Immediately after childbirth is a time to allow your body to heal and recover. The benefits of postnatal exercises to a new mother during this period can be life changing.
You are tired. Often exhausted as you get little sleep. Experiencing a range of emotions. You are so excited about having a beautiful little baby. But your body will be going through a whole lot of changes and you may have lost confidence in the way it functions. You’re not alone!
While the last thing on your mind is exercising, I want you to know that you will be much better off if you can participate in an approved postnatal exercise program. Whether you can make it to a class, or join our PregActive Tribe for our online workouts, it is important you also dedicate some time to your recovery post-birth.
I encourage active recovery and participating in safe postnatal exercises to help you recover both physically and mentally.
The following postnatal exercises and guidelines are just ‘guidelines’ as they form the basis for re-commencing a postnatal exercise and recovery program ONLY after you have been given approval by your doctor.
Benefits to Participating in Safe and Effective Postnatal Exercises
• Improves your sense of well-being.
• Restore muscle strength.
• Boost energy levels.
• Improve your mood.
• Helps heal Diastasis recti (abdominal separation).
• Help relieve stress.
• Assist you to feel normal again.
• Improve your cardiovascular fitness.
• Help the healing process for abdominal separation.
• Strengthen your pelvic floor.
• Reduce leakage with pelvic floor exercises.
Breastfeeding and Exercise
There have been a number of studies that have shown that regular exercise does not have adverse effects on a mother’s ability to successfully breastfeed as long as fluid and caloric intake are maintained.
However; there has been some research that suggests high-intensity physical activity can cause lactic acid to accumulate in breast milk and produce a sour taste a baby might not like.
My online postnatal recovery program avoids any high-intensity exercise or movements so if you are breastfeeding this should not be a problem.
When Should I Start Postnatal Exercises?
You will most likely remain in hospital for several days (longer if you had a caesarean) where your nurse will assist you to gradually get out of bed and be active with short walks or gentle exercises.
If you had a caesarean your recovery will be quite different. You should speak to your doctor with regards to when you can consider starting a postnatal exercise program.
For most women without complications, six weeks after giving birth is a time when most of the changes that occur during pregnancy will have returned to normal. If you did not exercise during your pregnancy then you will need to progress at a slower rate.
You should avoid any sudden twisting, high-impact movements or over-stretching as your ligaments and joints are more supple and pliable.
Recommended Postnatal Exercises
• Pregactive online postnatal workouts
How Can I Find the Time for Postnatal Exercise?
When you are a new mother you will likely be sleep-deprived, tired, exhausted and will struggle to find the time for any exercise or activity.
This is why my postnatal program includes videos ranging in workout time from 5 minutes and upwards. I wanted to create program that our amazing new mothers can do from the comfort of their own home. When going to the gym is not an option, what better way to exercise from the privacy of your own home.
Taking five or ten minutes out of your busy schedule for yourself will provide some great benefits to you both physically and mentally.
I love walking! Getting out for a walk as you push your pram around is a great way to get some fresh air, walk with a friend and also be active.
Here are some tips:
• Always be guided by your doctor.
• Be kind to yourself! You are not trying to set any personal bests during this postnatal period. It is all about healing and recovering!
• Communicate with your partner, family and friends your need to get some time to yourself so you can participate in a postnatal session.
• Walking your baby is also a good way to get some exercise and fresh air.
• You can always have your baby near you as you perform some pelvic floor exercises or a short video workout.
• Start off slowly and if possible progress to getting 30 minutes a day of activity.
• Wear an appropriate bra that offers good support.
• Stop immediately if you experience any pain or discomfort.