Now that baby is here, some women feel they are ready to continue their exercise routine or start a new one. Exercising can help restore muscle strength, firm your body, help you lose weight and provide more energy. Even if you feel ready within the first few weeks of giving birth, any exercises done should primarily be to help with relaxation and emotional well-being. Barring any complications such as bleeding or discomfort, most women get the go ahead to participate in exercise at their six week post partum check up, typically longer for a c-section delivery.
As you ease back into exercise (note the easing part), you will want to determine whether the separation of the abdominal muscles (diastasis recti) that occurs during pregnancy is healing normally. Throughout pregnancy your abdominal muscles have been stretched and weakened. After delivery, these weakened muscles may cause lower back pain or you may have trouble lifting. You may notice a bulge in your stomach or feel the separation when you tense the muscles. Diastasis recti usually heals on its own after several months and exercise may help the condition. Your healthcare provider will be able to determine if you are healing normally and are able to begin more intense exercises.
You’re Given the Green Light to Exercise, Now What?
- Your first and most important goal should consist of building and strengthening your core and pelvic floor not unlike your pregnancy exercises. Bridges, planks and kegels are some examples of those first exercises that should be introduced to your postpartum workout.
- Give yourself credit. You might be tired and stressed, but fitting in some exercise can help boost your mood, reduce your stress and give you some time to unwind. The energy that comes from your workout can help care for your newborn.
- Stay hydrated. Be mindful to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise. This is especially crucial for breast feeding women because you lose fluids during nursing sessions.
- Wear a properly supported bra.
- Get rest. It’s hard to find the time, but even building a few minutes of rest into your post workout can help rejuvenate you.
Once you have followed your recovery recommendations and feel sufficiently ready to exercise, you might need some ideas on what to do. Contact us to get started!
- “Postpartum Fitness… and Beyond”. Accessed 12, March 2015. La Leche League International. http://www.llli.org/nb/nbiss1-10p4.html
- “Getting in Shape After your Baby is Born”. Accessed 12, March 2015. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq131.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20121001T1136080662
- “Diastasis Recti”. Accessed 12, March 2015. U.S. National Library of Medicine. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001602.html
- Image courtesy of marcolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net