Postpartum Exercise: How Long Should I Wait?

By Kayla Shea

September 23, 2019

After nine months, you had your precious little baby and you are wondering about getting your body back. Remember it took nine months of big changes to grow your little one, it will take time to recover and get back into whatever exercise routine you had. But when can you start?

As a Labour and Delivery Registered Nurse, Pre/Postnatal Yoga Instructor and mother, I have learned a lot about the prenatal and postpartum body. Being a Mama Coach means creating a community of support and education for new and expecting families. So here is some of my knowledge to you!

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic floor exercises can be started immediately postpartum. Whether you had a vaginal delivery or a c-section, these exercises are important to maintain the strength and stability of your pelvic floor, helping prevent any gynecological issues in the future. We are talking Kegels! Similar to stopping your pee mid-stream, contracting the pelvic floor while imagining pulling up and towards your belly button. You can do this anywhere and anytime, no one will know!

Slowly Introduce Excercise

Generally, if you had a healthy pregnancy and an uncomplicated vaginal delivery you can start introducing exercise within the first few days postpartum. Start with gentle walks and over a few weeks gradually introducing more intense exercise. If you are unsure or had a c-section, stick with gentle walks and ask you Doctor at your 6 week postpartum check. 

While pregnant, it is common for your abdominal muscles to separate as your belly grows. This separation is known as diastasis recti and is important to consider postpartum. Do a self-check! Lie on your back with knees bent, gently press your fingers inward starting around your belly button then lift your head to do a crunch. How many fingers can you fit in between your muscles? Any more than one finger width tells you to be very gentle getting back into an exercise routine involving core muscles, for example, planks and crunches.

Things to consider:

  • Talk to your doctor at your 6 weeks check.
  • Be gentle, take it slow.
  • Drinks lots of water.
  • If you are breastfeeding, consider feeding before exercise to avoid engorgement discomfort.
  • Get to know your body again, notice how you are feeling. Work on your posture now that you don’t have a round belly.
  • Especially if you had a c-section, roll to your side and push up with your arms from lying down to avoid pressure on your belly.
  • Avoid running and core exercise initially, slowly introducing at 3 to 6 months postpartum depending on how you are feeling. 
  • Consider seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist, they are a great resource for postpartum recovery.
  • Exercise is important for both your physical and mental health. Balance exercise with rest and nutrition.

 

Love your baby but also love yourself! The extra weight, stretch marks and squishy belly were all apart of bringing that little life into the world. Go easy on yourself, take the pressure off and enjoy your journey into parenthood.

If you have any questions about your postpartum journey reach out to a Mama Coach in your area or virtually. We’re more than happy to help!

You got this mama!

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