There are many reasons why a new mum might want to go to the gym, and the NHS advise to start with gentle exercising like yoga until the 6 week postnatal check before strenuous exercise while your body recovers. Regardless if you want to stay fit, or just need a bit of me time for your mental health, your reasons are your own.
Just know there is no expectation to be instantly back to your pre-pregnancy body and it’s absolutely fine to have some baby-weight and spend time with your new addition. You should always listen to your body.
But if you are determined to get back to your workout routine after having a baby, add these essentials to your postpartum wardrobe so you can find new confidence fast. Here is our advice on what to wear to the Gym as a new mum as you get back into the low impact workouts.
It’s likely you will need new gym clothes as you’ll need soft, comfy, stretchy, and tough working supportive pants (the high waist is crucial here). Leggings are great for postpartum wear, when your whole body may be sensitive. However, they are also supportive and make for a good option for those yoga poses, barre, Pilates, and other low-impact exercises.
From the moment your baby is born, you may experience some extra discharge in your underwear, especially when working out. You can buy underwear with an extra-thick, extra-absorbent centre that can handle sweat or any other bodily fluids.
You could also look for underwear made of natural fibres, such as cotton, which will be more breathable (perfect for those times when you suddenly feel hot and sweaty). Maternity underwear has improved in terms of style in recent years, so although you may have to settle for a fit that is different from your usual favourite, there are still stylish options available.
Compression garments worn after childbirth are referred to as postpartum girdles (or post-pregnancy girdles). Postpartum girdles are designed to fit snugly around your abdomen to aid in healing.
Wearing a postpartum girdle can help you recover from childbirth, improve your posture and mobility, reduce back pain, maintain your pelvic floor stability, provide critical support to your abdominal muscles for stability or comfort while you work out, and reduce swelling and fluid retention.
Working out safely is contingent on having a quality, supportive pair of sneakers. You must pick women’s trainers that are supportive enough for short runs and heavy workouts, with support and comfort over style. You may want to choose trainers that are both lightweight and long-lasting to give you many hours of comfort and support.
In general the same advice applies as for men’s trainers; key elements are fit, grip, cushioning, support and materials. Always go for these over style to avoid injury, and a good all-rounder will cover all exercise elements.
What to wear to the gym when breastfeeding
While it’s difficult to pull off the yummy mummy look while lactating through your nursing bra, you can certainly still go to the gym when breastfeeding with the right outfits.
Functional Sports Bras
The changes you experience during breastfeeding are much more significant than those experienced during pregnancy, with your changing body likely to involve breast tenderness.
The most crucial piece of exercise equipment is a supportive sports bra with a lot of compression. Look for one with adjustable straps to accommodate your fluctuating breasts, and, preferably, nursing clasps or accessible openings.
Even the most rigorous exercise routine can be accomplished with the help of a breastfeeding-friendly sports bra made from high-quality flexi-wire for maximum comfort. The cups are lined and easily unclipped for feeding time. However, it is vitally important to remove your sports bra as soon as you finish working out to avoid plugged ducts and mastitis.
It’s smart for new mums to get a bra that’s one size too large in the band and cup because you’ll need room for daily expansion for full breasts. You can begin with the bra on the tightest setting and then move on to the larger settings as you progress.
Your favourite workout tops before pregnancy may not be as functional now that you are breastfeeding. So if you are looking for breastfeeding-compatible workout tops then the features that you should be looking for are breathability, adjustable straps, built-in bra or support, nursing pad pockets and machine washable.
The main types of tops that you could buy include:
- Double layer designs – This design allows you to lift up the bottom layer for breast access since the top layer is mid-length.
- Pull-downs – These tank tops have crossover fabric or V-neck so you can easily pull down the top.
- Clip-down straps – These tops have a clip on the strap so that you can fold down the top panel. The bra is usually built in.
What to wear to the gym when pregnant
Firstly it’s worth clarifying that it is safe to go to the gym when pregnant until you no longer feel comfortable with your growing bump. The NHS advise exercise is not dangerous for your baby and that you can maintain your normal daily physical activity or exercise. And as always supportive and stretchy clothing is a clear winner.
Maternity Bras and Nursing Bras
A woman’s breasts will grow and change during pregnancy. It is critical to remember that during the second and third trimesters, you will have to size up. During pregnancy, suitable sports bras with adjustable straps can help women maintain their size. Wider bands can help keep mums to be breasts in place when she is exercising.
Loose Gym Tops
It’s common for pregnant women to wear looser clothing to keep their bellies from showing when they raise their hands above their heads or run since they don’t want to constantly pull up their shirt as it rides on their pregnant bellies. However, wearing a tighter maternity sports bra or top will help keep the breasts positioned nicely and provide extra comfort and support while working out.
Pregnant women can wear a lower back support belly band to help maintain their back and pelvic stability as their belly grows.
Stretchy and Comfortable Leggings
Your current gym leggings may still fit during your first trimester, but by the sixth month, you may want to invest in a new pair to wear throughout your pregnancy and afterwards for that growing belly. You’ll want to pick leggings that are supportive and super soft and can be worn over and under the bump, no matter how big your belly gets.
All leggings for pregnancy will have to be designed with a stretchy high waistband for comfort but the majority, if not all, gym leggings can be folded down to double up on your stomach support if it’s needed.
Women who are pregnant and working out tend to perspire a lot between and beneath their breasts, beneath their armpits, and on their lower backs and bellies. Therefore, the right fabric is crucial in seeking comfortable, breathable workout garments.
It is vital to wear workout clothes that are breathable if you are pregnant, since the body expands and causes skin irritation, resulting in chafing. Stretchy fabrics that are gentle on the skin are the best choice.
Relaxin, a hormone that is released during pregnancy, loosens the hip joint in order to facilitate childbirth. Because of this, a pregnant woman can lose her balance while exercising, leading to accidents. It’s a good idea to buy running shoes with a supportive heel even if you go a size up. During pregnancy, feet tend to swell and therefore require additional support.