10TV's Ashlee Baracy talks getting strength back after pregnancy

(Ashlee Baracy)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – There is a lot that people don't talk about when it comes to pregnancy, especially what happens after that bundle of joy comes home.

“Your whole world revolves around that baby,” said 10TV Chief Meteorologist, Ashlee Baracy, who knows firsthand.

Baracy delivered her son Carter earlier this year on Aug. 10.

“I’m almost four months postpartum and I’ve just been listening to my body,” she said. “And that would probably be the biggest advice that I would give to a mom-to-be or a new mom is — listen to your body.”

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Spinning is one workout Baracy has used to ease her way back into a routine.

“I found that spinning postpartum is the best for me because it is low impact,” she said. “I'm not using a ton of my core, a little bit to get a little strength but I’m not doing 100 crunches because quite frankly, I don't think I could do that right now.”

For women working to regain their pre-pregnancy strength, Dr. Anita Somani tells 10TV low impact workouts are key.

“Even just start doing some simple yoga stretching, some core work to strengthen your abdominal muscles, and that can be hard if someone’s muscles have been stretched with the process of pregnancy; sometimes it’s a little bit harder to get your core strength back,” Dr. Somani said.

But Baracy explained the fitness timeline she had in her head before Carter looked different after he was born.

“The harsh reality is, you lose so much strength,” Baracy said. “Your body changes drastically within a nine-month period. Your body is not going to go back to what it was in just a couple days or a couple weeks.”

Dr. Somani tells 10TV that’s expected.

“You need to say, ‘You know what? It takes nine months to get back to where you were when you started your pregnancy.’ So, I think we often times put all these expectations on ourselves and that’s not helpful.”

Taking it one day at a time, is what Baracy says has worked for her.

“I think you just listen to your body and when your body says, ‘Okay, I’m ready to do this next step,’ then you do it,” she said. “I mean, there’s no specific, cookie-cutter timeline of how you’re supposed to bounce back after having a baby, just as long as you feel healthy, and with me spinning, I feel like I have more energy and I can just be a better mom for my baby.”

It’s that energy before and after giving birth, Dr. Somani said, that makes all the difference for both mom and baby.

“I think everyone who exercises would tell you that when you exercise, you actually feel like you get more energy afterwards and it’s the same thing during pregnancy when women are saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m exhausted, I’m nauseous," she said.

Baracy says one day she hopes baby Carter will pick up on that energy himself.

“I know Carter’s just a little baby right now and he doesn’t understand but when he gets old enough, I want him to be active too and it really starts in the home and what mom and dad are doing,” she said.

Beyond elevating energy, working out during pregnancy and postpartum can also improve mental health, Dr. Somani said.

“I think even something even as simple as taking short walks, it can help your mental wellbeing, you know, if you’re dealing with postpartum depression, if you’re dealing with the stresses of a newborn, it helps to even take short walks," she said.

Another way to avoid some of the stress from pregnancy?

"Since I started working out after my pregnancy, I have not stepped on a scale,” Baracy said. “And I think that’s really important because we can get so infatuated with what the number is on the scale and for me, I want to know how I feel. Do I have energy every day? How are my clothes fitting? You know, and that to me is going to tell me if I’m starting to see improvement as opposed to what the number is on the scale.”

It’s a lesson Baracy hopes other mothers-to-be can learn, too.

“Our bodies change during pregnancy and they’re not going to be exactly what they were prior to having a baby and that’s okay, just as long as you feel comfortable in your own skin.”

To find more pregnancy and postpartum resources and support, click here.