You’ve recently had a baby. Congratulations! After 40 weeks or so of carrying around your baby girl or boy in the womb its only understandable if you’re feeling a desire hit the gym again and get back into shape now that you have your energy back after your pregnancy. However, the time just after the baby is born can be a difficult period. You are wading through the midst of three-hourly feeds, cracked nipples and lack of sleep and so you definitely don’t want to push yourself too hard. And also, don’t forget; your body has been through some extreme changes and it takes time to adjust back to normal. It took 10 months to produce a baby and some doctors say it will take a t least 10 months to get your body back. So doing the wrong kind of exercise can actually cause damage or harm to your body.
Postpartum training, just like any other training, is a very individual process. At the most basic level what you are able to do can be dependent on the type of birth — C-section versus natural — and whether there were any health complications during the pregnancy or during the birthing process itself.
There are some exercise mistakes to avoid and then some exerices that are good for you just after you’ve had a baby, which we have listed below.
Don’t go back too fast
Your body really does need time to recover and even if you feel great on the outside don’t underestimate what your body is doing to heal on the inside. Be patient.
As a general rule of thumb the emphasis in the first six weeks is on light stretching, walking, easy, low impact cardio and strengthening the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. Running and kickboxing classes are out — walking is in. Use this time to connect with your baby — you can walk with the pram and do kegels while breastfeeding for example.
Those first few months after your baby is born is also a good time to slowly work on strengthening your pelvic floor again. You want to start your pelvic floor exercises as soon as possible. The easiest way to think about switching it on is to imagine you’re stopping yourself from peeing mudflow — draw everything in and up.
Don’t set yourself the expectations that you had before pregnancy
Your body has been through a lot, so of course it is in a different place than it was a year ago. Your body is now adjusting to very little sleep and the demands of a newborn, so mums should really try and enjoy the quiet, peaceful moments and the beauty of producing life. Further exercise should be carried out first after six to eight weeks with clearance from the doctor
Get rid of the idea that a workout has to be an hour
It absolutely doens’t and most likely won’t in those early months of motherhood. A workout can be 20 minutes and just as effective so don’t put it off just because you haven’t got a whole hour. Most important thing is that you get some kind of daily physical exercise in – and not just because it’s good for the body, it’s very important for mental health.
Don’t choose running as your first workout back
Whilst it seems like a lovely idea to get some fresh air and some “me time” out of the house, running is actually incredibly intense on your joints and not to mention your pelvic floor. Your body needs to build up to running. Work on your strength through bodyweight and light weight exercises for a few weeks before even attempting a run to give your body the best possible chance of being able to cope with the impact.
Most importantly, remember there are no “mistakes” because everyone is different, so what works for you may not work for someone else. The pressures of social media and the stresses to get back into shape as quickly as possible can get to you when you’re housebound and vulnerable so put the phone down and focus on being happy and healthy. Producing a baby is a gift and although getting some physical exercise in, now is the time to be gentle on yourself. A daily power walk with the baby in the pram is a great way to start!