Exercise is usually the last thing on your mind, especially just after having a baby but if you're an exercise enthusiast and are wondering when you can get back to the gym, the answer is soon to be revealed. So pack up your sweat bands, kick off your running shoes and detach yourself from your resistance bands and enjoy the baby cuddles while you can.
Can I Exercise After Having a Baby?
In the first few days after giving birth, you may wish to rest yourself but as soon as you feel ready you can partake in the following activities;
Pop on your trainers (or have them put on your feet for you) and head out to your local park. Not only is classed as one of the only exercises you can do shortly after labour but it can also be beneficial for your mentality. You can find yourself feeling low in the stages of postpartum so getting out in the open can really help lift your mood.
😅Pelvic Floor Exercises:
You may have heard of/seen women crossing their legs when sneezing, they obviously missed the memo about doing their pelvic floor exercises daily. These work in strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor. Weak pelvic floor muscles can result in little amounts of urine making its way out from a simple sneeze, laughing or coughing. So, if you take one thing from this, do your pelvic floor exercises.
When Can I Exercise After Having a Baby?
You're advised by your health care professional to wait at least 6 weeks if you've had a vaginal birth. If you had to undergo a C-Section, you're advised waiting time is at least 8 weeks. You're advised to stay fit after birth but this can be done by simple walks with your little one. You need to remember that your muscles will most likely be weaker than they were pre-pregnancy. Your joints and ligaments, thanks to the relaxin released in your body during pregnancy, will remain flexible for a few months after giving birth to your baby so you should be very careful when beginning exercise as you're going to be prone to accidents and injury.
What Exercise Can I Do After Giving Birth?
Whilst waiting for the go ahead to jump back into that gym and get back to your pre-pregnancy workout routine, we have simple ideas to help get a little fitness back into your life.
🚶♀️Walking On Sunshine:
Drop those car keys, take a walk. Don't wait for that bus, take a walk. Cancel that taxi, take a walk. Walking is the easiest form of exercise and can be fun with your new little one acting as company. You can push them around in that pram, you know the one which required you to take a mortgage out for.
🎲Games Are Fun:
Incorporate your older children, or pets and take part in games which require you to be up and moving about. It can be fun, especially in the summer, to be out in the garden playing games as a family. A great way to keep fit, without the thinking about it.
🏊♀️Take a Dip:
You should wait at least 7 days after your postnatal bleeding has stopped before diving (stepping delicately down the steps) into your local swim baths. Swimming can be a fun activity and is such a great way to keep fit. You may also find a way to include your little one, but be sure to take time to actually swim, rather than bobbing about.
You can look in your local area for a group for mums after labour. This can help with a number of things such as;
- Returning to fitness,
- Getting your pre-pregnancy body back,
- Adapting to new mummy life,
- Understanding your newborn,
- Mental health/Postnatal depression,
- Advice and guidance.
Many groups tend to advise yoga and pilates to new mums to regain fitness but it's still best to double check and get the all clear from you doctor.
Will Exercise Help With My Recovery?
Exercise is really beneficial to us as humans, no matter what. We could sit and list every benefit of exercise to ensure you understand the importance, so that is what we will do;
Exercising, alongside keeping a healthy diet, can help promote amazing weight loss and is a hop, skip and a jump in the right direction to getting your pre-pregnancy body back.
Exercise can boost your energy levels, even though you use a lot of energy whilst exercising. As a newbie to this mum life, you will need all the energy you can get so get in the mood to work out and have the energy to look after your little one.
Whilst incorporating exercise into your daily routine, you will be strengthening and toning your abdominal muscles as these can be lost when pregnant. Exercising can bring your abdominal muscles back in together and can help reduce the gap (diastis recti) made during pregnancy.
Exercising, even a little walk through the park, can help lift your worries and clear your head. It is proven that exercising can help you de-stress and remain calm. This is necessary when becoming a new mother as all your attention will be on the baby.
💤Sleep Like a Baby:
if you want a good nights sleep, make sure your exercising, this can improve your sleep drastically. Both you and your little one will be able to sleep like babies.
Just the same as de-stressing, exercise can help with your mood, it can make you feel so much brighter. Your chances of postnatal depression can be reduced by making sure you are staying active and getting out of the house (or not if you're doing an at home work out).
How Do I Know When I Am Ready To Begin Exercise?
You know your body, so although you may have been given the go ahead by your doctor, if you don't feel ready within yourself, don't rush yourself. You have time to relax. Don't race back in and listen to your body.
If you do notice after returning to exercise that your postnatal bleeding has gotten worse or is bright red in colour then seek medical advice because this is a sign your body is not ready.