Postpartum Exercise

Parent Q&A

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  • Seeking postpartum personal trainer

    (1 reply)

    Does anyone know of a PT in the East Bay who specializes in helping women meet fitness goals after a delivery?

    Thanks in advance for any recommendations!

    Yes! Jessica diBiase is amazing. She trained at the gym I used to belong to and is very knowledgeable as well as highly encouraging.  

  • Hiya, 

    I have a toddler + newborn and am finding it impossible to find time to exercise. Can anyone share what workouts they do?

    I have had a looked online but everything looks like a bit of a journey with toddler+baby in the car (and its pretty hard to leave the house with them both + naps + feeds etc).  I'm Berkeley/Rockridge way.

    The baby is 6 months and I need to drop the baby weight!! Thanks, Jen 

    Hi! If you're in Rockridge, I highly recommend Vita on College near Claremont. They offer 9:30am daycare (it's in a wee room in the back of the studio) for $5 with their 9:30am classes. This doesn't sync with my current babe's nap schedule but found it to be a great studio and easier to get to for a quick hour work out than most other places. And the "Trilogy" classes are good booty-kickers for dropping weight.

    If you can work out at home, there are plenty of apps you can download and follow along with. You can amp it up a bit if you have a little space for a couple hand weights or resistance bands. I've used this app in the past: but there are tons in the app store. 

    Also if you can get out for a walk every once in a while, walking can be great cardio. 

    Try the Blogilates beginner's calendar! Short workouts on YouTube, often with fun music. 

    I highly recommend Mamaz in Motion 20 min workouts on Facebook! Angela’s workouts have me in better shape than before I had kids.  There are different levels and modifications and they are specialized for postpartum moms. She is in Berkeley and has a baby and toddler herself. You can sign up for two weeks free at her website:

    Mamaz in Motion is great. It’s all through a private Facebook group and Angela is encouraging, entertaining, and for 20 min you get sweaty. 

    Oh, and I too have a 3.5 yr old and a 1 yr old. Angela [who runs Mamaz in Motion] has a toddler and a new baby too, so there is a lot of understanding and encouragement!

    I am loving the Mamaz In Motion workouts ( 2 week trial).  20 minute workouts at your convenience (or join live 5 times a week).  My kids hangout with me, or I do them during naps. Workouts are all unique.  The coach is a Berkeley mama, and she's so encouraging! I feel like she's right there working out with me.

    When my kids were that age, I went to the Dailey Method in Berkeley (on Ashby near College). They have childcare during their morning classes; it was terrific. (Actually, I still go there - just don't bring the kids with me anymore.) I also have a mom friend who took a few classes there to kind of get the hang of it and then wound up subscribing to some kind of online Dailey Method thing that gave her access to video workouts she could do at home. And she has loved doing that (a bit cheaper as well, of course.) I love the DM workouts, love how body positive and terrific all the instructors are. You will be in company with tons of other moms. It is great. 

    Good luck! 

  • Looking for post baby exercise group

    (10 replies)


    I'm trying to get into shape after having my baby and can't seem to find a way to do it.  She doesn't like the childwatch at the Y so I'm really looking for a group where I can take her with me.  Anyone know of  stroller workout group in the Berkeley?  Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you! 


    There's one at Cerrito Vista Park, in El Cerrito. Not sure if that's too far for you. I haven't gone yet, but I see it advertised often in the Main Street Mamas facebook group. 

    I haven't participated in this, but I have heard about Mama Army: 

    I've been going to Mama Army, its a stroller workout group especially for moms and kids of age a few months to 3-4 years. Angela leads the class and is an awesome fitness instructor. The class is suitable for all fitness levels. The classes are really fun and you can push yourself as hard (or as little) as you want. She structures the class to have a section on cardio, conditioning, and lastly core. I highly recommend her classes!

    There is a baby boot camp at lake temescal. It meets at 9:30 Monday thru Thursday and is a pretty strenuous 1 hour stroller workout. You can find out more info by googling baby boot camp lake temescal. The first class is free, then there are different package options you can buy.

    Hello, check out Mama Army group! First class is free there:

    I loved the Mama Army stroller class run by Angela Warren. I started going at 10ish weeks postpartum, she does a great job of catering the class for all levels of recovery/fitness. I definitely felt like I had lost all fitness during pregnancy and was a little intimidated to show up the first time, but really glad I did and over the course of a few weeks made a lot of gains physically and mentally. The moms who go are all super welcoming and supportive, I had a great time at the weekday classes while on maternity leave and have attended 1 weekend class since getting back to work recently and will definitely continue to go. Highly recommend Mama Army!



    It sounds like Mama Army would be a great fit for you with trainer Angela Warren. She teaches Mon-thurs at 10am at ocean view park in Albany in the tennis courts and Saturday’s at 9 at shorebird in Berkeley.  It’s a super awesome group of moms and Angela is amazing.  You can take your baby or toddler with you and Angela customized workouts just for postpartum mamas! Monthly rates or drop in available and your first class is dress.  Angela also organizes social events for her clients and it’s a great way to build community.  Check it out at

    Mama Army!!! Angela is wonderful and so knowledgeable. Mon-Thurs is in a tennis court so older babies can play and roam free. New babes like to just watch all the activity. 

