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Post-natal exercise: When will your body be ready?

Most mums know that losing baby weight is a matter of a healthy diet and exercise. However, you might be unsure as to when you can start exercising. According to experts, when you can resume exercise depends a lot on the birth itself. If you had a normal, vaginal birth, that’s usually within a few days of giving birth – as long as you start with gentle exercise at first. If you had a caesarean however, you will have to wait at least until your six week check up and possibly a little longer. If you’re feeling sore or unsure it’s always best to wait until after your check up either way.
 
Remember that pregnancy loosens your joints and ligaments and that you won’t be able to resume your pre-pregnancy workouts immediately. If you stopped exercising during pregnancy, or you’ve never exercised at all, then you’ll have to take it even slower when building up to a full work out. Give your body time to heal for the first few months after your child is born. In the long term, it’s better for you.
 
You will also want to avoid abdominal exercises for the first four to eight weeks after your child is born. That’s because pregnant women typically develop a gap in their abdominal muscles and if you try to work out before that’s closed, you risk injury.
 
Many women worry that exercise will affect their ability to breastfeed. The good news is that it doesn’t, so you don’t need to worry about reducing your milk supply or quality. However, since your breasts will be larger and heavier, as well as more tender than usual, you will need to use a supportive sports bra when you exercise to avoid breast pain.
 
If you do start exercising before your six week check up, and you notice that the colour of your lochia or discharge changes to pink or red, then you should certainly slow down or stop. Speak to your doctor or caregiver too, especially if you have pain, or if your lochia restarts after you thought it had stopped.
 
Gentle aerobic exercise like swimming or brisk walking may be okay in the first few months after birth, but don’t try to rush into vigorous exercise too soon. As much as you want to lose the weight, you need to remember that your health is more important, and you may injure yourself if you’re too hasty.

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