Returning to exercise after having a baby
Exercise is equally important during the postnatal period as it is during any stage of life. There are a variety of physical changes that your body goes through during pregnancy hence it is important that your exercise regime is specific to your goals.
Benefits of exercise
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Psychological wellbeing
- Increased energy levels
- Social interaction
- Muscle strength and toning
- Weight loss
When can I return to exercise?
In most cases your obstetrician will give you the all-clear to resume structured exercise at your six-week check-up. Upon returning to exercise, it is important that you start at a level that is suitable for your ability.
What type of exercise is appropriate?
A core stability based program (ie. Clinical Pilates), is a great place to start to ensure your deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles are functioning optimally to support you as your exercise intensity progresses. Pilates is the first line of management for abdominal muscle separation (DRAM), incontinence, pelvic girdle pain/instability and pregnancy related lower back pain.
When your core muscles are ready, adding a combination of aerobic and resistance exercises to your routine will work towards optimal general health.
What should I consider when returning to exercise?
When returning to exercise it’s important to recognise that having a newborn baby is extremely physically demanding! Your baby continue to grow in weight as you repetitively lift and carry them, you will be low on sleep and breast feeding lowers your own energy stores.
It is also important to remember that your hormone levels can remain altered for months after your pregnancy which can contribute to increased joint laxity (less joint stability) and changes in you energy levels.
Your exercise regime should be tailored to you, there is no one size fits all when it comes to physical health. For optimal outcomes seek advice from a health professional to ensure you participate in exercise that; is appropriate for your health, considers any musculoskeletal conditions you have, focuses on injury prevention and is gradually progressed.
For further advice and guidance, book an appointment with your local Back In Motion physiotherapist.
We can help in the management of many pregnancy-related conditions such as; Mastitis and blocked ducts, incontinence, pelvic instability abdominal muscle separation, back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.