There's no one-size-fits-all approach to getting in shape after having a baby, just as there's no one way to exercise while pregnant or even as a parent, for that matter. It comes down to what you (and your doctor) decide is best for your life and your health. Of course, that's easy to say but a lot harder to convince yourself of when you're surrounded by the pressure and expectation to "get your body back" right after giving birth.
Katrina Scott, trainer and cofounder of the popular women's fitness community Tone It Up, can relate. Both during her pregnancy and after she gave birth to her daughter, Bella, in October 2018, Katrina said, "I heard from so many new mums who were struggling to feel comfortable in their postbaby bodies. There is so much pressure to 'bounce back' and get your 'prebaby body.'" Katrina's been open about sharing her pregnancy and motherhood journey — including dealing with that pressure, especially as a figure in the fitness world — on her Instagram page.
Scott told POPSUGAR that giving birth taught her that her body would never be the same — and that it shouldn't have to be. "We're stronger and more powerful now because our bodies did something remarkable," she said. "I am prouder of my body now than I ever have been before. I'm embracing every curve, dimple, and tiger stripe. And I want all new mums to know that the changes in our bodies are either temporary or they are part of the new you! Either way is beautiful."
When it comes to postbaby fitness, Scott said, "have patience, listen to your body, and know that everything counts." That might mean changing your workout routine from your prebaby days or taking things more slowly than you might like. "When you're 'cleared to exercise' after six or eight weeks, that rarely means you're cleared to jump in exactly where you left off," Scott told POPSUGAR. "My advice: if a move feels off, skip it."
If a run feels too high-impact, for example, slow down to a walk on incline, or find another kind of low-impact cardio that you love. Try one of these low-impact videos, or this 20-minute postnatal workout, using modifications and taking breaks as needed. The Studio Tone It Up app also has a section of postnatal workouts made especially with busy new mums in mind.
"Fitness isn't one-size-fits-all, and no one will know exactly what you're feeling except for you," Scott said. "It's all about finding those few moments to move, connect with your body, and clear your mind so you can continue being the amazing mama you are." She added that every woman and every postbaby journey is different, so remember to talk to your doctor if you have questions about what's appropriate and when.