount of weight loss is one to two kilos a month.

If you're raring to exercise harder, you won't have to wait long: four months after delivery, you can go on to running or moderate/high-impact aerobics.

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Sources:

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific

Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore