Getting back into a regular exercise program after the birth of your baby has many benefits:
Your body has been through big changes during pregnancy, and this is why it is important to return to exercise safely. These changes include: increased pressure on your pelvic floor, increased load and separation of your abdominal muscles, hormonal changes affecting your ligaments and joints (which can affect your body up to 6 months post pregnancy), changes to your posture. Doing too much, too soon can have long term health implications, and may result in: pelvic floor muscle dysfunction (urine leakage, prolapse), back pain or pelvic girdle pain.
Factors that will affect how soon and what intensity exercise you can safely do post pregnancy include:
So, what can you do safely to begin with?
It is best to avoid high intensity/strenuous exercise, and heavy weights for the first 12 weeks (natural birth) or 4 months (c-section) - things like running and tennis. Exercises that place excessive pressure on your abdominal wall and pelvic floor should be avoided - such as sit ups, planks, mountain climbers.
The following signs and symptoms will indicate you have done too much, or need to seek further advice from your doctor or physiotherapist:
If you have any uncertainty or would like further information on where to start, taking into consideration where you are at individually, then please don’t hesitate to book in with one of our physiotherapists. We can give you advice on:
It is also important to be kind to yourself in the post-partum period, it is a very demanding stage of life, and fitting in exercise may be harder than it was before you became a mother. Fit it in when you can, even if you only manage 10-15 minutes, it is better than nothing and your body and mind will benefit!
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