Back to Pre-Baby Body: What Not To Do!

They say everything changes once you have a baby. This may be the understatement of the century. Carrying and birthing babies do change a woman’s body. Period.

I’m not here to hem and haw about the injustices of pregnancy or what may or may not ever be the same. Let’s change that all too familiar tune to something more positive and productive. Let’s discuss how to safely get your pre-baby body back.

Call me crazy but I believe moms can love and appreciate their post-baby body more than they ever did. Post-baby bodies enable you to feel and see the reward of hard work. They allow you to take pride in making smart choices. You learn to honor your body and all its capabilities. And most importantly, post-baby bodies show you to care more about your health than your vanity.

So how do you get your body back? The key to slimming down the right way is knowing the wrong ways. Meet the What-Not-To-Do Mamas below and see if you might be one of them.

1. False Starter

It doesn’t matter if you exercised pre-baby or during your pregnancy, all moms want to workout after that baby comes. Nine months of sharing your space with a tiny human produces some serious motivation to hit the gym but don’t jump the gun. Doctors recommend a minimum six weeks for recovery. A minimum. Too many times, mothers think they know best and start dabbling in exercise early.

Birth is a rigorous activity no matter if you popped one out in two seconds flat, labored for 24 hours or had a scheduled C-section. It’s a big deal, and our bodies need a chance to heal. Think about it, your body repairs itself the most during a sleep cycle. It seems only logical to conclude that mothers may not recover as quickly because our sleep patterns are erratic and shortened.

Now, I’m not saying you can’t walk to be active (and put your baby to sleep, right?) but don’t run five miles outta nowhere. If you experience pain or spotting after any exercise, it is telling you to slow down. If you are so tired you can’t see straight at the gym–maybe you need a nap instead.

The quest to get your body back is not like a train pulling away from the station at six weeks on the dot with your skinny jeans waving a final goodbye, leaving you on the platform looking at your watch. Whether you are ready to go at six weeks or six months post-partum, you can always jump on the fitness train!

Jax Stroller Strength

2. Over Achiever

You’ve seen this mom. She’s a go-getter-the-sooner-the-better kinda gal. Regardless of how long she stayed away to recover, she is full steam ahead in the pursuit of her former self. She is running. She is lunging, squatting, planking, lifting, pilating, and cross-fitting like there’s no tomorrow because she wants her body back NOW.

Ladies, listen up and listen up good. Your post-partum body is fragile. That relaxin that made room for your baby is still in your system and will linger for months (more so if you are nursing) making your joints unstable and your ligaments stretchy. Bottom line, you are at risk for injury.

I am the pot calling the kettle black because I was that mom after I had my second daughter. The physical limitations from pregnancy were hard for me. I was a runner that missed running, an instructor who missed teaching. I had a burning desire to sweat and move. I wasn’t spotting so I thought everything was fine. Until my hips and inner thighs said otherwise. I was not just achy afterward–I hurt. Reluctantly, I stopped running and focused on my boot camp classes. The pain followed me. I almost pulled something until the crazy fog lifted and I admitted that I needed to ease back into it.

My best advice is to be cautious! When you hit the weights again, err on the side of light and increase gradually as you continue to heal. Stick to the low end of reps like 8-10 each. As far as cardio, start with 10 minutes of increased effort along with that necessary warm up and cool down then add 5 minutes every week.

You will still get the benefits you are looking for–the endorphins, muscle growth and cardio/respiratory endurance and you won’t burn out or injure yourself. Remember Jena’s post on diastasis recti, the abdominal separation? Stay away from frontal planks and sit-ups. That abdominal “cone” you see is a red flag!

Don’t just attempt something because everyone else in the gym or class is doing it. Seek out a trainer that knows post-natal modifications. Having a baby is something that they need to know before you attempt a class so take the time to tell them. If it doesn’t feel right, listen to your body.

Jax Stroller Strength

3. Deer in the Headlights

This mama is exactly that. Wide-eyed and paralyzed by motherhood. She has the desire to exercise but just doesn’t know where to start. She battles if she has enough time to add another thing to her schedule (or the baby’s), should she workout with her baby or leave them in childcare, should she walk or run or take a class on her own?

The questions keep coming but not necessarily the answers. This mama gets a mental workout, but that’s about it. All these questions are valid, and as I mentioned above, you don’t want to rush into exercising if you aren’t ready. That being said, don’t make so many excuses that you get stuck in a rut.

You feel insecure, guilty and unhappy with yourself. If it has been several months or years since you had your baby and your body is ready to exercise, you’ve put on the clothes but never made it to the class, then this is for you. Call a friend or tell your husband to make you go! Consider exercise like an appointment you can’t cancel.

You’ll be amazed at what twenty minutes of ANY form of exercise can do for your self-confidence (love those endorphins), your productivity (love those endorphins) and your body (hello, you do have muscles, and they want to work!). This is your shove out the door. This is your kick in the buns. It is time, your time to get out and do something. You won’t regret it!

Whoever you are, wherever you are I challenge you to get moving. Do it safely. Do it at the right time. And tell yourself to just do it. Take pride in the gift of health and fitness!

Mary Lauren Eubank
Mary-Lauren is a curly-haired Texan in the trenches of motherhood with two sassy and entertaining daughters. A busy body in the truest sense, she teaches fitness classes all week at Define Jacksonville. To stay sane, Mary-Lauren requires a daily dose of dark chocolate, unwinds with a page-turner and folds laundry watching just the kind of reality TV that she will forbid her girls from watching in the future. A wannabe foodie, she loves to learn about, prepare, experiment and indulge in all things food…well except the shopping part with kids in tow. She blogs about all things fitness from debunking the latest trends to goal setting, Mary-Lauren is passionate about being active, being real and being healthy!


  1. Just what I needed even after baby #4. I’m anxious to get back in shape but needed the reminder to take it slow and listen to my body…it will come!


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