“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.” - Tommy Lasorda
Congratulations on your new baby!
Now that the baby is here, you might be thinking about how to get back into shape. But first, it’s recommended that you wait for a post-natal medical exam to find out how you should go about exercising.
Your doctor will probably indicate which types of sporting activities you can participate in. Before you start exercising, you must check with a medical professional that everything is healing as it should after giving birth.
In this article, we’ll look at the kinds of exercise you can do after childbirth once you’ve got the green light from your doctor.
How Long After Pregnancy Should You Wait to Start Exercising?
Choosing to exercise after pregnancy isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly.
We recommend taking things easy since mothers with newborns are likely to struggle to maintain a regular schedule and doctors recommend waiting for between 4 and 6 weeks if there weren’t any complications during the birth. Of course, it all depends on the woman.
Just don’t rush to lose weight as your body needs to heal after the 9-month marathon it’s endured. You’ll want to start with light exercise after pregnancy, which can be good for reducing stress and fatigue.
You’ll also need to rehabilitate your pelvic floor, which is a whole different kettle of fish. Pelvic floor rehabilitation will help with your regular exercise, too. This will help you on the road back to fitness. Two sessions a week for a month will help you rebuild the muscles and ligaments that were damaged during labour.
Here are the parts of the body that you’ll be working on:
- The perineum, which will help prevent incontinence, pelvic organ descent, and prolapses.
- Your abs, which is good for a flatter stomach.
- The muscles around your spinal column, which will help you maintain a better posture.
Make sure that you take things easy as you’ll want to avoid injury and as you’ll have understood, the key is slow but steady progress.
How Long Should You Wait Before Exercising after a Caesarean
For women who’ve undergone a caesarean section, you’ll have to wait until between 6 and 8 weeks after the operation. You need to give your body time to heal. At first, you’ll feel discomfort in the muscles around the scarring.
The first goal won’t be to lose weight, but rather to allow your body to adapt so listen to your body and don’t overdo it. Make sure you wait until you’re fully healed before you start your exercise routine.
Choose exercises that will work with your physical condition and fitness levels. Even if you had a C-section, you’ll want to rehabilitate your perineum.
The Gasquet Method works on breathing and posture and allows you to work all the muscle groups involved in pregnancy.
Getting back into walking is also a good way to clear your head while also getting some regular exercise.
Generally, here are a few signs to look out for before you can consider exercising again:
- Regular incontinence two months after the birth.
- Regular bleeding.
- Pelvic organ descent and prolapses.
- Lower back pain.
- Pelvic pain.
- Painful scarring.
Listen to your body and if you experience any of the above, you’ll want to hold off on getting back into an exercise routine. Make sure you speak to a medical professional if you have any concerns or questions as doctors, physiotherapists, and osteopaths are the only ones who should give you the green light to exercise again.
Exercises for Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation
As you’ll have understood, it’s important to rehabilitate after childbirth. Of course, for Caesareans, it’s not quite the same.
In either case, however, you’ll want to focus on your pelvic floor recovery.
Two 20-to-40-minute exercise sessions a week should be enough to start losing weight and get back into shape.
If you’re wondering what kind of exercise you should be doing, here are some good types of exercise:
- Light resistance training
- Light aerobic sessions
- Qi Gong
- Tai Chi
You won’t want to be doing CrossFit or HIIT.
Don’t aim to lose your pregnancy weight in less than 3 to 6 months after the birth. By this stage, you can start doing more intense exercises like jogging, squats, etc. Start with moderate-intensity exercises to master your breathing and get back into the swing of things.
Exercising will help improve your circulation, lose weight, improve your endurance, and work your whole cardiovascular system. Don’t push yourself too hard or put too much pressure on yourself.
You don’t want to focus on performance and posting personal bests!
When Can You Start Working Your Abs After Pregnancy
Your midwife or doctor will probably suggest working on your pelvic floor between 6 and 8 weeks after the birth.
This won’t be enough to tone up your abs, though. You’ll want to consider hypopressive exercises to tone your abs. With gentle ab exercises, you can tone muscles without overexerting your perineum.
It’s recommended that you do these types of exercises under the supervision of a professional. A physiotherapist or a personal trainer can show you how to do them.
After a long period without exercise, you’ll want to avoid high-intensity exercise.
How Can You Exercise with a Newborn in Your Life?
We’ve got a few tips for those looking to maintain an exercise routine with a newborn baby.
Firstly, keep in mind that you have to wait at least 4 to 6 weeks before you start any kind of exercise routine and when you do, you’ll want to consider low-impact activities like Nordic walking, power walking, cycling, or yoga. These types of exercises are great for getting back into shape and losing weight, but they’re also good ways to get back into a routine without overexerting yourself.
4 to 8 weeks after the birth, provided there haven’t been any complications, you can start with higher-impact activities like running, going to the gym, etc. In addition to the physical benefits of these exercises, they’re also good for your mental health.
For outdoor activities, you’ll need an all-terrain pram. These are great for mothers who like walking in the woods or along the beach or those who’d like to go running.
When it comes to exercising at home, try including your daily chores. Just carrying your baby around will act as extra resistance and make most activities more intensive.
For those wanting to go back to the gym, you might want to look around for childcare options nearby. In bigger cities, there are even classes for mothers and their babies so you can meet other mothers and make new friends with young babies.
If you're looking for help with your fitness routine, consider getting help from a personal trainer or coach on Superprof. There are instructors and coaches all over the country and around the world ready to start working with you on your fitness.
There are different ways to get fitness coaching and each comes with advantages and disadvantages so think carefully about which would work well for you and your budget.
Face-to-face coaches can train you at your home, a gym, or outdoors in a park, for example. With the session being just between you and them, you can guarantee that you'll have their undivided attention and that every minute will be planned with you in mind. However, all this planning takes time and expertise so one-on-one coaching tends to cost more than the other options out there, but they're usually the most cost-effective option.
Group coaching is great for those on a tight budget as every member of the class will be paying for the instructor's time and expertise. It can also be really useful to have other people there to support you and spur you on. When exercising in groups, you'll probably be exercising in public spaces, gyms, or dedicated space.
Thanks to the internet, you can also get online coaching. This is useful if you can't find any suitable coaches in your local area but would still like to get guidance from one. Some might guide you through your workouts over video conferencing software like Zoom or Skype whereas others may just act in a consultancy role, providing you with a tailored workout and dietary plan for you to follow in your own time.