You may be keen to start exercising quite soon after you’ve had your baby, one, to help shed the baby weight and two, to regain some of your ‘normal self’ as quickly as possible!
However it’s really important not to rush back into fitness, as you could prolong the healing process and do yourself more harm than good.
The body goes through some pretty big changes during pregnancy and it does take a while to get back to a physical condition strong enough to workout again. If you worked out before you were pregnant and even during pregnancy, you may be surprised at the lack of strength you now have, but don’t worry, it will come back, just give it time.
Some of the main things to consider first of all are:
- Did you have a normal pregnancy without any complications?
- Did you have a natural birth or a Caesarean?
- Are you breastfeeding?
- Have you suffered from any joint, ligament or muscle discomfort/pain during or after pregnancy?
For most women the general rule of thumb is that it’s fine to start exercising after around 6 weeks, longer for C section mums. However, this is just a general guideline and you really must get yourself properly checked out by a medical professional to get the all clear. He/she should physically examine you to see if your tummy muscles have joined back together again.
If your tummy muscles are still separated (a gap more than two fingers width apart) then you shouldn’t be doing any curl up action or planks. You should also be careful not to heavy load (using heavy weights fro example) as this can add too much pressure on the pelvic floor area.
And don’t forget, your body still has the pregnancy hormone relaxin present for a good few weeks after pregnancy (a lot longer if you're breastfeeding) therefore your muscles, joints and ligaments are still ‘soft’ and not as supportive to the skeletal frame as normal, meaning that you are more prone to injury. With this in mind, you must pay particularly good attention to good alignment and technique and stick to low impact exercise only to start with for a good few weeks.
This all being said, exercising and getting back into shape is both mentally and physically beneficial for new mums, so don't be put off by all the ‘warnings’, just be mindful and listen to your body.
iCandy Fitness Expert - Korin Nolan