September 22, 2008

Get Your Body Back

Its funny, as my due date approaches I get one of two comments from people:
1)I bet you cant wait to hold that baby
2)I bet you cant wait to get your body back
People are always of one mindset or the other - they think about the joys of having a baby, or the joys of ending the pregnancy. Personally, I have a tough time thinking about either. Its impossible to image (especially as a first-time-mom) holding a baby that is "mine" and all of the stuff that follows once Jeff and I are actually parents. But, its also impossible for me to imagine my body ... the one I am in right now sure doesnt feel like mine, and I dont really know when it will again!

A few weeks ago a friend of mine told me she is doing a 1/2 Marathon in Miami in January ... and since I will have had the baby by then did I want to do it with her. Sure, it sounds fun...but I am not even sure when (or IF) I will start running again, let alone be up to the ability of running 13 miles 3 months after the baby. Then my sister asked today "How long does it take to get your body back?". I told her that I had heard it takes about 6 months, and I could her her jaw hit the floor all the way from D.C.

Im no Heidi Klum, who hit the Victoria Secret runway 8 weeks after having a baby looking like this. In fact, all the dieting, plastic surgery, fancy lighting and photo-retouching in the world couldnt make me look anything like this.

Lots of people think its just about losing the weight - but the structure of a woman's body changes during pregnancy as well. Ab muscles are stretched farther than most believe is humanly possible, and the vertical muscles of the abdominal wall often separate. The pelvis is often wider, making you susceptible to hip, knee and ankle injuries.

The trick is, generally you cannot begin any strenuous exercise for 6 weeks...and research says if you dont lose all of your baby weight within 6 months you are more likely to be overweight a full decade later. That means you have about 4.5 months to "get your body back" (while also taking care of a new baby) or else you might never see that old body again. Sure does add on some pressure, huh?

And while it may take 6 months to see that old body again, it can take a full year to feel normal again. Elizabeth Trindade president of Strollercize (a pre- and postnatal exercise program in New York) is quoted in a Fit Pregnancy article:
The only thing that returns to normal at six weeks postpartum is the ability to start working out. You might squeeze back into your pants at six or seven months if you take working out and dieting to the extreme, but that’s not good for you or your family. Work out regularly, don’t panic and you’ll get your body back in a year.
A year huh? Great...just in time for the 2009 Chicago Marathon.

1 comment:

Nikki said...

We're thinking about starting a family soon and I've thought abut this a lot as we've gotten back into running this year. It's a tough topic and even tougher when there are people like Heidi Klum out there!