Exercise After Birth
After giving birth, you may wonder how to begin safely exercising to help your body return to its pre-pregnancy condition.
It is important that you continue to take good care of yourself and restarting a few simple exercises early on can increase your energy levels, promote a feeling of wellbeing and help to improve your fitness. However, start gently with a few safe exercises and only do what feels comfortable. Going out for a walk with your baby in the pram is a good way of getting exercise and fresh air for you both.
The effect of your ligaments becoming more supple and pliable in pregnancy means, for instance, that back problems can be made worse by excessive twisting. These effects continue for several weeks after birth and if you return to high impact or inappropriate exercise you can put your body at unnecessary risk of injury. It is a good idea to leave anything that creates ‘impact’ on your body until you are at least five months postnatal. Impact can be defined as taking both feet off the floor at the same time. Think about your everyday movements to avoid any unnecessary strain.
After your postnatal check-up, you can start swimming and low impact exercises.
It is advisable that the following activities are avoided for at least six weeks following delivery while softened structures are regaining their tone and, if applicable whilst the caesarean wound is healing:
- Heavy household chores
- Heavy lifting
- Following a caesarean section, it is advisable not to drive for six weeks. Contact your car insurance company before driving for the first time.
What do I need to take care with?
- Feeding posture, do not slouch and support your baby well
- Nappy changing i.e. prolonged
- Bathing baby and bending.
How do i get out of bed?
- Bend your knees up
- Keeping your knees together, roll onto your side
- Push up into a sitting position using your arms. At the same time, lift your legs over the side of the bed.
What if I have any problems?
If you have any persistent pain, loss of bladder or bowel control or difficulties with sexual intercourse you should contact your GP who may refer you to see a physiotherapist.
For more information on physical activity after childbirth download Physical activity for women after childbirth (birth to 12 months).pdf