43-year-old Zareen Siddique is a post-natal fitness expert, a Reebok certified trainer, certified nutritionist, runner and a mother of two. Zareen has many followers who have benefited from her diet plans and personal coaching. After the birth of her second son, she realized how important it is to create awareness about postnatal care for mothers. Not only does she guide new moms with customized diet plans but she also trains them to lose excess tummy flab and regain their strength by training their core muscles. In an exclusive Mother’s Day series with mobiefit, Zareen talks about motherhood and the importance of post-natal care for women.

What is the importance of post-natal fitness?

Many people don’t realize it but exercise after giving birth can speed up recovery and help with muscle toning, further improving strength. But the most important aspect of post-natal care for me has to be that it helps to cope with post-partum depression. Many women start hating their bodies after pregnancy. Light exercises post delivery help a woman cope with the demands of the newborn and the hormonal changes postpartum. Some precautions are to be borne in mind before starting any exercise post delivery.

Which are the crucial exercises and workouts that are essential to get fit after pregnancy?

Kegels and gentle walking are exercises which every new mom should start soon after delivery. You should take up exercise gradually especially if you:

  • Haven’t exercised regularly before or during pregnancy
  • Experienced complications in labor
  • Had a c section delivery.
  • If you had back pain when you were pregnant, see a physiotherapist, before you exercise.

Like pregnancy does post-natal care also have certain diet requisites?

A healthy well balanced light diet without excess fat helps fat loss and recovery postpartum. Small meals at regular intervals and a high fluid intake are a must. Breastfeeding the baby also helps in fat loss and helps the postpartum body regain its pre-pregnancy fitness. Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables are ideal at this time. Herbal teas like cumin and cinnamon help the digestive system recover.

Some precautions new-moms should heed before embarking on a fitness plan?

If you had a cesarean, the first six weeks is the time for your body to heal. Once the doctor gives the clean chit between six weeks and eight weeks, then exercise other than Kegels and walking can be taken up. Don’t start swimming until you’ve had seven days without any postnatal bleeding or discharge in case of a normal delivery. Infections are highly likely when your womb (uterus) is still healing.

Avoid sit-ups after normal delivery if you have a weak pelvic floor as it will worsen stress incontinence. During most pregnancies it is likely that two vertical muscles down your front abdomen stretch apart, creating a gap. This is called diastasis recti. This separation leads to a bulge, below your belly button and needs special exercises done regularly and consistently.

Did you apply this to your life after pregnancy? What made you take post-natal care as your specialization?

After my C- section delivery, I started regular walks and easy workouts in a few weeks . Gradually working on my core muscles to regain strength and lose weight . I specialised in post natal fitness by working with gynaecologists and clients over a period of time, as there is a need to make women aware of their post partum health and the consequences of not looking after yourself post delivery.

Do you workout with your kids? Do you inculcate the habit of daily exercise in your kids?

Most mornings I either run or do functional workouts with a blend of yoga asanas. My daughter who is 17 enjoys occasional runs and is getting aware about healthy food choices in her daily life . My son is fond of sports and outdoor games and does not enjoy junk foods which is a relief for me as a mother .

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