    I love, love, love Mama Army Playgroup Fitness (  Great workout where kids can play alongside you.

    Check out Mama Army for sure! It's an awesome, supportive community of moms and little ones. Angela works hard to make the workouts fun and challenging but also modifiable for all ability levels. She has a great sense of humor, is good with kids, knowledgeable about postpartum bodies...I could go on and on. She has created such an amazing new group for moms and families.  

  • I am a new mom looking to get back in shape in Berkeley. Is there an exercise class that I can take my 7 month daughter to?

    Yes! I love mama army stroller fitness classes. It's a great workout and the teacher, Angela, modifies everything to your level. I bring my 4 month old. She loves being outside and being pushed around in the stroller. Here's the website. She also has a Facebook page which she updates frequently.

    The Bar Method in Berkeley has a daycare. I believe it costs an extra $5/class.

    I would strongly recommend the Dailey method on ashby! They have Dailey baby classes tuesdays and Thursday's where you work out with your baby in a carrier. I think they say babies up to 7 months but not sure. They also have childcare very frequently for $6 during a large amount of their classes as well. I've been going for a year and a half, before baby, pregnant and after and swear by the Dailey method!

    Mama Army! I started a couple of weeks ago and LOVE it! I never thought I would be looking forward to working out XD. The trainer, Angela, is amazing and the one hour workouts are always fun. Babies and tots have a blast too. I can't recommend her highly enough. 

    Ps. The first class is free!

    I really enjoyed my recent Mom & Baby yoga classes at Then Comes Baby in the Grand Lake neighborhood of Oakland, which was easy to get to from 580 coming from Emeryville. With the help of the baby holder I was actually able to have enough time to myself to work up a little sweat (though that wouldn't take much these days).  The baby holder was super-sweet. I thought at first that I'd be nervous having someone hold my baby, but it's a really intimate and friendly environment, so it felt more like being with new friends.  Torrie really did a great job teaching the class and I enjoyed it enough to try out their other class later in the week, with a different instructor (Alexa, maybe?).  Then, afterward, it was nice to hang out and feed my baby.  The baby holder even brought me a cup of tea!  They were really great and uber-accomodating and probably would be okay having an older baby there.  Here is their site:

    I took Karen Casino's classes after both of my boys were born -- it's been years, but looks like she's still at it: .  Great classes for reclaiming your abs, regaining some core strength, being with other new moms, and getting out with little one in tow.

    No relation to Karen, I promise.  Enjoy!

    I go to some pretty great stroller fitness classes at Live Oak Park with Angela of

    the classes are infant and toddler friendly, open to all fitness levels, and really fun. It's a great group of moms. The website has all the info. Or just stop by Live Oak Park Monday-Thursday 9:30 or 11:00 am. To try it out,  first class is free!

    The Lotus Method is opening it’s fourth studio this March on Piedmont Ave. in the Easy Bay. I started with them when I was pregnant at the studio in SOMA near my office and plan to continue once the Piedmont studio is opening. You can bring your baby to the sessions.

    There is an awesome bootcamp in Berkeley called Mama Army Stroller Fitness with Angela Warren ( It meets Monday-Thursday and Saturday mornings. There is also another baby bootcamp in Oakland at Lake Temescal with Mary McQueen which is great ( It meets Monday-Thursday mornings at 9:30.  Both of the instructors are really great and always give modifications. You can workout at your own pace. The other moms are also really friendly.

    You should totally check out Mama Army with Angela Warren.  It's a super fun outdoor body weight focused strength and cardio and abs class designed specifically for new moms! She offers 2 classes each day in Berkeley at Live Oak Park, one at 9:30 and one at 11.  Babies and toddlers welcome. Bring baby in stroller, and even a playmat is also fun on nice days! For mama, don't forget a yoga mat, a resistance band if you have one (Angela has extras if not), and water! And expect to work up a good sweat! Drop in or monthly membership available.

    Mama Army! We get together on Saturday mornings at Berkeley Marina & my daughter has really enjoyed it when we've gone. 

    Just wanted to second the Mama Army! Angela is a really high level, elite athlete who is also incredibly warm, compassionate, and committed to creating a wonderful community of moms. She will get you in fantastic shape, and you'll also get to meet a really caring group of other moms. In addition to organizing workouts, she sometimes organizes playdates for the moms and kids as well, and it's a great way to get to know others. Highly recommend it!!! and

  • Postpartum personal trainer recs?

    (4 replies)

    After having a C section, I'm ready to start exercising again. I'm concerned that I'm going to hurt myself even if I go slowly.  I'm looking for a personal trainer that specializes in helping postpartum women.  I appreciate any recommendations. Thanks! 

    Check out Mary McQueen at Baby Boot Camp Oakland (  She offers both private training as well as exercise classes for postpartum mothers.  During class Mary offers specific modifications based on how long postpartum you are as well as for C-Sections and Diastasis Recti.  I went to 2-4 classes a week while on leave- they helped me to get slowly back in shape and gave me an opportunity to meet some local moms.  

