Exercising after having a baby
When you’re feeling emotional and tired, being active may seem like the last thing you need.
But regular activity can relax you, keep you fit and help you feel more energetic.
It can also help your body recover after childbirth and may help prevent postnatal depression.
When can I start exercising after birth?
It’s usually a good idea to wait until after your six-week postnatal check you’re your OBGYN before you start any high-impact exercise, such as aerobics or running.
If you exercised regularly before giving birth and you feel fit and well, you may be able to start earlier.
If you had a caesarean, your recovery time will be longer, so talk to your midwife or OBGYN first and have your stomach muscles checked before you begin.
What should I be aware of before exercising?
Your lower back and core abdominal muscles may be weaker than they used to be.
Your ligaments and joints are also suppler in the months after birth, so it’s easier to injure yourself by stretching or twisting too much.
Don’t rely on your pre-pregnancy sports bra. Your back and cup size are likely to have changed, so get measured for a new one.
How do I know if I’m overdoing exercise after having a baby?
Listen to your body. Pace yourself and make sure you get plenty of rest, too.
Exercise ideas for new mums
- Join a postnatal exercise class. Lots of postnatal classes let you do the exercise class with your baby at your side. Some include your baby and their pram or buggy as part of the workout. If you’re going to a class that isn’t a special postnatal class, make sure you tell the instructor that you’ve recently had a baby.
- Push the pram or buggy briskly, remembering to keep your arms bent and your back straight. Make sure the handles are at the right height for you – your elbows should be bent at right angles. Walking is great exercise, so try to get out as much as you can.
- Play energetic games with older children. You can exercise by running about with them.
- Build activity into your day. Use the stairs instead of the lift or, for short journeys, walk instead of taking the car.
- Bend down to pick things up, rather than bend over. Picking things up off the floor is something you’re likely to be doing a lot. If you bend down (bent knees and straight back) instead of bending over (straight knees and a bent spine), you’ll strengthen your thigh muscles and avoid damaging your back. Hold heavy objects close to your body.
- Try swimming. Swimming is good exercise and it’s relaxing, too, but you’ll need to wait until seven days after your postnatal lochia (bleeding) has stopped. If you take your baby with you, try to have someone else there with you so you get a chance to swim.
Even 30 mins a day can help you! It’s not too late to start.