The first few weeks after giving birth are a whirlwind, and it is nearly impossible to fathom any sense of routine. Whether this is your first or fifth pregnancy, a new infant and a postpartum body can be a shock to the system. If you would like to start moving again after giving birth, check out our suggestions for easing yourself back into exercise.
Speak to your doctor
Numerous factors need to be considered before you contemplate lacing up your running shoes after giving birth. The first step is to talk with your doctor, as they will be best to offer advice about when to start exercising again and what type of exercises to concentrate on or avoid altogether. Some considerations that they will likely look at include:
- How you gave birth – whether via Cesarean section or natural birth
- Whether you had stitches, an episiotomy, or any birthing complications
- If you are experiencing any abdominal or vaginal pain
- If you still have any bleeding or lochia
- If you are experiencing incontinence
- Your age
- Your blood pressure
- Your weight
- Your previous and current level of fitness
A woman’s body is different after giving birth. Remember that it took nine months to create your child, and ideally, it will take about the same length of time to get back to where you were. Start slowly, and accept that it can take time to become familiar with your body again.
When to start
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that new mothers start by walking and doing Kegel exercises within the day of giving birth. It is critical to listen to your body and not push yourself to exhaustion or physical pain. Avoid abdominal exercises until your doctor gives you the go-ahead. In the beginning, you will likely feel most comfortable working out at home in short bursts. Check out the videos on Pregnancy and Postpartum TV for a selection of safe postpartum workout routines.
Exercise activities after having a baby
Incorporating exercise into your day after having a baby is excellent for your confidence, mood, and physical well-being. Although it is best to avoid high-intensity workouts, heavy lifting and contact sports for at least three months after giving birth, there are numerous other activities to enjoy sooner, including:
- Aquatic aerobics
- Cycling outdoors or on a stationary bike
- Walking or jogging
If you want your baby joining or need a babysitter, consider teaming up with another new mother and offering to swap childminding while the other works out. Conversely, invest in a running stroller with a fan to keep baby cool and explore together.
After becoming a parent, exercise routines might need to be pivoted towards your child’s nap time and eating habits; however, it is integral to set time aside for yourself and the activities that you enjoy. If you are ready to start being physically active again, consider joining a class specifically for postpartum mothers where you might also expand your social circle.