** Disclaimer: This post on a busy mum’s guide to regaining fitness after childbirth contains ads**
During pregnancy, it can feel like your body is not your own. There’s pain, moodiness, and weight gain. Seeing your baby after nine months makes it worth it. But, understandably, many mums want to start feeling more like themselves again after childbirth.
You may not be able to do the same exercises as before right away. But there are plenty of activities that every new mum can benefit from physically and mentally. So, the hope is that this article can help you start your fitness journey after childbirth.
What Post-partum Exercises Are Safe to Do?
These are some of the best exercises to do after childbirth. Kegel exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor to avoid incontinence. Additionally, the pelvic floor muscles tend to go through a lot of pressure and inflammation during pregnancy so it’s important to focus on recovery. Kegel exercises help support the bladder, rectum, uterus, and small intestine. The best thing about Kegel exercises is they can be done pretty much anywhere you like. To do this, contract your pelvic floor muscles as if you were stopping your urine mid-stream. Try holding each contraction for 10 seconds and then releasing for another 10. Repeat this daily.
Yoga is a great bodyweight exercise that aids mobility. Yoga is focused on breathing and pacing, so it targets your joints and muscles in a low-impact manner, unlike high intensity workouts. Many poses, like the happy baby, can even help relieve pelvic pain. One misconception with yoga is people think that they can’t get stronger. Wrong! There are more challenging poses you can work your way up to later on, such as the many warrior poses. And aside from helping you tone up, yoga can also help in managing your stress as a new mum.
Did you know that a brisk walking can produce the same results as jogging? A study by Harvard Medical School states that walking regularly can lower the chances of cardiovascular diseases by 31%. Walking also helps boost endorphins that fight post-partum depression, which is a very common experience among new mothers. Ease your way into a daily walk with a gentler pace and shorter periods before progressing into a faster pace and longer walks.
What Do You Need Before You Go?
Supportive Bras and Postpartum Bands
Your body has just gone through one of the most demanding human experiences possible. So, you’ll need some extra support to ease discomfort—especially if you’re planning to start exercising. For starters, if you’re breastfeeding, the chances are you’ll appreciate nursing-friendly sports bras. Because you’re likely to leak fluids, opt for absorbent yoga pants that wick away any discharge. Your belly may feel sensitive, so look to use some postpartum bands to minimise any pain and swelling.
Baby Sling or Carrier
Some exercises can be beneficial for you and baby. Hiking, for instance, will allow your baby to get some much-needed Vitamin D, fresh air, and stimulation. You might need a comfortable carrier or sling for this specific purpose. Healthline’s feature on slings mentions the importance of carriers that aren’t too loose or too restrictive. In addition, using a sling for strolls encourages skin-to-skin bonding, which experts say helps regulate hormones and initiates an emotional connection.
Prams or Strollers
Meanwhile, for longer walks, consider using a pram that can be convenient for you and comfortable for your little one. The pushchairs featured by iCandy are compact and easy to manoeuvre. They can also be adjusted to be front or parent-facing so you can switch it as your child gets older. The pushchairs’ wheels also make them perfect for the countryside.
If you’re planning to workout indoors, invest in a yoga mat and perhaps an exercise ball. For a few minutes a day, you can bounce on it with your baby. This movement can help your baby sleep, while also strengthening your core. If your child can already support their neck, sitting them on your lap can help strengthen their back.
Finally, Be Patient with Yourself
It’s important to take things slow. Before starting any fitness routine, it’s vital that you talk to your GP. During pregnancy the abdominal walls develop a gap called diastasis recti, according to BabyCentre. Generally, women who have regular deliveries can exercise after six weeks, while complicated births or caesareans need up to 12 weeks. Any excessive pain or pronounced bleeding may mean you have to take it slower than others. It’s common for pregnant women to develop anaemia or high blood pressure, so have your GP check your blood pressure first.
It’s important that you avoid shortcuts when you return to working out on a regular basis. Our article on ‘Tips to Maintain Your Figure According to Age’ points out that women who have gone through pregnancy have more visible hormonal changes, and should not resort to fad diets and unsustainable habits. So take your time and, with consistent effort, trust in yourself to regain your fitness.
Hope this article on a busy mum’s guide to regaining fitness levels after childbirth was a good one. Do you agree with all of the recommended accessories and exercises? Please use the comments section below to tell us more.
Thanks for reading, stay safe and see you in the next post.