There is a magnitude of benefits from exercising post pregnancy. Not only does it help physically, but it can also help mentally and emotionally too. It should be part of a healthy self-care routine which is essential to all mums.
But it is crucial that you only begin exercising when you feel ready, when a healthcare professional has given you the all clear and you train with someone who is specifically trained in postnatal care.
So, let’s start with WHEN is it safe to start exercising?
There are some very gentle exercises that you can begin doing immediately. For example, your kegel exercises, otherwise known as pelvic floor exercises. You can exercise these after you fully empty your bladder for the first time. Walking is also ok when you feel well, but make it gentle.
While it is essential that you discuss and listen to your healthcare professional, usually after a virginal delivery, it is safe to come back to low impact exercise at approx. 6 weeks. Returning after a cesarean is a bit longer, the recommendation is 12 weeks. Remember with a C-section, the deep tissues take time to heal even if your surface area seems healed.
Where do I start?
Once you have been given medical clearance to return to a moderate level of fitness and you personally feel ready to give it a go there are a few things to remember……..
1. Don’t compare yourself to others. Every single body is different, every birth is different and every recovery is different.
2. Focus more on your overall recovery first, then worry about fitness.
3. LISTEN to your body. If it doesn’t feel right, STOP!
4. Drink plenty of water.
5. Refuel with food. Don’t restrict foods for a ‘diet’ reason.
6. Wear a supportive bra! Yep those puppies will need good support! If you are breast feeding, try feeding bubs before you start to reduce your change of engorgement.
7. Stop if you have any bleeding or feel any pain.
8. Most importantly, enjoy it! We all know the story of poor Kate Hudson crying on the treadmill post baby – this is not healthy for anyone. If you don’t enjoy it then don’t do it.
What kind of exercises are good post-partum? (all of these are recommended after medical clearance)
Yoga – Of course!
Low level aerobics - but no jumping
What to avoid?
Anything that really fatigues you
Crunches, Sit ups, Intense Ab exercises
Potential Adverse Conditions?
Why is Post Natal Training So Important for your instructor?
A women’s body changes so much throughout pregnancy but it also takes time to return to ‘normal’. You have a lot of relaxins floating around, your pelvis is loose, your abdominals have been stretched, your pelvic floor has been under pressure and you are tired! These are just a few! So, it is essential that whoever you chose to train with has in depth knowledge of a women’s pre and post-natal body!
It is OK to ask before you begin training specifically what post-natal training they have had. Remember just because they might have children themselves, without training, it doesn’t give them the qualifications to train you!
Even if you are doing online exercise as so many of us do these days, they still must have Postnatal training AND I’d highly recommend that you have a way of contacting someone if you had any questions. Don’t subscribe to a faceless online where you are left to your own devices and if you have concerns you can’t contact anyone!
With Topknot Yoga; topknotyoga.com, I am always available to ask questions, discuss sequences or any issues you may be having. It is essential to me that you have the personal touch throughout your fitness and wellness journey. The most important thing for me is that your return to fitness safely and enjoy yourself!