Moving Your Body After a Baby: Our Top Tips for Postpartum Exercise
Having a baby is one of the most exciting moments of our lives, changing the dynamics of our lifestyles and daily routines forever. Our bodies are no exception; the impact of pregnancy, birth and everything that follows can have a huge effect on our strength and capabilities.
As we all know, exercise is an important part of maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle, especially when we’re responsible for chasing around our little ones and giving them the best life possible.
But deciding when you’re ready to start exercising again can be tricky, and knowing where to start can be even more complex. We understand that everybody’s situation is unique, and as mummies ourselves, we get how unappealing the thought of exercise is in the early days of being a new mum!
Today we’re here to give you the low-down on postpartum exercise. We’ll be covering everything from when you might want to get moving again, and let you know our favorite workouts to ease you back in.
Keep reading to hear our top tips on all things postpartum exercise!
When should I start exercising postpartum?
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to postpartum exercise, mostly because the process of giving birth is such a unique thing to experience. Some women have a smooth delivery, some women have a more problematic journey, and others have C-section recovery to consider. As a result, there are many factors to take into account when deciding when to start moving your body again.
As suggested by experts, all women have been given the green light for some activity as soon as 24 hours after birth. This includes Kegel exercises and light walking, although it’s important not to strain yourself or tire your body out when it still needs time to recover.
Our biggest tip for deciding when to get started is to listen to your body.
Consult with your doctor, consider how strong or energetic you’re feeling, and take things at your own pace. Although exercise is important for health, your recovery post-birth is much more important in the weeks following. You shouldn’t feel any pressure to do anything you’re not comfortable with!
Signs your body might not be ready just yet
Everyone is unique when it comes to birth, pregnancy and motherhood. That being said, it’s important to look out for signs that you might be diving into exercise too quickly for your body to cope with.
Postpartum recovery can be a slow process and some symptoms can mean your recovery might take a little longer than others, including:
- Abdominal and vaginal pains
- Bleeding, either occasional or continuous
- Fluid leakage such as urine or feces
- Heavy feeling in the pelvic region
We’d always recommend seeing your doctor or a specialist when it comes to your postpartum body. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get checked out if there’s something you’re unsure of. Pregnancy and its aftermath can be a strange experience for many, so it’s always good to get an expert’s opinion for your peace of mind!
Warming up is the key to postpartum exercise
Exercise might come as a shock to your recovering body, especially since it won’t be quite the same as it was before. Pregnancy causes many physiological changes and we have to recognise that before we can start moving again.
Amongst other adaptations, our abdominals stretch, our back muscles shorten and our pelvis becomes weak under the weight of the little one we’re carrying. You shouldn’t worry if you’re not as strong or active as you were before — it’s completely normal to experience this.
One of the best ways to prepare your body for any movement is through some light warm up exercises to get your blood flowing and loosen up any stiff muscles.
Light exercises we love for warming up
One of our favorite warm up exercises is a basic knee lift. Whilst lying down (or standing if you’d prefer), simply lift your knees one at a time to stomach height, then lower them back to the ground. Repeat this exercise as many times as you feel comfortable with , taking the movement as slowly as you need to. This warm up will help get you heart pumping, and also wake up your leg muscles for further movement.
Take a walk
A light walk can truly cure everything! As well as bringing a brilliant lift to your mental wellbeing, a walk will also work to bring your whole body back into action. If you don’t feel ready for a long walk just yet, why not try walking around the block and back? Taking the stroller and getting some fresh air will do both you and baby the world of good!
Postpartum exercises that everyone can enjoy
Ready to get moving? Now that you’re all warmed up and prepared for something a little more intense, here are some of our favorite exercises to ease you back into regular physical activity.
Whilst movement is important, retraining your diaphragm and your lung capacity is also important to restoring your body to good physical health. Simply lie down on the floor, or another comfortable, flat surface and concentrate on your breathing. You can either follow a guided routine or take things at your own pace — do what feels good for you!
Heel slides are a great way to rebuild the strength in your legs, utilizing all of the muscles and rebuilding your flexibility. Lie on your back and slowly bring your legs up to a knee-bend, all while sliding your heel along the ground. You should feel some tension in your hamstrings — this means they’re working!
A postpartum plank is the same as the classic abdominal exercise, except you can choose how long you hold it for. It’s important not to strain your abs too much, so go easy with this one. Try holding for a few seconds at first and build up to whatever you feel comfortable with. It’s a great way to rebuild the core strength you may have lost during pregnancy.
Sideways leg lift
This one is another fantastic leg exercise, perfect for rebuilding muscles you’ll need for lifting and running around after your new bundle of joy! Try lying on your side and add a pillow under the hip for extra comfort if you need to. Lift your leg and lower it again continuously, aiming higher for added intensity.
We hope this blog post all about postpartum exercise has been helpful. As a business founded by mummies, our biggest piece of advice will always be to listen to your body and do what feels right for you and your baby.
Your happiness and health is the most important part of recovery! For more tips and helpful resources for new mums, visit our blog!