A few weeks ago we took a look at prenatal fitness. Today, we’re going to look at postnatal exercise. Just like prenatal exercise and – in fact – all exercise, you should listen to your body and ensure that you do not push yourself too far when you’re working out. Every person is different and each person will be able to exercise on their own schedule and at their own level.
One of the main ways to determine how active you should be after giving birth is how active you were before you gave birth. If you were an active person who exercised regularly before you had your baby, you can probably resume light exercises and stretching relatively shortly after the birth. However, this depends on how straightforward your labour was. A more difficult labour will likely mean that you should wait a while before exercising. If you had an assisted birth, experienced complications in your labour or had a Cesarean, you’ll want to take some time before starting up.
You’ll want to wait a while before exercising if you were not exercising before you had your baby. If you stopped working out due to your pregnancy or if you are new to exercise, it’s important that you start exercising gradually.
Remember that you should spend the first few days after pregnancy resting and taking care of yourself and your baby. Exercise can come later.
Postnatal Exercise: What Can You Do?
What sort of postnatal exercise can you do? There are a number of gentle exercises that you can do shortly after you’ve had a baby. Most women can start pelvic floor exercises shortly after giving birth. For more strenuous exercises, you’ll want to ensure that you speak to a doctor before starting any type of exercise routine.
Taking walks with your baby in the stroller is a good way to exercise once both you and your baby are ready. You may want to start going for walks a few weeks after giving birth, if you can. Start out slowly, remember to stay hydrated and be sure to walk at your own pace. Listen to your body and don’t overdo it, especially if you’re just starting out. Avoiding running and jumping for several months after giving birth, as your joints and ligaments will likely be weakened.
Stretching and light weights are good exercises for new mothers who have been cleared by a doctor. You probably won’t want to stretch your lower body in the first month, but gently stretching your arms, shoulders and neck can relieve tension and relax your muscles. Avoid heavy weights and sit-ups or crunches as these could put additional pressure on vulnerable parts of your body.
It’s important to remember that getting back into shape after having a baby is a gradual process that takes time. Do not rush it and assess your body regularly to ensure that you don’t hurt yourself. Eating well and drinking plenty of water should always be top priorities, whether or not you are exercising.
Postnatal Exercise Benefits
There are a number of benefits to postnatal exercise. Regular exercise improves immune function and it increases the production of antioxidants. It can give you more energy during the day and help you sleep at night. Exercising safely can also reduce the pain that you are feeling after giving birth.
Remember that getting back into shape after giving birth takes time. Don’t push yourself too hard. Every woman is different and every woman’s body moves at a different pace. Taking it at your own pace is the best way to see the benefits of postnatal exercise.