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Exercise For New Moms And Babies

Although there is little that compares to the excitement of a new baby, a pregnancy brings big physical changes that can affect the mother's body well after the child is born.

For those mothers who are trying to get back in shape, CBS News Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay has a simple set of exercises in her monthlong series, The Great American Weight Loss that can be accomplished with the help of their young friends.

Excuse of the Day: I just had a baby, and I can't lose weight.

Fitness expert Angela Settle says that this is a common excuse among new mothers. Settle herself recently underwent a physical transformation when she gave birth to her daughter, Natalie, who is now three months old.

"Believe it or not, there are some very easy exercises a new mom can do and still take care of the baby," Settle says.

Settle suggests that mothers check with their doctor before doing any of the exercises. Babies should be old enough to be able to hold up their neck and should have good neck strength, Settle says - but again, check with your pediatrician first.

The exercises do not require any expensive equipment and can be done during the day while tending to the baby's needs. The workout can be done in any room of the house, as long as there is carpeting on the floor.

"These are things I created to do with the baby at home because I don't have a lot of time to leave and go to the health club. We use the baby as weight and do the exercises just the same," Settle says.

  • Push ups.

This exercise strengthens your arm and back muscles. Lay the baby on her back. Kneel above the baby, with hands resting on either side so that you are face-to-face. Bend your arms and come forward to kiss the baby.

  • Sit ups.

  • A good exercise for the stomach muscles. Lay down on your back, with your knees bent. Rest the baby stomach-down on your shins, so the baby can see your face. Supporting the baby's shoulders with your hands and with her feet resting on yours, lift your legs about a foot off the ground, keeping them together. Remain in that position for a few seconds, and then slowly and carefully lower your feet and the baby back to the ground.

  • Stretching.

  • This is a good workout fothe legs that can improve muscle tone and stamina. Stand with your legs apart and hold your baby so that her back is against your chest. With your toes pointing outward, bend your knees slowly so that you dip down. Then come back up to your original standing position.

    You can also do lunges standing up. Hold your baby the same way, but place one foot in front. Bend your front knee slowly so that you shift forward. Then come back up to a standing position.
    The Great American Weight Loss Tip of the Day is: You need patience and a daily exercise routine to lose weight.

    Settle says that mothers should try to gradually get in a 30-minute workout every day. Setting up an exercise schedule is ideal at a regular time when both you and your baby are at your most alert.

    The exercises give mothers the chance to spend time playing with their babies and get in a little exercise.

    Reported by Dr. Emily Senay

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