The physical stress, pain, and exhaustion involved in the child birthing process compel many new moms to exercise on the back burner. We understand. You’re tired and sore! But there’s also another thought at the back of your mind. You have to shed all pregnancy weight as soon as you can.
Getting rid of pregnancy weight is not impossible but also not very easy. The main reason is you cannot jump aboard any exercise routine or a program like you used to earlier. Your body is still recovering, and hence you have to go slow. This article helps you get started with your postpartum exercise. Exercise after pregnancy and delivery proves to be one of the most beneficial health decisions. Exercise not only helps the body return to its pre-pregnancy state faster but also keeps you active and in good health.
The Benefits of Exercise
Exercise has various benefits. It helps shed the pounds packed on during pregnancy. It improves cardiovascular health and fitness. It conditions and strengthens the different muscle groups affected because of childbearing. An active lifestyle post-delivery is useful to deal with mood swings, stress, depression, and energy slumps in the postpartum period.
When is the right time to start?
Pregnancy and childbirth alter your life drastically. Women who have had a vaginal delivery should wait at least 4 weeks, while those who have had a C-section delivery should wait a minimum of 10 weeks before they start exercising. The body is still in recovery mode, and exerting it beyond its capacity can cause complications. Before you start, get a green signal from your gynecologist.
Tips to get started
- Chalk out a schedule to match your baby’s. Follow it.
- Weight loss is not the only exercise goal. You should also target energy building, good posture, endurance, and strength.
- Whatever exercise you choose to start gradually both in terms of pace and duration. You can increase gradually.
- During pregnancy, the body releases a hormone called Relaxin. It loosens joints and muscles and helps it stretch to accommodate the growing baby. Therefore, start with low-intensity exercises. Avoid weight lifting and intense cardio exercises. Yoga is a good option. Also, be cautious when performing the exercise. (Read out : the benefits and techniques of parental yoga) The loosened joints and ligaments make you more susceptible to serious injury, even in case of minor accidents.
- Perform warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after every exercise routine.
- Keep the body hydrated by drinking a lot of water.
- Wear appropriate exercise clothing. The breasts feel heavier and also tend to get sore due to breastfeeding. Wear cotton, wide strapped well-fitting nursing bra for better support when breastfeeding.
- A common concern with exercise is its impact on breastfeeding. Research states exercise, especially high-intensity exercise, results in the accumulation of lactic acid in breast milk. This alters the flavor of breast milk, giving it a sour taste. Drinking plenty of water will solve the problem. Also, you could think of nursing your baby before you exercise.
- If you feel exhausted or experience pain, stop exercising. You may be doing the exercise wrong, or you’re overdoing it.
- Join an exercise class run by an instructor trained and certified in postpartum exercises.
5 Exercises for New Moms
Hence, we have rounded up 5 activities for new moms. They exercise the body without being too strenuous or demanding.
This is the best activity to start with post-delivery. Walking is even recommended for women who have had a C-section delivery. It could be a leisurely walk or a brisk walk. You can walk and push your baby around in the pram simultaneously. However, ensure that the handles are adjusted to an optimum height to not have to bend when walking. You can also walk zigzag or backward. Walking practices the leg muscles, improves blood circulation, and prevents blood clots.
If you look up the best pregnancy tips on exercise, you will realize that the Kegel exercises are recommended during the nine months of gestation and after childbirth. Kegels strengthen the pelvic muscles and allows the injured perineum to heal faster. They help tighten your vagina and give you better control over your balder muscles. Thus, they can be useful in treating postpartum incontinence issues.
How to do it? The first time try when urinating. Contract the muscles to stop and hold the stream of urine. Hold in this position for 10 seconds and release. After that, do when you’re not urinating.
The Pelvic Tilt
The Pelvic Tilt exercise strengthens the muscles in the abdomen and the lower back. It also helps to relieve lingering lower back pain. Lie flat on your back. Your back should be straight and relaxed. The knees are bent, and the feet flat on the ground. Tighten the abdominal muscles and gently raise the pelvis. Your body in the raised position should be in a straight line – the knees, hips, and shoulders should be aligned. Hold for 10 seconds and then lower the hips gently. Repeat 10 to 20 times before you can stop.
Kneeling Abdominal Curl
Another exercise carried forward from pregnancy is the abdominal curl. Get down on your foes. The arms should be straight, and the toes should touch the ground. Also, ensure that the back is straight and not arched or curved. Inhale and pull your buttocks and stomach in titling your pelvis. Hold for a count of 5 and release. You can also use a chair to support your arms.
Not many know the power of breathing. Deep breathing exercises will help to tone abdominal muscles and also relax them. The other benefit you can start the practice a few hours after the birth itself. Sit up straight. Take a deep breath. Contract the muscles while you inhale and release as you exhale. Each subsequent time try holding your breath for longer.
The five exercises we mentioned are the commonly recommended ones for new mothers. Others you could do are head and shoulder lifts, cycling, light jogging, leg slides, and then curl up.
If you are unaware of how the exercises are done, seek help from a professional in the initial stages. Once you learn them, you can perform them on your own.
Don’t push yourself. Start exercising whenever you feel up to it.
You should stop exercising and consult your doctor immediately if after or during exercise, Vaginal bleeding gets heavier and is of bright red color, and if you experience headaches.