If you've just had a baby, a big congratulations to you. Hopefully things are going well, and you're getting some sleep! Some mums start to think about exercise quickly after giving birth, while for others, it couldn't be further from their minds. I know for myself, I was just so glad to have my body back that I couldn't wait to start exercising, and feeling like myself again. But that's not for everyone, take your time and wait until you're ready.
Whenever you do start to think about working out again, please take in some of the safety guidelines. There are many, but with a little adaptation, you can get a good and sweaty, but safe workout soon.
Depending on how you feel and how you are recovering, you can start some gentle walking with the buggy within a week or so. I went for a 40 minute walk three days after my son was born, and I was wrecked! So, I learned my lesson! But about a week afterwards, I was ok to walk with the buggy, although not very briskly, but it was a start.
In terms of getting back to a “proper” workout, health professionals the world over recommend waiting until you are six weeks post partum for a normal delivery, or 10 weeks after a section. Again, this depends on how you feel, though. If you had any issues or complications during your pregnancy, they could still be present for a time, and so you should ease yourself back in.
The big issue most women face after having a baby is pelvic floor. Hopefully, you have been doing these exercises, also known as Kegels, during your pregnancy, but if not, start now! This will make a huge difference to any exercise routine.
There is a hormone called Relaxin, which literally relaxes your joints, ligaments and muscles to allow for a growing baby and childbirth. This hormone will still be present for up to 12 weeks afterwards, and longer if you are breastfeeding. This means it is easy to pull a muscle as they are more supple at this time. Take care when stretching after a workout (you don't actually need to do static stretches before a workout, just dynamic movements to warm up), only hold the stretch for 15 seconds, and to the point of tension, not pain.
The same goes for jumping exercises. Listen to your body and start off gently.
Swimming is a great exercise to do, both during pregnancy, and in the time afterwards. There will be no pressure on your joints, you don't need to use your core muscles a huge amount, and you can take your baby!
Speaking of core muscles, you should start off very slowly with abdominal exercises of any kind. If you had abdominal separation, (diastasis recti), please see a physio. You will need a specifc programme of exercises to knit your stomach muscles slowly back together. If you launch into ab curls or planks, you could do more damage.
If you had a section, you should wait until 10 weeks, or when your GP clears you for exercise. Do the easy versions of abdominal exercises – arms across your chest for an ab curl, feet on the floor at all times, plank on knees and elbows.
Just remember to take it easy, listen to your body, and talk to a professional if you want more advice. Baby Body Fit classes take new mums six weeks after a normal delivery, or 10 weeks after a section, and we always ease you back into fitness and exercise.