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Postnatal Exercise

Helpful Information about Postnatal Exercise

For most women, the first thing they think about after giving birth is getting back into shape with postnatal exercise.  While this is certainly admirable, if you are in this situation, it is essential that you get the green light from your doctor first.  Usually, you would be advised to wait a minimum of six weeks after having a baby to exercise.  That way, your body has ample time to heal so nothing on the inside is torn or damaged.

Once your doctor says you can start some type of postnatal exercise, the next step is choosing what you want to do.  Even then, it would be important to start slow.  This would help your body ease back into a physical regimen but also help you determine just how much you can and cannot do.  If you do one exercise with no problem great but if you find that one or more are painful, then wait a few more weeks before incorporating them into your workout schedule.

Remember, your body has just undergone a tremendous transformation.  Just as it took nine month for the creation of new life, it takes time to get back to “normal.”  In fact, while you might have the best intentions and think you want to get started with postnatal exercise as quickly as possible, you will have sleepless nights and spend the majority of time just marveling at this new person, one that came out of your body.  Therefore, try to avoid putting pressure on yourself, instead just enjoying the change.

When the doctor says you can start with postnatal exercise and you are ready, start slow.  Walking, swimming, and yoga are all excellent ways to start.  You could do these exercises for several weeks or months and as the body heals and you gain more strength, you could then add more intense workouts such as swimming, sit ups, lunges, Pilates, and so on.  The bottom line is to pay attention to the doctor but also your body.

One of the most popular options for postnatal exercise is to include the child.  For instance, once your baby is six weeks old and with weather permitting, start by going for a nice stroll through the local park.  With this, not only are you getting involved with a physical activity but you are also getting to spend quality time with your beautiful new baby.  You could also talk to someone at your local YMCA or Chamber of commerce, or conduct research online for mother and baby classes.

A few factors you want to consider when it comes to postnatal exercise includes the level of fitness prior to becoming pregnant, the ease/difficulty of the delivery, your baby’s disposition, and how well and quickly you recovered from birth.  Obviously, if you were in great physical condition to start with, then getting back into physical activity would be much easier.  However, you would still need to follow the doctor’s orders and listen to your body in that it may not respond in the same way.

In addition, if you had an easy pregnancy and delivery, then chances are your body was not traumatized as much as if the pregnancy and/or delivery were difficult.  For instance, if your delivery was long and after pushing for hours you ended up with a C-section, then you would need to wait eight to ten weeks for postnatal exercise.  On the other hand, if you were one of the fortunate mothers that had a two-hour delivery and delivered naturally, your body was not stressed as much.

Postnatal exercise would also depend on the baby.  As an example, if you have a colicky baby or one with special needs, your time is going to be focused elsewhere but if your child were laid back, healthy, and happy, doing exercises would be easier.  Finally, if your body were healing slower than expected, perhaps you have heavier bleeding and discharge, you do not want to push things.  The key is to take your time, enjoy the new life in your home, and when ready, choose postnatal exercise that start slowly.


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