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Get Your Body Back After Pregnancy

Dedication and patience are key to losing postpartum baby weight and looking like your pre-baby self again.
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After Pregnancy: Working Off the Pounds continued...

"There used to be many more 'don'ts' about exercising after pregnancy, now there are many more 'dos,'" says Fleming.

But how do you know if you're ready to begin an exercise program? ACOG recommends that you check with your doctor before starting, especially if you had a complicated pregnancy or delivery. That said, most experts agree you are free to begin a mild workout as soon as you feel up to it -- and you can keep up with the activity level.

"That's key, being able to keep up with whatever program you start. If you can't then either the program is too rigorous, or you're just not ready. Exercise should make you feel better, not worse," says Riley.

Post-Pregnancy Workouts: What Works!

Whether it's within six days or six weeks of delivering, ACOG experts say one of the easiest ways to begin a postpartum exercise routine is by walking. And you can even get baby in on the fun! Indeed, one of the more popular forms of organized new-mommy exercise involves walking stroller workouts.

"The idea is to use the stroller as a piece of fitness equipment and doing exercises that actually rely on the stroller, or workouts that can be done while your baby is in the stroller," says Lisa Druxman, founder of San Diego-based Stroller Strides, one of several nationwide programs devoted to helping new moms get back in shape.

If you think you're up for a more-challenging activity, Fleming says begin to add in the exercises you did in your third trimester of pregnancy - and then work backwards.

"You can start with what you did in the third trimester, then gradually add what you did in the second trimester, then the first, until you are back to doing what you did before pregnancy," says Fleming, who says the process should take between four and six months.

The one area where you might want to start on sooner rather than later, however, involves strength-training exercises to build a strong core, an area that Riley says many women neglect during pregnancy as well as during the postpartum.

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