Healthy eating and exerciseView all services
|Having a baby can be one of the most rewarding and challenging things you will experience. Despite having less time than usual, it is more important than ever that you look after your physical health in a way that is manageable for you.|
This could mean adding small, simple activities into your day, such as trying to get some fresh air for you and your baby, or trying to eat one more piece of fruit and veg than you normally would. For others, it might involve joining an exercise class such as Mamafit.
It is important to make small, sustainable changes that feel good. Exercise should be enjoyable, not like a punishment. For healthy eating advice, speak to your Health Promotion Worker at your local Children's Centre to see if you can benefit from Healthy Start vitamins.
If you are on a low income, you might be eligible for Healthy Start Vouchers, which is an NHS scheme that helps women who are pregnant or have young children and are receiving benefits to buy foods such as milk or fruit.
When you're feeling tired, being active may seem like the last thing you want to do.
But regular activity can relax you, keep you fit and help you feel more energetic.
It can also help your body recover after childbirth and may help prevent postnatal depression.
When can I start exercising after birth?
If you had a straightforward birth, you can start gentle exercise as soon as you feel up to it. This could include walking, gentle stretches, pelvic floor and tummy exercises.
It's usually a good idea to wait until after your 6-week postnatal check before you start any high-impact exercise, such as aerobics or running.
If you exercised regularly before giving birth and you feel fit and well, you may be able to start earlier. Talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP.
If you had a more complicated delivery or a caesarean, your recovery time will be longer. Talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP before starting anything strenuous.
What should I be aware of before exercising?
Your lower back and core abdominal muscles may be weaker than they used to be.
Your ligaments and joints are also more supple and flexible for a few months after birth, so there's an increased risk of injury if you stretch or twist too much.
Do not rely on your pre-pregnancy sports bra. Your back and cup size are likely to have changed, so get measured for a new one.
How do I know if I'm overdoing exercise after having a baby?
If your postnatal bleeding (lochia) gets heavier or changes colour (becomes pink or red) after activity, you could be overdoing it. You're also likely to feel very tired.
Listen to your body. Pace yourself and make sure you get plenty of rest too.
- Do some postnatal exercises. They'll strengthen your muscles and help get you in shape. See Your post-pregnancy body for ideas, or ask your midwife or health visitor.
- Join a postnatal exercise class. Lots of postnatal classes let you do the class with your baby at your side. Some include your baby and their pram or buggy as part of the workout. Ask your health visitor if they know of any in your area. If you're going to a class that is not a special postnatal class, make sure you tell the instructor that you've recently had a baby. You could also try this postnatal yoga video.
- Push the pram or buggy briskly. Remember to keep your arms bent and your back straight. Make sure the handles are at the right height for you – your elbows should be bent at right angles. Walking is great exercise, so try to get out as much as you can.
- Play energetic games with older children. You can exercise by running around with them.
- Build activity into your day. Use the stairs instead of the lift or, for short journeys, walk instead of taking the car.
- Bend your knees when you pick things up off the floor, rather than bending at the waist. If you bend down with bent knees and a straight back, instead of bending over at the waist (straight knees and a bent spine), you'll strengthen your thigh muscles and avoid damaging your back. Hold heavy objects close to your body.
- Try swimming. It's good exercise and also relaxing, but you'll need to wait until 7 days after your postnatal bleeding has stopped. If you take your baby with you, try to have someone else there to mind the baby so you have a chance to swim.
- Borrow, buy or watch exercise videos online. This is a good way to work out at home. You could get a friend or your children to join in.
Try to make eating well a priority. It will make you feel better, and healthy eating is important for the whole family. Aim to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
If you think you need to lose weight, there's lots of help available, including individual and group support. Your health visitor, midwife or GP should be able to give you more information about options near you.
If you join a weight-loss group, tell them that you have recently had a baby, and let them know if you're breastfeeding, so they can give you the right advice.
Time-saving food tips for new parents
- Try cooking more than you need and freeze the extra portions for another day.
- Tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables are quick to prepare, and they count towards your 5 A Day.
- Choose vegetables that can be eaten raw, for example, carrots and celery, and snack on these between meals if you get hungry.
- Steaming is a healthy and quick way to cook vegetables and fish.
If friends or family are keen to help, take up their offer of a healthy home-cooked dinner once in a while.
If you're breastfeeding and you're a healthy weight for your height, you do not need to eat a special diet. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, drink plenty of fluids – including water – and get enough rest.
If you're breastfeeding and you're overweight, the best way to lose weight is by eating a healthy, balanced diet and taking regular, moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk for 30 minutes each day. This will not affect the quality or quantity of your breast milk.
Read more about breastfeeding and diet, including which foods to avoid.
Mamafit offer exercise & lifestyle courses for pregnant women and mums available ‘in person’ and online for women living in Liverpool, Knowsley or under the care of Liverpool Women’s Hospital
- Learn how to be active during pregnancy or after having a baby
- Get fit for birth and strong for motherhood
- Healthy eating advice and lifestyle tips
- Improve posture to reduce aches and pains
- Fun, friendly and inclusive environment
Courses are available at:
- Dingle Lane Children’s Centre, L8
- Hunts Cross Children’s Centre, L25
- Liverpool Women’s Hospital, L8
- Anfield Children’s Centre, L4
- Jubilee Children’s Centre, L36
- Star Centre, Kirkby, L33
- Southmead Centre, Whiston, L25
- New Hutte Children & Family Hub, L26
FREE courses are available for women living in Liverpool, Knowsley or under the care of Liverpool Women’s Hospital. Each course runs for 6 weeks and classes last for 1 hour.
Find your local class and view all available classes including Pilates, Pregnancy Fitness and Mum and Baby exercise classes HERE
Got a question or looking for support? Join Mamafit’s online community for peer-to-peer support from other local pregnant women and mums.
Pregnancy and Mums Health, Fitness & Wellbeing
Mamafit offer award winning exercise & lifestyle courses and fitness classes for pregnant women & new mums.
Classes are delivered in venues across Merseyside.
Why is it important for mums to be active?
- Be fit to deal with the challenges of motherhood
- Strengthen your body following pregnancy
- Be a healthy role model for your children
- A great way to get out of the house & meet new friends
Find out more HERE
Why should you be active during pregnancy?
• Give your baby the best start in life
• Control weight gain
• Improve sleep
• Improve mood
• Get fit for birth
Find out more HERE
Mamafit offers a wide range of courses and classes suitable for all stages of pregnancy and all fitness levels. Mums are welcome to bring baby along to classes.
Eating healthily can be difficult when you're a new parent and time is in short supply.
Use the internet to look for recipes that make use of store cupboard items and can be cooked in less than 30 mins, preferably in batches so you can freeze for later.
Don't forget to check out social media. Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok are filled to bursting with recipes that can be made quickly, on a budget and in batches.