Exercise after Childbirth - How soon?

Joanne and her new bub, Judah

There are many benefits to exercising after childbirth, including having more energy and dealing with postnatal depression. But if you don’t exercise right, you might suffer long term bladder, bowel and pelvic floor problems.

Recovery from pregnancy is different for each woman so here are some guidelines for getting back in shape after childbirth:

You can work your pelvic floor from day 1

As soon as you have your baby, you can start working on your pelvic floor. Long holds and quick flicks get your muscles back into shape as they’ve weakened and stretched during childbirth. Strengthening the pelvic floor will help avoid incontinence, prolapse and back pain.

Consult your doctor or midwife before starting any post natal exercise

During the first 6 weeks after delivery, the body is adjusting back to its pre-pregnancy state. Wait until your 6 week check up and discuss going back to exercise with your healthcare professional. Some women may need more time to heal.

Begin with low weight, low intensity exercise

Easing back into exercise is the best way to help the body recover as ligaments and joints are still loose for at least 3 months after birth. Low impact exercises, light weight training, walking and Pilates are some great options for new mums.

Gentle core stability exercises are best

With your newborn you will be lifting, twisting and moving so core strength is vital to help with back pain and pelvic discomfort. Crunches and sit ups are best avoided, especially if you’ve had a caesarean. Pilates has a strong core focus with each exercise. Attending a class under guidance will keep you safe and get your tummy back sooner.

Keep hydrated and eat well

As with any exercise regime, drinking adequate water and eating well is essential to avoid dehydration and poor performance, especially if breast feeding. Ensure eating a range of fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy or high calcium foods and complex carbohydrates for you and your baby’s wellbeing.

Listen to your body

Your body communicates with you by giving you signs. It’s important to take note of how you are feeling. Any warning signs of pain and discomfort during exercise may mean you are exercising too hard and you need to slow down. Of course if pain doesn’t go away, see your doctor.

Isabella Van Zuylen is a qualified Personal Trainer and is trained in Pregnancy and Post Natal Exercise. For help with returning to exercise after childbirth, chat to Isabella today on 0433 111 807 or register your interest here ====> This month's special offer

Pictured: Joanne is 8 weeks post pregnancy and has just returned to bootcamp bringing baby Judah along with her in his pram while mummy gets some 'me' time.