As women, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get back in shape after baby is born. So, when talking to my friend Dee Osbourne, a Pilates instructor who specializes in pre- and post-natal workouts, as well as injury rehabilitation, I am determined not to let that pressure get to me, even now in my third trimester. Instead of over-doing it the gym, I’ll be taking Osbourne’s advice on how to slowly get into shape enough for what my new life is about to look like.
The Third Trimester:
“You do what you can and be as safe as you can,” Osbourne cautions me about the months and weeks preceding my childbirth. “It’s important to get cardio in.” She says it will help condition my lunges and increase blood flow, but only if it feels good. I can try walking, cycling or the elliptical.“Anything to still get your heart rate up a little bit.”
Also maintaining my current level of flexibility and range of motion is important during my third trimester. Osborne suggests I check out prenatal yoga classes (where squats, hip opening poses and pelvic floor exercises take over from a more rigorous flow), as well as prenatal Pilates for consistent workouts to help with low energy levels.
Mom’s Advice: In my third trimester, I have taken to using the same rich cream after every shower, plus adding a daily smattering of body oil on the aforementioned areas. I am doubling up because I’ve heard this is the time when stretch marks are most likely to happen. I like Bio-Oil and Biotherm Body Refirm Stretch Oil.
The Fourth Trimester:
Yes, you read that right. My naturopath taught me about this. The baby’s first three months of life outside of the womb is called the fourth trimester. That’s because what baby needs at this point can be seen as an extension of what they were getting in utero. “For the first couple of weeks, at least, three maybe four weeks, you’re not going to actually want to work out because you have no time,” says Osbourne, who has a two-year-old son. “I felt like I got everything together by week six.”
This is when Osbourne recommends to start getting some physical activity, only if you feel up to it. My husband chuckled when I told him our new stroller came with “all-terrain wheels.” He asked if we were taking baby girl off-roading this winter. But, I know that if, whenever I decide to get off the couch after some hardcore baby snuggles, this stroller could glide through a few inches of wet snow with ease, I will be very happy to have something stable to get me back to walking.
Osbourne tells me about proper stroller form: Keep shoulders back, elbows in and wrists neutral. Also, I’m to walk around the house barefoot holding baby instead of in a carrier. This will help baby start to strengthen all the different muscle groups. Walking barefoot will ignite the muscles in my feet, which can help strengthen the pelvic floor. Everything is connected!
And most importantly, I’m to go easy on myself. “Your whole life has changed, you just have to deal with it,” jokes Osbourne. “I felt so infuriated with that ‘get your body back’ mentality. Let’s actually appreciate our bodies for what they’ve been through and let’s make our bodies strong for what it needs to do now.”
Mom’s Advice: Our all-terrain stroller also comes with a winter-ready sack for baby to stay warm while I wheel her around during our upcoming deep freeze. It’s the Bugaboo Buffalo Classic Collection stroller.