    Congratulations on your birth! Hope recovery is going well. I've been working with Caitlin at The Lotus Method for two years now, pre- and post-partum. I had pretty significant physical issues post-partum, and she's been great about working with me to help strengthen my body. She's also given me great recommendations for physical therapy (Annemarie at Miracle PT Caitlin's schedule might be tough to get into, but the other trainers are great, too. TLM currently has three locations in SF and they will be opening a location in the east bay in 2017. It's not inexpensive but I think you get what you pay for here.

    Anna at El Cerrito Fitness is certified in post natal Pilates. She's a great trainer and can help you get strong again without getting hurt. 510-604-5732.
    Good luck to you.

    The Fuse Fitness in Kensington is well known for their expert level coaches and are great with postpartum programming.

    377 Colusa Ave, Kensington CA. 510-558-8638

Archived Q&A and Reviews



New mom looking for Pilates classes

Jan 2013

I just had a baby at the end of October and am looking for a studio in the Berkeley/Oakland area to do Pilates in. Have never done Pilates but am trying to get back in shape. Any suggestions? Thanks! Morgan

Your post specifies Berkeley/Oakland but if you are willing to drive a little further I can recommend a wonderful Pilates instructor Richmond N Lilianne Younes has a fully equipped Pilates studio and is a wonderful instructor--encouraging yet exacting. I had a baby in April that left me with a severe case of diastasis recti, which 10 sessions with Lilianne took care of. She is incredibly knowledgeable and will work with you to modify all exercises so that you can progress both efficiently and safely. You can reach her at (510) 215-6673. Patricia

My friend Anne just bought the studio Optimum Pilates on Piedmont. She herself has a two-year old so knows all about reviving a post-birth body! Katie

I would recommend checking out Fitwise Pilates in El Cerrito. The instructors are very good and the equipment is great. Classes are always small (8 people or less) and I get a fun/challenging/never dull workout that goes by very quickly. Looking forward to my weekly Pilates class

Hi Morgan, Congratulations on your baby! The studio I go to sounds perfect for you. It is very kid/mom friendly. It is Bayside Pilates in Piedmont ( They offer the 'standard' private, duet, and small mat classes but what I love and recommend is the 'communal' workout. The communal combines directed teaching with independent/supervised practice, so I'm able to work at my own pace. If I need to stop and nurse or whatever, I totally can! Babies are very welcome. The owner, Faye, has a young son so she has lots of nice wooden toys and a safe play space for the kids. My daughter and I have been going 4-5 times a week for the past year and I feel such a difference in my body. They have morning and afternoon workouts, so if we miss one then we go to the other. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. Leah

I recommend postnatal Pilates with Niki at Pilates 2 the people on shattuck and Dwight in Berkeley. I took the class every week from when my daughter was 6 weeks to 6 months old and it did wonders for my abs! New mom too

I have more than one recommendation for you: Montclair: Piedmont Ave:, Ann Emeryville: Jessica

Again, I must recommend Karen Casino ( She offers a pilates workout for new mothers. She works your core and helps you get your pelvic floor back to its pre-pregnancy state (or better, depending on where you started). I had an ab separation (diastasis recti), which was no surprise after twins, but I was surprised how Karen's exercises were able to close the gap so quickly. I read horror stories on the internet about moms doing crunches and making their diastasis recti problems worse, so I was set on doing it all the right way. Turns out it's about working your tranverse abs to help the rectus abdominus back together. The class is an hour and a half long and she has an amazing babysitter for moms at the same time included in the price. The cost of the class is less than you'd pay for a babysitter for the hour and a half! The end of class is dedicated to baby massage, which is so much more fun than I expected. Doing baby massage was the first time I elicited real smiles from one of my twins at 6 weeks old! CC

Viva Pilates is exactly what you are looking for. It's right on the Berkeley/Oakland border, and Kristen is amazing. I had done mat-based pilates previously but never on the machines (which, frankly, always seemed kind of intimidating) and post-baby, I wanted to get back in shape but there was no way I was going to try in a ''public'' class. Kristen has worked with many new moms before--she knows how to work within my limitations post-C-section, but at the same time helps me get the most out of each exercise so I can build strength faster. I recommend booking a series of private classes (it's cheaper, and it really makes a difference having someone with you every step of the way.) The website is: stronger, leaner mama

Alissa Gibbins Pilates is the way to go! I went to Alissa for help with the aches and pains associated with the third trimester of pregnancy, and was SO happy I did. She really understands the body and tailored our private sessions to both my needs and skill level. Her guidance helped me work through my discomfort while giving me tools to further strengthen myself at home. Most importantly, she was patient and kept me happy and feeling good about myself throughout our training periods. She's truly a wonderful teacher! Here's her website: Laura A.

How soon to exercise post-partum?

