Your Guide to Postpartum Workouts
When it comes to your postpartum workouts you need to break it down into two phases. The first 12 weeks after childbirth must be dedicated to recovery and healing. Then when you are ready to lose baby weight and regain your body confidence with the way you look, you can include appropriate core exercises and cardio.
The right program will help you to alleviate back pain, leaky bladder, diastasis recti, and prolapse symptoms. The wrong workouts can cause you more harm and further injury so please only participate in classes that are being taught by an experienced postpartum exercise specialist.
Post Pregnancy Exercise Intensity
So how hard should you exercise post pregnancy? Good question.
Too often I see new mamas returning to their pre-pregnancy workouts and unfortunately sustaining serious injuries as they have not allowed their body to properly heal.
Please listen to this interview with our Women’s Health Physio about exercise intensity.
The following postnatal exercise guidelines are just ‘guidelines.’ Why just 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
1. Improves your sense of wellbeing.
2. Restore muscle strength.
3. Boost energy levels.
4. Improve your mood.
5. Helps heal Diastasis recti (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.
When Should I Start Postpartum 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.
Recommended Postpartum Exercises
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.
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.
Postpartum 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.
Postpartum Exercise Plan
Your body is experiencing an entire new range of unwanted, and sometimes embarrassing, set of body changes. Your exercise plan should be dedicated to recovery and healing your diastasis recti.
First, I want you to wait at least two weeks postpartum before exercising at all. And if you need longer, then do not feel rushed!
As a new mother, you are exhausted, tired and getting used to having to look after your beautiful little baby night and day. You’re probably wondering how you are supposed to find the time or energy to exercise.
But recovery is about YOU! I created my online program so you don’t have to go to the gym. You can workout in the privacy of your own home.
Your 12 Week Postpartum Exercise Plan
Each week I want you to include a gentle 20 minute workout into your schedule. Aim to do this at least three times a week.
You can also do a rest and relaxation audio or workout. And when you have some time (in the car, on the couch) I want you to do some Kegel exercises for your pelvic floor.
Each week, your workouts should be progressive. Your are not trying to set any new personal best times or lifts. It’s about doing the right postpartum core exercise to aid in your recovery.
Here are a few exercises you can include in your workouts.
Postpartum Exercise and Breastfeeding
Postpartum exercise and breastfeeding is often a topic raised when women start to begin a program after birth and are concerned about what effects exercise may have on breastfeeding.
Studies have shown that moderate postpartum exercise during lactation does not affect the quantity or composition of breast milk or impact infant growth.
Exercise frequency and intensity should not interfere with your ability to breastfeed.
However; it has been reported that lactic acid has been shown to be increased in the breast milk of women exercising at maximal intensity, but not in those exercising at moderate levels.
If you find that your baby does not feed as well right after exercising you may want to consider feeding your baby right before exercising or postponing feeding until 1 hour after exercising.
Further research and studies are required regarding this topic of exercise and breastfeeding so please seek the advice of your doctor if you have any concerns.
I recommend appropriate exercise during the postpartum period if you are without contraindications and only after your doctor’s approval to exercise.
Exercise during this postpartum period is recommended to help re-gain conditioning and strength. But you should resist trying to achieve peak fitness or training for a sporting event.
Post pregnancy is not the time to try and set new ‘personal bests.’
Or push your body to the limits in terms of intensity as you may cause significant harm to your healing body.
You should also select activities that will minimise the risk of loss of balance, avoid high-impact movements, and cause trauma to the joints and ligaments.
I’m Here for YOU!
While you are busy looking after your newborn baby, I will be busy looking after you! Do you want to enjoy experience a speedier postpartum recovery?
I will show the best diastasis recti exercises along with the exercise your must avoid. I will help you to re-gain your body confidence and stop that unwanted leakage.
When ready, I will help you lose baby weight the right way without gimmicks or a fad diet.