Fitness pro offers exercise tips to get back in shape after baby

SANTA MONICA (KABC) -- Sara Haley is not only a prenatal and postnatal fitness specialist, she has two kids of her own to test her knowledge.

Her motto is that getting the body back in shape after a baby takes time.

"If I could say anything to a postnatal woman it's 'listen to your body because it is telling you. You just have to listen," Haley said.

She calls the three to four months right after delivery the "fourth trimester."

Women's chests post delivery are often heavy, with weak, stretched upper backs and one side of the body unbalanced from holding the baby.

"You completely still feel like you're pregnant without a baby inside you," Haley said.

For moms that want to bounce back quickly, Haley wants to remind everyone that endurance is reduced. The pelvic floor is wider and there's still lot's of relaxin in the joints. The hormone relaxin, which the body produces to prepare for childbirth, can cause challenges if moms exercise too quickly after giving birth.

"[Women can feel a] loss of balance, maybe some control, maybe stretching too far," she said.

Haley recommends sneaking in small bouts of movement whenever possible to strengthen shoulders, back and chest, maybe by lifting the baby and regaining power.

Angie Rogers said the moves help with the shock of life after a baby.

"It would make me feel better throughout my day to get my blood going, get my body moving and it actually help me sleep better too," the Santa Monica resident said.

Jennifer Barnato, who was on bed rest for three months, was ecstatic to be moving again.

But Haley said to save the weights for later. She adds that a towel can stretch and tighten the upper back and tricep area, one of the places where fatty tissue tends to settle.

Since the pelvic floor is extended and weak, heavy lifting and jumping moves are a bad idea. Moms should start with walking and isometric core work.

Haley's done a series of pregnancy videos that provide the proper timing to increase strength and energy for the best results.
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