Feb 2009

How soon after giving birth do women start exercising again? I'm nursing my 3 month old and between that and the lack of sleep I'm wondering when I will have the energy to start exercising again. The baby hasn't really gotten on any sort of schedule so short naps and the 3am feeding leave me a bit tired. I see moms with 8 week old babies doing ''baby boot camp'' or running with their tiny babies in their jogging strollers. I just don't understand how they have the energy for that and taking care of a little baby who is up at night. I definitely feel that I need some ''movement'' for my body--I've always been active and even though I'm slowing losing weight, this belly isn't going to go away on its own. Plus, with the nursing I feel hungry ALL the time and can't seem to shed these 8 lbs. I try to not over indulge with food but if I cut back my calories I just end up exhausted. So far all I can do is walk with my baby (stroller or the bjorn). I've been thinking about getting into running again, but I just think I will get run-down and sick right now. If I don't get enough sleep my immune system gets weak. I think the nursing just exhausts me, but I don't want to give it up for at least another 3 months. When do most women start to exercise again? And can it be done while nursing too? --Running on empty

Oh, honey. I remember that wrung-out, totally exhausted feeling of having a new baby. Good for you to even think about exercise. Although it seems counterintuitive, exercise gives you more energy to deal with the baby, not less. What worked for me was to go on long hikes in the hills with the baby in a Baby Bjorn, or later when he was bigger, a backpack. It had the added benefit of calming the baby, and since I didn't have child care, it was my only option. I would also swim on the weekends. Do what you enjoy, get back into it slowly, and you will feel better. Anon

For your abdominal wall, you should start with specialized postpartum exercises that recondition the Transverse Abdominis first. This is key for both flattening the abdomen and developing core strength and stability.

Eight pounds over your pre-pregnancy weight at 3 months pp, is really good. Remember, you're operating a milk factory, so are carrying more fluids than before. Most likely, you have less than 4 pounds of additional stored fat, which in the big picture, is also really great.

The postpartum body is more cylindrical than before pregnancy. Not only are the abdominal muscles weaker, but they are also longer, a condition called laxity. The rib cage is still expanded too. But these conditions are easily corrected with proper post natal reconditioning exercises.

I don't recommend running at this point, as your ligaments, which hold joints in proper alignment, are still lax and do not provide adequate stability for high impact/high intensity/high volume exercise.

Try to walk briskly, with your baby in a stroller or a front-pack for a minimum of 40 minutes every day, or at the very least, on most days of the week During the first 20 minutes aerobic exercise our bodies primarily use carbohydrates (stored as glycogen) as fuel. Think of this as your body's snack food, ready to be consumed. It's only when this source of energy is depleted do our bodies go into the pantry and start burning a significant proportion of fat as fuel. So when you exercise for 40 minutes, about half the calories will be from carbohydrates and half will be from fat. Burning fat as fuel is crucial for permanent weight loss and long-term healthy weight management. Regular exercise will increase your energy levels and brighten your outlook.

A couple of points: Walk, don't run until you feel up to it - just get some exercise and fresh air to keep yourself sane, and it will make you feel better and more energetic; You can nurse and run with no problems. I've run a marathon while nursing and the only problem was that my baby didn't much like sweaty nipples. Some say lactic acid affects the taste of the milk, but my babies didn't seem to mind; While you are nursing your body will store fat (I think it's the estrogen) - I didn't lose my mommy tummy until I had weaned and then the last 5-10 pounds fell off with no effort; If you must run, invest in a good running bra. mommy on the run

I have two different experiences to relate about exercise post-partum, one from my first baby and one from my second. After my first baby, I was completely exhausted, but being a person who jogged before, I felt like I needed to just out get out and get my body back as soon as possible. I had a friend who, with a certain lack of sensitivity, cheerily told me that she was back to running after 6 weeks. So, at about 8 weeks, I pulled on the old jogging bra, and set out. It was horrible. My breasts were so huge and heavy, that after just that one run, my bra straps had rubbed all the skin off my shoulders. I tried a couple more times, but it was just not pleasant. Afterward, I felt that maybe I had actually hindered the healing in my pelvic area (all the ligaments holding things up) by going running too soon. So, post-second baby, I joined the YMCA. At about 7 wks, I went, put my baby in Childwatch, grabbed one of those Hollywood rag magazines,and got on one of those low impact machines, starting really slow and for only about 20 minutes. Gradually, over time, I increased the time, speed, resistance, etc. This was SO MUCH BETTER for me than trying to just dive back in to running. Low impact was key for me; this allowed me to get exercise without bouncing everything. Your body is healing for a LONG TIME after giving birth. It is true that getting exercise will actually give you more energy, but that was true for me only with my second baby, when I did it right. With my first, I tried too early and too much, and I think it just made me more of a mess. Big Fan of the YMCA

Pilates for postpartum

Nov 2008

I'm looking for a good Pilates instructor in the Berkeley/Albany area. I need someone who's knowledgeable about postpartum issues (abdominal muscle separation, etc.). Any good classes out there? How are the instructors at the Berkeley Y? Thanks, Hoping to get back into shape

ProBalance in Alameda is the Pilates studio you are looking for. Suzanne Koval specializes in pre and postnatal Pilates and is very aware of the do's and don'ts of postpartum exercise. The number to the studio is 510-523-1900. You can check out her bio at new mama

Caitlin Smith is an excellent teacher for both pre and post partum fitness. She is also a doula, so I would think that would make her way more knowledgeable on the pre and postpartum topic than most teachers. I have been very happy with her and really appreciate that she gives an energetic workout. I have made great progress with her.I think she has a physical therapy background as well. Her phone number is 385-4433. He email is wcaitlinsmith [at] ann

