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Pregnancy weight gain is normal and healthy, but that belly isn't so charming once you've given birth! Postpartum dieting and simply giving your body the chance to recover from pregnancy both help with weight loss. But, how can you get a toned body again? You can't do it without working out!

When to start exercising? You may feel guilty about not working out as soon as your baby is born, but you also know that exercise is a bad idea in the first few weeks. Newly postpartum mothers will be feeling sore, and like their insides have been squished around a bit which would be true. Starting your work-out regime too soon may do damage to your body, especially if you have had a cesarean section, but even with stitches from vaginal tears or an episiotomy. Also keep in mind that your abdominal muscles need time to move back together. All in all, you can usually start working out at six weeks postpartum for a vaginal birth, and whenever your doctor gives you the OK if you had a c-section. Going for short-ish walks, stretching, and doing light housework is fine before that time, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. And don't forget to continue your Kegel exercises to speed up postpartum recovery!

Workouts you can do with your baby Not many gyms appreciate it if you turn up with a newborn strapped to your body in a baby carrier. And of course, you are not going to leave your little one behind this early in the game. So, what's a girl to do? You could wait with working out until your baby is old enough that you feel comfortable leaving him or her. Or, you could just exercise with your baby. Some stuff, like swimming, is obviously out. But you can still:

  • Jog or walk, with your baby in a stroller or a baby carrier.
  • Use a treadmill at home when your baby is asleep.
  • Join a mom and baby class.
  • Do yoga, pilates, strength training, or aerobics from home, with the help of videos you find on the internet or CDs you buy.

How long does it take to get in shape? Well, that depends on what your body looked like before and during pregnancy, how much you do, and how well you eat. It's fair to say that recovering from pregnancy and birth, including weight loss after pregnancy,takes at least six months. After that, your body may not look the same as it did before you got pregnant, but you can still look great. Actually, some women look better after having a baby than they did before! Avoid the temptation to focus on your weight and looks, though, and concentrate on living a healthy life.

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