Metro: Many women assume you need to wait at least six weeks after giving birth before they start exercising again. You waited, what, two weeks?
Hilaria Baldwin:Fitness is something I’ve done ever since I can walk; I exercised almost every single day of my pregnancy. I walked, did yoga, ballet barre and up until the fifth month, jogged. I wanted to keep circulation in my body and never got swollen feet, ankles or legs. I obviously gained weight, but nothing extreme. There was some fat — as there should be — but I ate well.
What kind of yoga were you doing?
Think about what’s going to prepare your body for delivery: You need a strong pelvic floor and you want the baby to travel further downwards. I did a lot of squatting, open twists and hip openers; helping everything release and go down.
Were you on a special pregnancy diet?
It’s a diet, but it’s not dieting. I ate the stuff I was eating before, just more quantity. So a lot of healthy whole grains because folic acid is great for the baby’s brain development, vegetables, a lot of almonds and walnuts, and I added fish to my diet — I’m normally a vegan. I wasn’t chowing down on doughnuts. A lot of people were like, "This is your time to eat sugar!" I didn’t want to do that. It wasn’t healthy for me or for my baby. It’s not a vanity contest.
What, so no cravings?
I think of cravings as, "I must have this or I’m going to kill somebody!" I never had that. At the beginning I really wanted pineapple and citrus because I was nauseous. It was, "What can I eat that’s not going to make me sick?" And I was a happy pregnant person. … When you’re happy, you tend to eat pretty well.
Some women can’t work out within weeks of giving birth, but if you didn’t have any problems and are healthy then you can. What advice would you give those who are reluctant to exercise?
If you go little-by-little you’re always in control, you’re not going to get hurt. Be smart, but don’t be afraid. Your body is still your body. In the hospital, I started walking up and down the corridors, stretching my ankles and promoting circulation in my arms and leg. The day I got home, my husband and I went for a walk. I was surprised by how tired I was.
It’s hard! You’ve lost a tremendous amount of blood and you’re lightheaded, but every day I just felt better and better to the point where I had the guts to do more. I started by giving myself full, very slow yoga classes and by the two-week mark I went to a ballet barre class. ... After three weeks I went for a jog. ... Did I feel as strong as before? No, but my body told me I was OK and I could go.
You gave birth and two weeks later, your stomach was pretty much flat! I saw a picture on Twitter.
It’s the most bizarre thing. My husband and I would laugh because every day we’d wake up and it had shrunk — it was literally going down day by day. At first I was like, "OMG! It’s going to be six months and I’m still going to look pregnant!" A lot of it is breast-feeding – this is something I didn’t know — it burns a lot of calories.
Up to 500 a day, I think...
That’s what I heard. It stimulates contractions in your uterus that help it return to its normal size. If I’m frank with you, it was the most painful part of my entire pregnancy. But at the same time, I’m looking down at my baby and she’s so cute and she’s starving. But I enjoy it now.