Yoga or other post-natal exercise

Sept 2008

I am looking for recommendations for Post-Partum yoga (or exercise classes in general). The archives have a few but they are a number of years old. Flexibility with the new baby is a must! I am interested in people's experiences good and bad. If dad can come too that would be great but not a deal breaker. exercise starved

Hi, Congratulations on your new baby! There will be a parent-and-baby yoga class at Yoga Mandela beginning in October, led by Uma. I'm taking her amazing pre-natal yoga class right now, so I know the post-natal will also be wonderful. Class will be Mondays beginning October 6, 3-4:30pm. Also, there is a parent-baby class at Yogalayem on Fridays, - mama-to-be

For the most actual exercise I would recommend Melanie at the Berkeley Yoga Center. suzanne carter

There are Moms Only and Mom & Baby classes in Alameda. The studio is on Park St. in Alameda and the classes are $25.00-$35.00. Check out for details. Pilates based exercise are amazing for new Moms and these classes are focused on the specific needs of the postpartum body with all of the do's and don'ts discussed. A must do class for women looking to get back their body after baby! 510-523-1900 Fit Momma

Exercising with your baby is a great idea! You will find you have more energy and getting out of the house is always good. I've been working out with some mama friends who are personal trainers and they are opening up their workouts to other mothers starting this weekend. Check out their website at I was hesitant to do a stroller-type class at first (I carry my baby in an Ergo everywhere), but it's worked out better than I expected-- my little guy loves to look out and he can nod off whenever he wants. I love the Mountain View Cemetery (Piedmont Ave. dead ends into it)-- it's a beautiful and peaceful place to go for a stroll anytime, but I find that getting out the door to be at a class at 9:30 starts my day off right. Joaquin Miller Park is also an amazing place to work out in. If indoor classes are more your style, I've heard good things about the Dailey Method, which offers childcare ( I tried some of the post-natal y! oga classes, but they weren't giving me as good of a workout as I wanted. Good luck finding something that works for you and your baby! Fit Mama

Getting back in shape after baby

Sept 2008

I'm about a month postpartum with baby #3. I was on bedrest for the last 4 months of pregnancy so have done almost no exercise in 5 months. I want to start exercising again, but what kind? I still have sciatica so walking is extremely painful after about 10 minutes. I've gained so much weight I don't want to appear in public in a bathing suit. Suggestions about a class I can take or things I can do on my own? Anon

Watch out for the ''sciatica'' After the birth of my first, I thought I had sciatica and let it go for four months until the pain was unbearable. Found out that I had slipped a disk during delivery, and because I let it go for so long had to have corrective surgery. As for getting back into shape, cut out meals after six and start walking at least a half an hour a day. I dropped twenty pounds in three months doing this. Doc's orders, as the extra wieght and carrying around the baby and all his stuff was hard on my back. Good Luck.... Bethany

This is so not the answer you want, but PUT ON THAT BATHING SUIT. I am probably one of those annoying, reasonably thin people who you don't want to hang out with in a swim suit...but trust me, I couldn't care less what you look like in a swim suit and I applaud your efforts. Your goals are the same as mine -- get fit, get healthy. Go for it and ignore the 17-year-olds in string bikinis. None of us are ever going to look like that again. With wisdom comes ugly tummies and really sweet little kids! -anon

Biking, biking and biking. Besides swimming, biking is the best form of exercise available to people due to the low impact of the sport. When I had major back issues biking around was about the only way I could get around. With the appropriate bike and in combination with the appropriate fit, biking is quite enjoyable. Berkeley has a network of bike friendly streets. You can get in contact with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition or Bicycle Friendly Berkeley Coalition for more information about safe cycling. avantress

You might take a look at the Power 90 in-home boot camp dvd series. Or check out the related website... The guy who does the video (the front man) is a sort of present-day Jack Lalane. Some of his dialogue is kind of goofy, but it is fun. He focuses on form and consistency. There are alternatives for you if the ''regular'' exercises are too difficult at first. You can also see reviews of the dvd program and purchase it from amazon. getting fit!

Congrats on #3 after bedrest, that is rigorous to endure. You may like to look into some help for your sciatica. Back bending stretches have helped mine. You have to avoid twisting, bending over too much, and do exercises like the yoga ''bridge'' to ''reset'' the spine. Take a post-partum yoga class or two and buy yourself a DVD you will use (try some from the library, too). Go out to Lk. Temescal and walk to the path, Redwood is good, too. I find getting out in nature to a place with some hills is better mentally than just walking the neighborhood. Good luck! big walker

I went to Karen Casino's class ''The New Mother's Workout'' and it was really nice. It's pretty gentle, and focuses on strengthening core muscles and restoring all of the various parts that are impacted by pregnancy, childbirth, and new mom stuff like the mis-alignment that can happen from all of that baby holding. It's not a calorie- burning workout and not focused on weight management, but will help you strengthen core muscles, feel like a million bucks and ease all of those aches and pains so that you can go on to do something else such as walking. She is very knowledgeable about what your body is going through, and will help you with your sciatica too. You are encouraged to bring your infant with you to the class. It's a small class with individualized attention and friendly new moms who are pretty much all in the same boat and trying to lose the baby weight. Check out her website L

Hi, I gained a ton of weight over the last 10 years, about 50 pounds, and about eight months ago got sick of being fat. I hired a personal trainer and have done circuit training since that time, have lost 30 pounds (gaining about 15 pounds in muscle) and feel better than I have ever felt -- EVER -- and I'm 46 years old, not 20 anymore. I've done weight training in the past, cardio, etcetera. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING has done what circuit training has done to get my entire system back to where I want it to be. One of the nice things about circuit training is that once you get down a good repertoire of exercises, you don't need a gym; you can do them anywhere, you don't necessarily need weights as you can use your own body weight as resistance.

