Disclosure: This article is merely for informative purposes and doesn’t provide any medical advice. Consult with your doctor before you make any postnatal decisions.
Exercise is an important aspect of any woman’s health, and it’s normal that after giving birth, you’re almost desperate to return to your pre-pregnancy routine involving at least one hour of training at the gym.
A study showed that women who exercise during the postpartum period are more likely to return to their body weight before pregnancy and avoid gaining pregnancy-associated weight. So, if your overall health is looking good, you may be able to start training sooner than expected. That’s why we’ve developed a short guide to postnatal functional fitness benefits and exercises. But first, let’s start with some insights.
In general, if you’ve been healthy during your entire pregnancy process, you should be able to start to train whenever you feel better. Normally, your body feels weird and you don’t recognize it, so take as long as you need.
On the contrary, if you had any complications, or even had a cesarean delivery, your doctor is the one who determines when you can start training again.
Even when you have clearance to train, there are still some exercises to avoid. These are related to lifting weight — such as deadlift or calisthenics — or exercises that put a lot of pressure on your abdominal section, such as abdominals or running.
These kinds of workouts are the ones that have the most impact on your body, which is why doctors recommend staying out of them until you’re fully recovered.
A life of fitness has countless benefits, from improving your mood to strengthening your body. However, during a postpartum period, there are some specific reasons why working out is beneficial for you:
Of course, if you train well and eat healthily, you’ll be able to end up in an even better shape than your prepartum self. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though. Treat yourself with nutritious yet tasty recipes such as this delicious Mediterranean baked cod. Make sure to drink a lot of water, and prepare a cup of flavorful bay leaf tea after the training to feel better.
Here are five functional exercises you can do to improve your overall state if your doctor’s given you clearance to train. But make sure to take it easy until you go full fitness mode. The best thing to do is start training 20 to 30 minutes a day. If you’re not feeling comfortable with this, lower your training sessions to 10 or 15 minutes, and then start scaling up.
You can also increase intensity and weight as your body strengthens. You can also use the intensity calculator tool to determine how much you should add according to your doctor’s indications. This will be useful because it provides a single number that represents volume and intensity.
Pelvic Floor Workouts: These are exercises where you contract your pelvic floor muscles. Healthy women can do these kinds of exercises starting from week one or two after their delivery if they don’t have any complications. It’s a great option to help you reduce urinary and anal incontinence that could be an effect of giving birth.
Small Runs or Long Walks: Walking is the first thing you should do after delivery. This will help your body start recovering its previous chemical and physical state as well as lower the risk of blood clots. On the other hand, in the case of running, you should wait until week 12 and try it only for 20 minutes maximum.
Pilates or Yoga: Doing yoga or pilates will help you strengthen your body, but it’s recommended you do it after six weeks of giving birth. It gives you core stability and better breath control. Even though these exercises can help you relax, they put pressure on sensitive parts of your body.
Breathing Control: You can start with these exercises a couple of days after delivery. They will help you release the accumulated stress from your body and will start to help with core stability.
Swiss Ball Holds: If your back aches or you have posture problems in your postpartum, Swiss ball holds could be great for you. It can also be helpful in calming a baby.
Overall, delivering a baby is tougher than many people will admit. You’ll gain weight, you’ll lose incentives, your hormone count will change and you’ll probably end up depressed because you lost your pre-pregnancy body and attitude you had before.
But it’s not all bad news. After pregnancy, you can recover your body shape, hobbies and everything you thought was lost during that difficult stage. It doesn’t mean you’ll be able to lift 100 pounds or go into the “go hard or go home” mode, but you’ll be able to find some new rhythms that work best for you!
So, live your new mommy life, experiment with this new chapter of your life, and take back the toned body you had with the list of exercises that we left you above – make sure to consult with your doctor before you do any sort of training.
About the Author
Rachel Melegrito left her career as a university instructor to become a full-fledged content writer. She is also a licensed occupational therapist and a budding SEO strategist.