Fit after birth – Return to shape!

Nine out of ten women have a changed figure after pregnancy and birth, and very often a much more feminine one. Many of them do not want to accept this and long for their body as it was before the birth. Tiredness and constant lack of time characterize the first period after birth. How do you get fit again after giving birth?

The Bonn orthopedist, trauma surgeon and sports physician Dr. Markus Klingenberg has dealt intensively with the topic “better training after pregnancy” after the birth of his son and has written the guidebook: “I want my body back” (Pflaum Verlag, approx, 29 euros) for expectant and young mothers. In the PODCAST interview, he gives valuable tips and explains how to get fit again after giving birth and why he, of all people, wrote this book as a man.

How long should a new mother not exercise after giving birth?

“The time to return to sports varies greatly from woman to woman. That’s why I choose the image of a traffic light as a guide. Immediately after childbirth, this is set to ‘red’. Exercises that correspond to everyday life in terms of their load can be carried out if there is nothing to the contrary from a medical point of view. This phase can last six weeks or longer before more intensive training can be done in the ‘orange phase’. However, jumps and high additional weights are still taboo. Everything can be trained again without restrictions in the ‘green light phase’. This is usually the case after 6 to 12 months.”

Fit after birth: what should young mothers start with?

“First with everyday movements. Walking with the stroller is relaxing for both mother and child. That 10,000 steps a day is a possible target for the amount of everyday movement. It is widely known that exercises to control the pelvic floor and the trunk muscles as a whole are important right from the start. I also find it useful to do compensatory movements to counteract the typical tension caused by frequent sitting, breastfeeding and lifting. They can be easily integrated into everyday life.”

How long does it take to get fit after giving birth?

“Unfortunately, you can’t give a blanket answer to that. For most young mothers, it will be around nine to twelve months.”

What do you also recommend doing during pregnancy to avoid getting completely out of shape?

Young women doing yoga, more important fitness trend

“There is already a lot of good literature, workout videos and apps on this topic. In principle, the amputee logic can also be applied here, only in reverse. At the beginning of pregnancy, almost everything can be trained in the green phase. Increasingly, the load intensity and the scope are then limited. This corresponds to the orange and red phases. Two main factors influence the duration of these phases and the content. These are the general fitness of the woman before pregnancy and medical reasons. With a high level of basic fitness and no medical complications, adapted training is possible until shortly before birth.”

In your book, “I Want My Body Back,” you interviewed 15, as you say, heroines, on the topic of return-to-shape. What did you use to select the women?

Book I want my body back

“The heroines are mothers who managed to successfully manage family, sports and work. Their experience, mistakes and tips are the basis for a successful concept. They come from different professional backgrounds, have different numbers of children and participate in different sports. In my perception, despite all the tensions that come with any family and job, they have taken care of themselves and, moreover, often helped other mothers achieve their goals.”

You often see celebrities in the media who return to their top form shortly after pregnancy. What’s the reason for that? What is your opinion on the subject?

“Success factors of celebrities are a clear inner attitude (mindset), a concrete goal (‘I have a shoot in 3 months and need to be back in shape for it’), the necessary discipline and often extensive support. If childcare, shopping, cooking and cleaning up can be delegated in whole or in part, the young mother has the time and energy to focus more on herself and her training. A motivational boost from an outside trainer and a good concept are particularly helpful. My guidebook can’t clean or cook, but it motivates readers and gives them a practical guide – similar to a celebrity trainer.”

What are the biggest problems with getting fit after giving birth?

“Lack of time, lack of energy and a lack of concept. Social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they can be motivating; on the other, they can create unrealistic social pressure and make you feel like other moms are relaxed, good-looking and in top shape all the time!”

Three tips on getting fit after giving birth.

“1. Be aware of your motivation and set a clear goal.

2. coordinate with your partner and your environment to be able to realize your goal organizationally.

3. take time for yourself and don’t feel guilty about doing something good for yourself! You are great the way you are!”

Lead photo: Adobe Stock, Photos: Dr. Markus Kilingenberg, Unsplash