How soon after having my baby can I exercise well…….. the general advise is 6-8 weeks after your postnatal check up with your doctor but as the saying goes everyone is different. If you haven’t had a C-section or you had uncomplicated delivery its OK to return to light exercise if your feeling well. The rule is if you exercised through your pregnancy you can start at the intensity you finished with at the end of your pregnancy if you didn’t exercise during pregnancy you need to keep it light and work your way up gradually.
Safe exercises you can start as soon as 24hrs after delivery are pelvic floor exercises and appropriate abdominal exercises focusing on transverse abdominal exercises first and suitable rectus abdominal exercises once the deep transverse has been worked on.
Core exercises you CAN DO
Transverse exercises e.g
ABDOMINAL HOLLOWING ( hollowing can be preformed standing, seated or lying. Focus on bringing your naval towards your spine.)
LEG SLIDES (Focus on bringing your naval towards your spine no doming of the stomach should occur)
KNEE RAISES ( Lying on your back and as above)
Rectus abdominal exercises e.g
PELVIC TILTS ( Lying on your back)
Core exercises to AVOID before 6-8 weeks
NO CRUNCHES (You don’t want to create any dooming this will further increase diastasis recti)
NO EXERCISES IN 4 POINT KNEELING POSITION( There is a small risk of air entering the raw placental site and causing illness)
NO PLANKS (As above, also as the core muscles are not yet that strong the increased weight from your organs can cause additional stress on you abdominals that are trying to repair it self)
Light cardiovascular work such as walking can be undergone if your feeling well. A good range to keep your heart rate is 50/70% MHR or light to somewhat heart and working up a sweat if you don’t have a heart rate monitor. Try and stay away from high intensity exercises that vigorous in the early weeks as the pelvic floor will still be very weak also the effects of the hormone relaxin are still in your system so its much more easier to get an injury and pull something.
Don’t underestimate the power of walking it will get you at the house and you and baby can get some fresh air. If you like to use machines or do other activities to do your cardio, stick to machines/activities that are low impact. However if you do use machines such as the cross trainer for example be aware that this machine requires activation of the core muscles and if you don’t have good control of it yet you can have some issues with over rotation movements with your core. With the cross trainer good form must be used as not to cause and joint injuries.
Resistance training can be undergone once core muscles have been regained, as I said before everyone is different and depending on your core strength during pregnancy you may gain control quicker. Even though you may be eager to return to exercise please remember to exercise with caution and to select the exercises carefully. When resistance training you will almost certainly be using your core to help you during some part of the exercise that’s why its very important to make sure these are strong before starting formal exercise. You could be doing more damage than good if you don’t know what your doing and your not activating your core during each exercise.
Again the hormone relaxin will still be lingering in your body especially if your breast feeding so its much easier to gain injury as the ligaments and joints are loose. Therefore working in the higher rep range is beneficial to start with so your not working your muscles to complete failure.
Above all listen to your body, there is no race and you don’t have to be in competition with anyone. Every woman you come across will have different levels of fitness and will return to exercise at their own pace. If anything is hurting or doesn’t feel right stop, if you notice an increase in bleeding that’s a good sign to slow things down. If your eager to return to exercise why not visit the doctors earlier and see if they will give you a quick check up to go ahead.
Have a blessed day Fit mama’s