Postpartum Exercise Guidelines
The following postpartum exercise guidelines are just ‘guidelines.’
Why Postpartum Exercise Guidelines?
Because your recovery after childbirth will be different to another new mama.
So, you may receive different medical advice based on your needs and requirements.
They form the basis for re-commencing a postnatal exercise and recovery program ONLY after you have been given approval by your doctor.
You are Worth it!
Your well-being is important. Your health matters!
Immediately after childbirth is a time to allow your body to heal and recover. This doesn’t mean you do nothing; instead it involves active recovery to help you recover both physically and mentally.
Every woman will have their own individual needs and will recover in their own time.
Benefits of Postpartum Exercise Guidelines
1. Improves your sense of wellbeing.
2. Restore muscle strength.
3. Boost energy levels.
4. Improve your mood.
5. Helps heal Diastasis recti postpartum (abdominal separation).
6. Help relieve stress.
7. Assist you to feel normal again.
8. Improve your cardiovascular fitness.
9. Help the healing process for abdominal separation.
10. Strengthen your pelvic floor.
11. 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.
Our postnatal 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). Your nurse will assist you to gradually get out of bed. And when ready, 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.
Types of Postnatal Exercises and Activities
Recommended postpartum exercise includes:
How Can I Find the Time for Postnatal Exercise?
When you are a new mother you will likely be sleep-deprived and tired. You will feel exhausted and will struggle to find the time for any exercise or activity.
This is why our postnatal program includes videos ranging in workout time from 5 minutes and upwards.
I want you to take five or ten minutes out of your busy schedule for yourself. This will provide some great benefits to you both physically and mentally.
Here are some tips:
1. Always be guided by your doctor.
2. Be kind to yourself! It’s not about aiming for personal bests. It is all about healing and recovering!
3. Communicate with your partner, family and friends your need to find time to exercise.
4. Walking your baby is also a good way to get some exercise and fresh air.
5. You can always have your baby near you as you perform some pelvic floor exercises or a short video workout.
6. Start off slowly and if possible progress to getting 30 minutes a day of activity.
7. Wear an appropriate bra that offers good support.
8. Stop immediately if you experience any pain or discomfort.
Let’s Do this – Your Health Matters!
Always Consult Your Doctor
We always advise you to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program. This is essential as the needs and requirements vary from one person to another.
Although there are many benefits to exercising, your current condition may prevent you from doing so for now.
Our programs are designed for healthy individuals.
Guidelines for Your Postpartum Workouts
1. Always consult your doctor before starting any sort of exercise program.
2. Stay hydrated by drinking water before, during and also after exercise.
3. Wear comfortable workout shoes & clothes.
4. Acknowledge your current level of fitness and do not over-exert yourself.
5. If you experience any pain stop immediately and seek medical advice.
6. Only increase the intensity or duration of your workout when you feel you are ready. If you increase the intensity too quickly you will be more susceptible to sustaining and injury.
7. If you have a pre-existing injury speak to your health care professional first about which exercises you should and should not do.
Post Pregnancy Exercise Precautions
If you have experienced (or are currently experiencing) any of the following we advise you to consult your doctor first before starting or continuing in an exercise program:
1. You have joint or muscle problems.
2. You have a heart or lung problem.
3. You have severe anaemia (very low iron levels in your blood).
4. You have high blood pressure.
5. You are a heavy smoker.
6. You have a serious lung disease.
7. You have a serious heart disease.
8. You have poorly controlled diabetes.
9. You were very overweight / obese.
10. You were underweight.
11. Cervical weakness.
Your doctor will provide you with guidelines, instructions and recommendations if you have one of these conditions and they believe that you can still exercise.
While our PregActive programs have been carefully designed they are best-suited for women without complications.