Oh, baby! The challenge of getting back in shape after birth


Oh, baby! The challenge of getting back in shape after birth

Wellness During her pregnancy, Dr. Monica Selander ate healthy and continued to work out regularly, which helped her maintain a healthy weight.

During her pregnancy, Dr. Monica Selander paid close attention to her diet and continued to work out regularly, which helped her return to her pre-pregnancy weight soon after delivery.

The team at Tidelands Health Women’s Center helps families navigate pregnancy and childbirth every day. Now, one of the practice’s physicians – Dr. Monica Selander – has invited us to be part of the journey as she and her husband, Tidelands Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Earl Han, welcome a second child to their family. Follow us on Facebook, check out our Twitter feed and stop back here often to get the latest updates.

You might say Tidelands Health OB-GYN Dr. Monica Selander believes in the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s an approach that was key to helping her return to her pre-pregnancy weight within a few weeks of delivering Luna, her second child with Tidelands Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Earl Han, in late June.
During her pregnancy, she ate a healthy diet and continued to work out regularly.
“I knew what I was going to feel like after delivering Luna given my experience with my older daughter, and the best thing I did was continue to stay active during my second pregnancy,” Dr. Selander says.

A regular at the gym

After her morning sickness abated, Dr. Selander made it a point to go to the gym at least twice a week until she reached 38 weeks.
“I modified my exercises as I got further along, and I feel like that helped me maintain some of my upper body strength and endurance as well,” she says. “Until the end, I was still doing uphill walks on the treadmill and seated upper body weight lifting.”
Breastfeeding baby Luna has also helped Dr. Selander shed pounds. Between nursing and pumping, she burns about 700 calorie a day.
Still, even though the scale says her weight is back to normal, Dr. Selander says she doesn’t quite feel like her pre-baby self just yet.
Between two little ones at home and her career, finding time to exercise and fully rebuild her strength and stamina has been a challenge, she says.

Older sister Nora, 2, likes to be around her baby sister, Luna, - bath or not.

“I have found it difficult to find time to exercise, so I don’t feel like my cardiovascular status is back to normal, nor my muscle strength,” she says. “The truth is, at the end of the day, after taking care of a baby, a toddler and working, I just don’t have much energy left to exercise. It can be really hard to make the gym a priority.”
Still, Dr. Selander hits the gym on weekends and squeezes in a few push-ups or squats when time allows.
“Anything is better than nothing. I have also tried to maintain a healthy diet and limit things like processed foods and simple carbohydrates,” she says.

A good idea to exercise

Angie Hill, senior exercise physiologist at Tidelands HealthPoint Center for Health and Fitness, says staying active during pregnancy is key to maintaining a healthy weight and retaining muscle mass after baby arrives.
“If you’re having a normal, healthy pregnancy, you can exercise safely,” she says. “First, get clearance from your doctor. Women who already exercise can stick with their exercise programs with modifications. Women who don’t already exercise need to start pretty slowly and gradually.”

Modifications will vary from woman to woman, Hill says, but generally you shouldn’t do any exercises while lying on your back after the first trimester or complete exercises that put you a risk of falling or getting your heart rate too high.
Hill says the timeline for exercising after childbirth will vary as well. Women who have had vaginal births can generally resume exercising sooner than women who have had C-sections.
Dr. Selander also faced that obstacle since she delivered Luna via C-section.
“To allow myself to heal properly, I didn’t do any exercising or weightlifting until eight weeks after my surgery, and even then, I gradually increased my activity,” she says. “I started with walking and have incorporated more running, weightlifting and core exercises to my weekend gym trips.”

A new member of the family

Along with getting back to exercising regularly, Dr. Selander says her family is continuing to adjust to being a party of four.
“The absolute key to keeping the peace is to stay as much in our routine as possible,” she says. “Babies and toddlers like to know what is going on, and they feel comfortable with routines, so we keep things pretty much the same day to day.”
But both she and Dr. Han are enjoying watching Luna’s development and the way she’s bonding with her older sister, Nora.
“Now that Luna is 5 months old and has grown so much, it’s becoming a lot fun to watch Nora and Luna interact,” she says. “Nora really enjoys having a little sister around, and I don’t have to worry so much these days about her accidentally hurting Luna.”

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