Postpartum Exercise: Safely Getting Back in Shape after Pregnancy

Greetings, new mother! Although welcoming a child into the world is beautiful, your body may also undergo substantial changes. It’s crucial to put your physical health first and gradually return to your pre-pregnancy fitness level while you enjoy the pleasures of parenting.

Exercise after giving birth is a fantastic method to regain strength, increase vitality, and enhance well-being in general. This blog will examine the value of postpartum exercise, safe practices, and practical advice for regaining fitness after pregnancy.

The Importance of Postpartum Exercise

After your body has been through the miracle of giving birth, it definitely needs time to heal and repair. Exercise can be crucial in improving physical and mental health after delivery. Here are some benefits of exercising after delivery.

Regaining muscular strength: Pregnancy and delivery put your body through a lot, weakening your muscles, especially the pelvic floor and core muscles. Regularly exercising lowers the risk of back problems by strengthening and training these muscles. 

Increasing energy: Motherhood is filled with sleepless nights, especially during the early stages. You will have episodes of low energy, and even moderate exercise can help you increase blood flow and endorphins and boost your overall energy levels, 

Managing postpartum depression: It is essential to acknowledge that your mind also goes through a lot, and you must prioritize your mental health too. Endorphins are released when you exercise, and they can elevate your mood by reducing anxiety and making you feel good overall.

Safe Guidelines for Postpartum Exercise

While exercising is a great habit, it might not be a great idea to jump right into it after delivery. Here are some things you should consider beforehand. 

Consult your healthcare provider: Getting a go signal from your doctor before starting a postpartum fitness program is very important. Your doctor can assess you best based on your pregnancy journey and overall health. It would be best to listen to your doctor’s advice and carefully select a safe workout plan and diet. 

Start gradually: Your body needs some well-deserved rest, so take some mild exercises only, like walking and pelvic floor stretches. Also, do not work out for extended periods; instead, start with shorter and easy, low-intensity workouts. Be patient with your body, and gradually, once you start feeling better, you can increase the time and intensity of your activities.

Pay attention to your pelvic floor: Your pelvic floor is weakest after delivery, so you must be gentle with it. Doing high-intensity exercises can put further pressure on your pelvic floor, so before you move on to such workouts, you should practice special exercises, like Kegels, to strengthen and recover your pelvic floor muscles.

Engage in core exercises: Just like your pelvic floor muscles, your core muscles have also been tense, so start with gentle exercises on your core. Choose mild exercises for the core, along with pelvic tilts and gentle plank variants. Rebuilding your core strength is essential for posture stability but avoid exercises like crunches within the first weeks after delivery. 

Stay hydrated and nourished: Water and healthy foods are your best friends. It is essential to drink enough water and eat healthy so you can maintain your energy levels and stay on top of your mother’s duties. For breastfeeding mothers, eating right and drinking enough is crucial for milk production. 

Source: Breathing Space Yoga

Types of Postpartum Exercises That Are Safe

Here are some safe and mild exercises to help you get back on your feet and speed up your recovery after giving birth.

Walking After Pregnancy

Walking is a simple, low-impact exercise that can easily adjust into your routine. Start slow and short, gradually increasing speed and time. You can even take out your baby in a stroller and go outside for a walk, improving your health and bonding with the baby. 

Pelvic Floor Exercises

As we discussed earlier, you should pay attention to your pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises will help you strengthen your pelvic muscles and avoid urine incontinence. Take help from a professional, as Kegels should be done in a proper posture to encourage quick recovery.

Deep Belly Breathing

Deep belly breathing is an excellent technique to relax your belly muscles and engage core muscles. It’s a simple technique:

  1. Put one hand on your belly, the other on your chest, and lay on your back.
  2. Inhale deeply with your nose and allow your tummy to rise and descend as you slowly exhale through your mouth.
  3. Engage your diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles while you focus on taking deep, complete breaths.

Gentle Yoga or Stretching

Mental health is just as important as physical health; stretching and yoga ease your muscle tension, relaxes body and mind, and enhances mobility and flexibility. Don’t over-stretch your body beyond the limit as you may strain joints and muscles, keeping easy and moderate movements. You can learn yoga from online training programs, especially for new mothers.

Postpartum Strength Training with Light Weights

Your general strength can increase, and your muscle tone can be rebuilt by including strength training in your program. Focus on exercises that work for the main muscle groups, beginning with modest weights or resistance bands. Some examples of secure strength-training routines include squats, lunges, bicep curls, and shoulder presses. Keep good form and pay attention to your body’s limitations.

Swimming is a Terrific Postpartum Exercise

Swimming is low impact, yet whole-body exercise is light in joints and good for cardiovascular health. Before swimming, consult your doctor about your operational stitches, scars, and further precautions. Ensure C-section scars have fully healed, or contact with water might cause infection.

Postpartum Exercise Classes

You should participate in fitness programs specially created for new mothers. You can meet new people, make friends and share your fitness progress. Such programs include aerobic, strength training, and pelvic floor and core exercises to help you achieve your goals.

Top Tips for Getting Back in Shape after Pregnancy

After talking about the necessity of postpartum exercise and safety precautions, let’s examine some advice for successfully getting back in shape:

  • Find a supportive community: Get in touch with new mothers who share your journey. Be a part of some postpartum fitness programs or groups where you can talk about your struggle and success and show encouragement and motivation for others.
  • Incorporate exercise into your daily routine: Taking time out for training might be challenging. Try to add exercise to your routine during your baby’s nap or take small strolls, light stretching, and on-spot movements while holding the baby. You can Include physical activities which involve your baby.
  • Embrace home workout: if you can’t join gym or fitness classes, you can do home workouts specially designed for postpartum women. You can select according to your suitability and requirement from a wide variety. And exercise on time is convenient for you.
  • Prioritize self-care: self-care should be your 1st priority. Focusing on healthy eating, proper sleep, rest, personal hygiene, and exercise would be best. Only a healthy mind and body can perform efficiently. You need to be well-energized for daily chores and care for your baby.

Concluding Views on Postpartum Exercise

Moving your body and exercising is an excellent method to get back into shape. It not only improves your physical health but even your mental health.

Incorporate exercise into your daily routine, starting with short, low, impact safe workouts. Give yourself time to adjust, be kind to your body, and don’t rush things. Cherish small accomplishments. Don’t give up if results don’t show up quickly; every postpartum journey is different. 

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