Postnatal Exercises & Regaining Fitness

Postnatal Exercises & Regaining Fitness

Postnatal Exercises & Regaining Fitness

There are many changes taking place in the mothers body in the first week following and after giving birth, and it is not necessary to do intensive postnatal exercises during this week.

First week:

  • Pelvic floor muscles exercises should be done many times a day from the start. A good routine is to do 10 pelvic floor lift exercises every time the baby is feeding. (Imagine that you are trying stop a stream of urine after it has started).
  • Simple abdominal muscle exercises can be started, just feeling of tightening the muscles to hold the abdomen is enough.

Two to six weeks:

Mothers vary in how they regain their physical tone after childbirth. For some it seems to take no effort, and they are back wearing tight jeans within a few weeks, while for others it takes much longer, especially if there has been significant weight gain during the pregnancy. Some mothers lose weight rapidly while breastfeeding, others do to lose any until they have stopped feeding and then only after a focused effort. It is a mistake to diet following childbirth, especially if trying to get a breastfeeding pattern established, because the body has enough to cope without being deprived of nutrition at this time and dieting may cause the milk supply to suffer.

Most hospitals give new mothers an exercise sheet to help them in the first few weeks. The following exercises are most important.

  • Pelvic floor muscles should be continued many times per day, a guide of 10 pelvic floor exercises every hour. If you can stop your urine flow mid-stream then you are doing well.
  • Gradually build up abdominal muscle exercises. Lift your bottom slightly off the floor and flatten the arch in your back (pelvic tilt).
  • Tuck your chin onto your chest and slowly keeping feet flat onto floor; lift your head and shoulders slightly off the floor, using your arms for counter balance. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Lower yourself back to floor.
  • In the same position slowly slide your hands either side of body. This is good for improving the tome of the abdominal muscles that pull in your waistline.

After 6 weeks:

There should be a gradual return to normal activities. It is a good idea to try to undertake some regular exercise. There are an increasing number of sport facilities’ that provide a crèche, or that rum specific postnatal exercise classes. Whatever your chosen form of exercise, it is much easier to make it a regular part of your lifestyle and is something that you do for yourself and enjoy.

Pelvic tilting

This is a great way to develop pelvic floor muscles. Sitting on a chair or large ball, sit as tall as you can, emphasising the low back curve. Then allow your body to roll forward (a slouch type position) and sit up tall again. Throughout this exercise try to keep shoulders from rounding too much.