When I first started this regimen, I also completely renovated my diet; no refined wheat, sugar... nothing that is processed or otherwise ''unnatural''. I eat simply, but well. A lot of veggies, meats (of all kinds), beans, and hearty, whole grains. Eliminating the refined starches and sugars helped me lose 30 pounds easily and without any discomfort. It's a bit of an adjustment for a few weeks, but you get used to it. That, with the exercise (two to three times per week) and I continue to lose weight, am in tremendously good shape, and feel better in all ways. If you can't afford a trainer, please do get some books from the library. Try the Abs Diet book for starters -- the dietary tips at least are well worth the cost of the book -- and the exercises they recommend are stellar. Anon

Poor baby. 4 mos on bedrest! Now, I wish you werent shy about being in a bathing suit, as that would be a great start to getting some exercise. But even before that I would say stretching! I know it sounds wimpy, especially if you've been an exerciser before, but after 5 mos off and 4 on rest you would really benefit from some serious, routine stretching. I would also do ab/core exercises, but not crunches! Have you heard of the poorly titled Lose Your Mummy Tummy by Julie Tupler? A very good explanation of what to do (and not do) and why. Many of the standard ab exercises are innapropriate, especially after pregnancy! (lots of ! in this post - lol). You can get a good solid foundation of flexibility and core stability/strength while you shed the weight just as a matter of not being pregnant anymore (and if your nursing, even better). Then, once you're feeling limber and stable you can/should start swimming and/or yoga and/or power walking. Then after doing the stretching, core , and light exercise you can add light weights and more intense ''cardio''.

Please do not judge yourself in a bathing suit. No one else is! I look at moms and always think WTG!, not ''what a cow'', except for me (I had my third 9 mos ago) who I AM critical of :( We have to stop that! If you want more details or ideas, you can contact me Good luck jdelio

It's possible that your pain is related to postpartum pelvic instability. Normally the joints of your pelvis, your sacroiliac and pubis, have no movement. But in some women, the hormones of pregnancy will over stretch pelvic ligaments and allow for too much movement, which causes pain.

As to exercise, start with postpartum core stabilization exercises. For more detail about these types of exercises go to:

Then after you've built up a strong base, consider joining a stroller based new mom fitness class, or starting a fitness walking program. If you have access to a pool, and like swimming, you could try that too. Swimming will help your back, but it is not effective for weight loss.

Make sure that you use good body mechanics when lifting and carrying your baby, groceries, and stand, sit and breastfeed with good posture etc., so that you do not further stress your pelvis and spine. Helene

I totally understand, it can be so hard to get back in shape after a baby. The first thing I recommend is seeing a chiropractor, because an adjustment might help with the sciatica. I recommend Dr. Kevin Wong in Orinda, I think he's really trustworthy. Once that's feeling a little better, walking is your best bet to get started. Once that's a little easier, I would start going to Baby Boot Camp. Their website is, and you can find a class in your area. I took that after my baby, and I lost all my pregnancy weight and then some. You bring your baby with you in a stroller and it's free to bring your spouse. Try it! I hope that helps. peng

Hi! And congrats on your third beautiful baby! I can truly identify with you, I have three and was on bed rest with my third after slipping a disc in my lower back, with resulting sciatica among other things, not to mention preterm and all that. My first thought is that I wonder why you are so concerned with your weight so early? I understand the idea of feeling uncomfortable with extra pounds, but I would really hope and advice that you think about why those pounds are there, just part of the many sacrifices we make for our kids, letting go of our bodies for awhile. I think if you can let go of a negative impression of yourself, that's more than half the battle! Perhaps you can look at all those new pounds as lovely curves, desirable in many other cultures that don't celebrate eating disorders, like ours does? Either way, I'd also advice the simple steps of getting up every single day and showering when possible, anyone can find two minutes to wash your wash and brush your teeth and hair. Instant energy boost. If walking hurts, perhaps you have something worse than sciatica, but get down there on your floor and do some stretches. Yoga, even light. Get massages, pamper yourself while your partner is there. Boost your confidence and the rest will come. Obviously eating right will do wonders, perhaps you can afford a gym? Kaiser offers ( i think free) baby and mother yoga classes, if you have help for the others. And treat that sciatica , because as long as you keep active, playgrounds and such, running after three kids should be about all you need!! Good luck!! alison

Congratulations on your baby!

I saw that you have sciatica which can be related to pelvic floor issues. Many other issues also go hand in hand with pelvic floor problems. I saw the recommendation for core exercises and wanted to caution you before you begin these type of exercises. It is common for women with pelvic floor issues to also have diastasis recti (the separation of the recti abdominal muscles). I just found out that it carries over postpartum and core exercises will continue to make it worse. Remember how you were told not to do crunches, etc while pregnant? I had been doing pilates and other core strengthening but was feeling worse from the exercise. I went to see a physical therapist who is helping with 4 years of SI joint problems, pubic bone problems, sciatica, etc all related to pregnancy and pelvic floor issues. I had no idea about the connection and that my pelvic floor was in fact unstable.

