3 part question involving overall toning up during and after pregnancy, boobs, and getting my lady parts back to (well...at least CLOSE to the way they were) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 02-25-2014, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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1st off I would like some fitness advice about getting good overall muscle tone after I have my bouncing baby girl. I was overweight before pregnancy. I weighed 183 at my heaviest and was feeling miserable. Once I got pregnant I was so sick that I dropped down to 165 within 2 months. Now at 6 months, I weight 170, and I feel great. My baby is perfectly healthy and I am forming much better eating habits (for her sake but also for mine). My waist has come back, and my arms and face are nowhere near as chunky as they were. I am confident that with a good work ethic and determination I can get back down to my goal weight (145) after my baby is born without a ton of pain and misery. I am planning to breast feed which I am told will be a huge help. My question is this, yes, I think I can come out of this smaller than I went in. Which in itself will be great, but I am not very toned at all. Never have been. I want a nice butt and good legs! I want definition in my arms! I will probably never have a 6 pack and thats fine but I would like to be able to wear a pair of shorts or a sleeveless shirt and feel really happy about it. Are there some safe and effective low impact exercises that have worked wonders for any moms up here?? During and after pregnancy? I want to jump start it because I am really feeling motivated, but I also know that I don't want to get too crazy on the workout train while I am pregnant. 


ok part two....boobs. I'm quite fond of my boobs. Are they going to change dramatically? I am GOING to breastfeed if I can and would do so even if I was told my boobs would shrink to raisins because my child's health comes first, but I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to preserve ones lovely lady lumps as best as possible.  Genetically, the women in my family have not had too much trauma when it comes to breast changes after child birth. I guess that is on my side. Aside from that though is there anything I can do to prevent sagging? Will certain exercises help? Does breastfeeding itself in fact help?


Last but not least. My babies father has assured me that there is not a dramatic change in....I guess the overall feel of sex after childbirth. Other men have jokingly told me (though I do not find it funny) that sex is nothing like it used to be after a woman has a child. That its much looser forever and ever etc....and it terrifies me. I do kegel exercises now because my doctor says it will help when it comes time to push. Is it really that different after? I am sure that I am on my daughter's father's last nerve at this point because I am so afraid that once we are at a point where we want to have sex again, we will try, and it will be like OH NO THIS IS NO GOOD ANYMORE AT ALL! It scares me. A lot!! I realize women have had babies forever and ever and I dont know why I let a few male jokes get me so worked up but it really does frighten me. I want to feel that I still have plenty to offer sexually after my child is born. I dont want to agonize over it. Any advise on how to spring back as best as I can in that region after childbirth? 

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#2 of 8 Old 03-05-2014, 09:17 PM
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I don't know anything about toning during pregnancy, I myself worked on my feet my whole pregnancy and walked quite a bit and kept my good legs ;) Boobs are also the same! Vagina... I had a c-section so same here, but I hear many women say that it came back to normal.


I would stay active during the pregnancy but wait after birth to really worry about getting back in shape - the baby will take many naps and if you are motivated, you will have time to exercise and get back to normal (even fitter, again, with motivation)!

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#3 of 8 Old 03-06-2014, 02:10 PM
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I am also 6 months and this is my 3rd child. I lifted weights 4 times a week before my pregnancy but fell out of the habit when I was experiencing morning sickness. Weight training is the most effective way to build muscle tone. Excercises using your own body weight is the most convenient because they usually don't require too much in the way of fitness equipment.Zuzka Light has great 20 minute circuits that can be done in the privacy of your own home and quickly. Since you are pregnant don't push yourself at all, you will run out of breath quickly and some movements will be difficult if not impossible with the baby bump and lack of balance. Walking uphill or on the treadmill at an incline is great for resistance and cardio. Do not do anything "hardcore" now or for at least 6 months after birth without proper support, your ligaments and tendons will be loose due to hormones and make you more prone to muscle strain.

In regards to whether your vaginal tone will remain the same or get looser, I don't know, I haven't noticed ANY difference after 2 babies and neither has my husband, like literally NO difference at all and I was expecting it to change because of stories about how it had gotten "roomier" from a cousin. It may be because I am pretty active and maintain muscle tone throughout my whole body by lifting weights. I just read on here how great squats are for keeping your pelvic floor tone...
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#4 of 8 Old 03-07-2014, 05:07 AM
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It's portent to do the right type of exercise during pregnancy (get your feet up for a rest regularly, and don't overdo it). It's also important to rest after you've had the baby so that your body can repair itself.
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#5 of 8 Old 03-07-2014, 02:32 PM
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Congratulations on your weight loss so far!  I like your positive attitude.


I have never been overweight--in fact, I have a tendency to get underweight if I've been sick a lot--but I did have some struggle regaining my abdominal muscle tone after my first pregnancy.  Finally I discovered balancing on an exercise ball is fabulous for the abs and "core strength" and just 15 minutes a day will make a difference!  Eventually I started sitting on a ball instead of my desk chair at work, and that really worked wonders.  Before this pregnancy, I was able to do things on the playground that I had never been able to do even when I was a kid! :bgbounce  I would not start this until after your 6 week postpartum checkup, though.


For legs and butt, walking is convenient and versatile, and you can do it with your baby!  Mine loved to be taken for a walk when he was getting fussy.  A baby carrier gives you better exercise than a stroller (because you're carrying baby's weight) and is easier to use on trails, stairs, cracked sidewalks, etc.  I was taking short walks, under a mile, about a week postpartum.  If you're pushing yourself too hard, your bleeding will increase, so that's a handy sign to slow your pace and turn toward home.


