Exercise Safely after Pregnancy
Congratulations on the birth of your baby. Although you are bound to be extremely tired as a new mum, after you have recovered from the labour itself, you can start to exercise cautiously. Exercising will help give you energy, keep your mood positive, and start to strengthen the muscles weakened during pregnancy.
The First 6 Weeks:
Strengthen your Pelvic Floor Muscles
The first muscle you should be aiming to strengthen is the pelvic floor muscles. If you don’t strengthen these muscles it can cause problems, such as incontinence. The pelvic floor muscles have been stretched to their limit during the delivery of your baby. If you had an episiotomy (a cut in the perineum to widen the opening during delivery) or tore your perineum during birth, pelvic floor exercises can help to speed-up your recovery. Aim to exercise these muscles daily, aiming for at least 40-60 pelvic floor contractions a day.
Strengthen your TVA
Strengthening your TVA (Transversus Abdominus) is another priority as this muscle has also been stretched to its limit during your pregnancy. You can strengthen this muscle by getting onto a hands and knees position so that your posture is aligned with hands under shoulders and knees below hips. Keep a normal curve in your lower back, and as you breathe out suck in your tummy. Then, breathe in and relax your tummy. Start off with 10 repetitions holding for 5 seconds working up to 10 repetitions holding for 10 seconds.
Very Gentle Aerobic Exercise
You can start to go for very gentle 10-15 minute walks as soon as you feel able to after the birth, building up to 30-40 minutes at a moderate walking speed over the first 6 weeks. When you reach the 6 week mark you should be in a position to increase the intensity of your workouts, slowly returning to your pre-pregnancy fitness routine.
Avoid Dieting or Cutting your Food Intake
Try and not diet while your body is recovering from the labour as your body will need lots of energy to heal. Also if you are breastfeeding, you will need to eat adequate amounts of food. So I wouldn’t recommend restricting your intake of food at this stage.
Signs that you are Overdoing it
During the first 6 weeks try not to overdo your exercise, signs that you might be overdoing it include:
Feeling more tired than usual
Sudden muscle aches and pains
Colour changes to lochia (post-partum vaginal flow) to pink or red
Heavier lochia flow
Lochia starts flowing again after it had stopped
The First 3 Months:
Ensure your Abdominal Muscles have Fully Healed
Before you start a vigorous exercise routine, you want to make sure your pelvic floor muscles are strong and your abdominal muscles have completely healed. Your abdominal muscles split down the middle during pregnancy. Once the gap in the muscles has closed you can progress onto more demanding exercises. As a rough rule, your body should be fit to go back to your old fitness routine six weeks after the delivery. Listen to your body, if you have had a caesarean it might take a couple of weeks longer than that.
Gradually Get Back your Pre-Pregnancy Body
Be patient and take one step at a time, that way you will achieve a lot more. If you are looking to lose weight, aim for half a kilo a week, no more. Losing weight too fast is stressful on the body. Focus instead on sensible exercise and eating a healthy diet to lose any extra weight.
Avoid Exercises that Tax your Ligaments and Joints
Your ligaments and joints will be loose for at least three months following the birth, so avoid any exercises which are going to overly tax your ligaments and joints. This might include high-impact exercises, exercises requiring rapid direction movements, vigorous stretching, and exercises requiring a high level of balance.
Post Natal Personal Training Plan: Our sessions will seek to regain your pre-pregnancy body, but depending on your requirements we could include more goals. The sessions are designed to strengthen the muscles stretched in pregnancy and stretch the muscles it tightened to rebalanced your body. We will create you a specifically tailored gym program and a separate nutrition program to achieve your goals. We will work with you and monitor you every step of the way making sure that you’re on track to achieving your goals.