Here's a description of diastatis recti - it includes info on how you can test yourself for it (warning - it can be a little gross to feel the separation).

Here's also the website for my physical therapist. I not necessarily recommending them but they have articles and such on these topics.

So my advice - and I'm not a doctor - is test yourself for diastatis or find someone who can - the right treatment, exercise can help with this and possibly your sciatica. Take care! anon

Looking for a Postpartum exercise class

Sept 2007

I am looking for recommendations for a postpartum exercise for Mom and Baby in either Berkeley, Albany, or El Cerrito. I was also wondering if anyone had tried ''baby boot camp'' at cesar chavez park in berkeley? Do you need a jogging stroller for this course or will any stroller do? Thanks in advance beth

Yogalayam offers post-natal yoga classes for parent and baby. The place is small and low-key. The instructor is not some hot young thing but an older woman who has been teaching yoga for 30 years or so. It's not some new trendy yoga place which is nice. The classes are offered on Tues. and Fri. from 10a-12p and cost 4. It's located at 1717 Alcatraz Ave. (near Adeline) in Berkeley Julie

I am attending New Mother's Workout with Karen Casino. It's a series of 10 classes to strengthen all the muscles that have weakened and loosened during pregnancy and birth: abdominals, back, glutes, perineum, etc etc. Karen is an attentive and fun instructor, the classes are small (only 4 people or so), and she has a babysitter to watch the kids! It's wonderful. There are also stretches and self massage with various props, dancing with baby and baby massage. Her studio is lovely, set in the midst of her beautiful garden (this is at Derby and Sacramento in Berkeley). Her website says more about her work: I definitely feel my body changing after the class, plus it's great to be with other moms and babies. Maybe I'll see you there! Inna

Back in Shape after Baby #3

May 2007

I am coming up to the due date of my 3rd (and final) baby in 3 1/2 years and I am thinking ahead to a time where I feel like my body is my own again. Because we were so focussed on having our kids close together, I didn't worry too much about losing pregnancy weight inbetween pregnancies. I feel ready to get back into shape and get to a lower weight than I was after #1 and #2. I have heard that weight watchers is good for nursing moms and I will probably do that. I am wondering if anyone has other recommendations for weight loss programs or for a good personal trainer or exercise program .... someone who would be sensitive to the fact that I will be nursing and that my body will be post partum while still helping me move ahead. Thanks! SW

I'm in an identical situation except 8 months later. Just nursing and eating as I pleased was enough to get the weight off for me. My waist has been shrinking constantly, I keep needing new pants, and about 6 or 7 months my arm and leg fat started fading away. My advice is don't do any special diet until 6 or 12 months. that way you see what your body doe son it's own and you don't put your milk supply at risk. 3 under 4

Hi - I had my 2 kids 19 mos apart & never really lost the weight from my 1st before getting preggers with #2. After 2nd, I found my weight topping over 210 lbs at 5'8''! (Prior to having kids, I hovered around 140 lbs, but I was never in really great shape eventho I hike/mt bike.) Here's what I did after giving birth to #2: Nothing for the first 4 months! Just nursed & carried the baby around in a sling, then a backpack & ran after my toddler. I lost like 20+ lbs just doing that. Then I joined Curves. It was perfect for me as I didn't have much time/$ to invest in working out & I could be flexible about when I worked out. Plus, I was in bad shape & could work at my own pace. (As I got stronger I simply increased the intensity so that I continued to get a great 30 min workout). Shortly before I stopped nursing at one yr, I began to really watch what I ate & tried to eat more sensibly (low fat/salt, high fiber/fruits/veggies/lean meats..) & religiously kept track of everything I ate at: (THIS IS KEY! I weighed & measured everything. One can easily get fooled on portion/serving size. This assured me that I was, in fact, eating the amount of calories appropriate to lose weight responsibly.) 18 mos after giving birth to #2, I was in the best shape of my life, weighing in at 145 lbs, but with much less fat than pre-kids so I felt really trim. After 2.5 years, I still feel great & I still go to Curves (as it is my best ME time) & when I feel the weight is creeping up (such as around the holidays), I head back to So that was/is my strategy. Hope it helps. In shape Mommy of 2.