For arms, remember you will be lifting your baby a lot, and she will gradually increase in weight to improve your training!  You can purposely do stuff that's fun for the baby and exercise for you, like waving her around at arms' length while dancing.


During pregnancy, walking is good, and look up some pregnancy yoga exercises.


Breasts: What I've heard is that changes happen more from pregnancy than from breastfeeding, so you don't escape them by bottle-feeding.  I didn't have much change except that my nipples have always looked a bit different (darker and pointier) than before the first pregnancy, and I am a larger size while pregnant and for the first year or so of nursing...after that I gradually went back to my old size as my son slowly decreased nursing during the second year.


Hobo Mama has an excellent article on postpartum sex.  For me, yes, my internal landscape did change quite a bit.  My partner said this was actually exciting, though, because it was like being with someone new! :love He feels I was "looser" only for about 6 months afterward.  Kegels!!  I also had a change in the feel of the opening because I had an episiotomy, but this has turned out to be an improvement because I used to have a deep "pocket" behind a membrane where bits of lint and such would get caught, and this doesn't happen anymore.

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#6 of 8 Old 03-12-2014, 08:57 PM
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The only things that are not safe to do while pregnant are:


HEAVY weight lifting

OVER stretching muscles 

things that feel intuitively wrong

anything bouncing/jerking/jarring/abrupt/extreme sports, etc


Your average pregnant mama isn't even going to think about doing that stuff. What I tell all my friends who are pregnant and my clients, is make exercise a non-negotiable, and give yourself an (unless I am sick) minimum that you have to do per day. For me while I was pregnant I made it a priority and non-negotiable to walk 3 miles every day. and I did. and I gained 20-ish pounds that all came off within a week. I also maintained my muscle tone, except for my poor booty muscles, which definitely shrank. However- there is a correlation between gluteal muscles and pelvic floor strength- and during pregnancy the pelvic floor is weakened and stretched- so I think that's what happened there. 


For toning and gaining definition, you need to remove the layer of fat that is lying on top of your muscles, while simultaneously strengthening, lengthening and toning the muscle that is there. To easily reduce the amount of fat you have, cut out all sugar- this is good to do while pregnant anyways- because your insulin response is so sensitive. I cut out everything but low-glycemic coconut nectar while I was pregnant (and now, postpartum). Eat lots of fresh salads, vegetable juice, smoothies with protein powder, whole grains like quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, sweet potatoes and dark leafy greens like kale. 


Four basic easy toning exercises you can do at home that are safe for pregnancy are:

Squats- 2 sets of 20- tones entire posterior chain of muscles

Dips-2 sets of 15 tones the triceps, which makes up the bulk of the muscle on your arms 

Lunges- 2 sets of 10 one rep = a lunge on both sidesback lunges and front lunges, curtsy lunges as long as your knees are safe and healthy

Donkey kicks 2 sets of 30 each- on hands and knees, also encourages baby to be in a good position, tones the booty!


this workout is easy, requires no weights, and you can easily do at home in 15 minutes with a chair for a prop for balance as you get further along.


Prenatal yoga is also wonderful- check out classes in your area or use yogaglo.com


You can check out my website www.yoginimomma.com for more info on getting fit and being healthy while pregnant and afterwards.

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#7 of 8 Old 03-20-2014, 08:56 AM
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Yoga, Pilates, and Kegels are all you really need. And don't let your dr. or midwife give you an episiotomy! I get comments all the time about how toned my arms and legs are and all I do is walk on the treadmill or outside and go to a one-hour exercise class 3 times a week at my local gym (which offers free childcare for up to 2 hours per day which means I get time for a nice shower after my workout as well). The exercise class I go to combines yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi.  It isn't a slow stretch class, we are in almost constant motion except during certain stretches. My butt has never looked so good.  And just be sure to do those Kegels girl! I have had 2 big babies and never have any issues in the lady parts area. Everything is just like it used to be. I will say that I did not have an episiotomy.  Don't let them cut you, all of the people I know who had bad issues were cut and then tore and had major issues. No one needs to be cutting you, just listen to your body and push slowly and you won't incur lasting damage. I had a homebirth with no pain killers or anything and was able to push slowly and go with how I felt so that I didn't tear.  Don't let people make you feel like you will be dumpy after you have the baby, that is just a bunch of negativity you don't need. Now, go on with your fabulous self! 

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#8 of 8 Old 03-21-2014, 06:46 AM
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While LoveChild is correct that episiotomy is usually unnecessary and can actually make things worse, there are situations in which it is the right choice.  In my case, I had this "pocket" I mentioned above, behind a piece of skin called the fourchette.  My more attentive and experienced boyfriends had mentioned that I had an unusually large fourchette and that this pocket was not something they had noticed on other women.  When I was trying to push my baby out, part of his head got stuck in that pocket, and I could not get it out.  I tried different pushing positions, perineal massage, everything the midwife or I could think of, but it was just stuck.  Looking at it in the mirror, I felt an urge to just grab some scissors and get this over with--and that is exactly what my midwife did, after applying a numbing cream.  I did not tear at all beyond the cut, and I am sure that without the cut I would have had to push until the fourchette was forced to tear, which might have hurt worse or might have been the same but I'm pretty sure would not have been better!  Having stitches in that delicate area was no fun at all, but it healed well.  After 4 weeks I felt only slightly tender.  I no longer have an unusually large fourchette--it healed to a more typical size--so I don't anticipate having any need for episiotomy the second time around.

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