I've also heard that WW is good for nursing moms. But whatever you do, exercise is always an important factor as well. For that I recommend Stroller Strides ( Mainly because you have your infant with you while you are in class. It's for moms with their babies in strollers - outdoors in various locations around the Bay Area. It includes walking and strength training and a bit of aerobics. It's a great way to get in shape, be with other Moms and instructors who are trained and understanding of your ''mommie'' status. It's really fun! Stroller Strides Momma

I can't say enough about Weight Watchers - it helped me lose 50 pounds, and I've kept it off two years. Go to the meetings, go every week - you'll lose. HOWEVER - I think for me the key part is exercise, both for losing and maintaining. I can manage everything if I am exercising, regularly. And on that note - I can't say enough about the ICE CHAMBER. I started going there two months ago, after reading great reviews on BPN, and it's been the best thing I've done in a long time! You can take classes - the morning boot camp are really fun, hard, and go by fast - and you can get personal training. It has both a hard core athletic edge (you get to do REAL stuff) but also a very welcoming, open, accepting vibe - there are people of ALL shapes, ages, abilities in the classes. The couple who runs it are awesome (Maya just had a baby! She's an incredible athlete) - and the trainers are also incredible - several are moms, several didn't get into exercise until after babies/later in life. They push you, encourage you, and wow - in two months my body has become so much stronger and fitter than it has ever been. They combine cardio, strength training, flexibility, core strength - it's amazing what happens in 45 minutes! Check out their website. It's in Albany, I drive all teh way from Oakland because it's so worth it. WW and Ice Chamber fan

I highly recommend taking a body sculpting/toning/weight lifting/strength training class. I have had great results-- some weight loss, definite loss of inches/clothing size, higher metabolism, more strength. I have always been a regular cardio exerciser, before, during, and after pregnancy, but never saw the results that I've seen by adding weight training into the mix. Toned Mama

Courtney Zaleski is a great weight loss coach. As you are concerned about being a nursing mom, you might like to know that she is also a nursing mom. She knows all about the loss of body ''ownership'' and the weight issues of pregnancy. I think she would be perfect for you. Her phone number is (510) 919-9952 anon

Postpartum Exercise Classes

March 2003

I am interested in info on a postpartum exercise program. I looked in the archives, and there is limited information. Has anyone taken Helen Byrnes' class in Montclair? What did you think? What about Karen Casino's class? Any others that are good? I am trying to decide if it is worth the money to do one of these classes, or if I should get a book/video and do it myself. Thanks! milli

I have taken Helen Byrnes' postpartum excerise class and thought it was great! I highly recommend it. She's an excellent instructor and gives you the individual attention you need in order to do the exercises correctly. I think it would be pretty hard to just use a video unless you had already taken this class. Good luck! Jackie

I would definitely recommend Helene Byrne's exercise class. Give the craziness of the first 6? months postpartum, it was really good for me to get out of the house twice a week and do some exercise. Helene was very supportive, knowledgeable, and energetic. I always thought that I would do exercise on the days that I didn't go to her class, but almost never did. I'm sure there are some good videos out there, but I would have had a hard time getting it together to follow them. Being able to bring the baby to class is also incredibly helpful, but I did find that I was distracted having my son there. Nonetheless, I found all the pilates based exercises and stretches really helpful. Good luck, Jennifer

July 2002

Am looking for reccomdations on a good postpartum exercise class. I looked into the Berkeley YMCA but you have to become a member for $235 and pay a $57 montly in order to take their classes. I'd like to take a few classes w/o having to make a big investment. Thanks! a twin Mom

I can highly recommend Marie Morel-Seytoux's postpartum exercise class. She is a great instructor with a class that's as fun for babies as it is for moms (an improvement on the classes at the Berkeley Y as there the babies just hang out on the sidelines). Marie's class starts with the babies in front packs and the warm-up is to kid-friendly music. The babies really enjoy looking at each other (if they're big enough to be facing forward) and moving to the music. There's a low impact cardio segment and some strength training, then some floor work with the babies. Marie stresses that everyone should work at their own pace, which makes the class very comfortable and un-intimidating. And the stretching at the end of the class feels great. She's got a new series of classes starting on March 14th at the Hilltop Y and the price is very reasonable, even for non-members. Here is her website with more info on the class: Good luck! Karen

To the person looking for a postpartum exercise class-- Lakeridge Athletic Club, on San Pablo Dam road, will be offering a new class : A mom and baby excercise where you can wear your baby and get an aerobics workout. This class is also for prenatal moms as well-- when necessary the moves will be modified to be safe and effective for pregnant women. An excerpt from the instructor's description: A postpartum exercise class offers exercises focusing on the specific physical needs of a new mother, such as pelvic floor and abdominal muscle restoration. In addition to the physical benefits, a Mom and Baby class provides stimulation for the baby, stress release for mom, a built-in support group via the other moms in the class, and promotes mom and baby bonding. Best of all, the hassles of arranging and the concern of using childcare for a newborn are eliminated.'' Classes are $10 each or 6 for $50. Childcare for an older child is also available for an additional fee. Classes will start April 2nd (tues 1:30-2:30). For more information, call Lakeridge : 510-222-2500 and ask for me, or check out the instructors website: For more information on Lakeridge, or the Pre/Postnatal excercise class, feel free email me directly, and I'd be happy to give you more info. Shahana

Regarding post-natal exercise, the Karen mentioned on May 21 is Karen Casino. Her number is 644-2066. Call her for class times and rates. I think her classes are Tues and Fri. 11-12:30; 10 classes for $150-200, which includes childcare during the class. Note that her classes focus on muscles affected during pregnancy and childbirth, and there is no aerobic component. I like them as an addition to my workout routine, but I need more than she offers to get back in shape. The Y also offers some postnatal classes, and a woman named Helene Byrne offers a series of post pregnancy classes at times; she advertises widely in parent-oriented publications and at baby and maternity stores.

-Elizabeth, June 1999