As a new mom, most of your time is probably spent catering to the needs of your newborn baby. While it may seem impossible, it’s crucial to find the time to care for yourself as well. Exercise is a great form of self-care and an effective way to reduce the stress that inevitably comes with a new baby. However, it’s important to approach exercise safely and realistically after giving birth. In this article, we’ll cover a few tips to help you gently ease back into an exercise routine postpartum.
1. Heed Your Doctor’s Advice
Before you start exercising again after giving birth, it’s imperative you clear it with your OB/GYN first. Whether you’re healing from a C-section or natural birth, it’s a good idea to postpone any form of exercise until after your post-op appointment. Wait until your doctor confirms that your skin has had enough time to heal before attempting to exercise. The last thing you want to do is jeopardize your body’s recovery. To exercise safely, it’s important to listen to your doctor’s advice.
2. Focus On Sleep First
Sleep is a rare commodity as a new parent. If you’re seriously sleep-deprived, consider getting some sleep first before any attempts to exercise. You likely won’t have the energy to put in a good workout anyways on little to no sleep. Moreover, exercising when your body needs sleep might only add to your exhaustion as a new mom. Instead of insisting on completing a workout with little sleep, replenish your energy first to reap the full benefits of exercise.
3. Listen To Your Body
In the same way that you should listen to your body when it needs sleep, listen to your body while exercising. Your body has undergone a tremendous change. It created and gave life to an entire human being in the span of a few months. It deserves your respect and kindness. Pay attention to signs that your body is not ready for certain exercises. If your bleeding worsens after a workout, it’s best to give your body more time to heal.
4. Start Slow
Taking it slow and easy at first is key to a safe postpartum workout. It’s completely unreasonable to expect your body to be able to complete your regular, pre-pregnancy workouts. Recognize that your body is still healing, and adjust your workouts accordingly.
5. Choose Low Impact Exercises
It’s a good idea to start with a walk at a leisurely pace and gradually build up to more strenuous activities. New moms should begin with low impact exercises and build up to more intense workouts. Pushing yourself too early, too fast might slow down and interfere with your healing process.
6. Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
One of the best exercises for postpartum women are kegels. Chances are, your pelvic floor is still recovering from giving birth. A simple Kegel routine restrengthens your pelvic floor muscles. This could reduce the chances of pelvic organ prolapse and urine leaks.
7. Ease Off Intense Ab Routines
While it may be tempting to focus your exercises on the loose skin and abdominal muscles caused by pregnancy, it’s better to avoid abdominal exercises entirely for the first few months. These muscles have experienced a lot of changes throughout the pregnancy process and thus, need time to heal. Intense pressure on your abs might apply too much pressure on your pelvic floor which can slow down healing and result in pelvic organ prolapse.
8. Workout With Friends
Exercising is tough postpartum. You might get the urge to simply give up, and not exercise at all. Working out with a friend or your partner is a great way to keep yourself accountable. Moreover, socializing with other humans whose communication skills are not limited to crying is essential to your sanity as a new mom. You can workout with a fitness buddy, as there are many health benefits of having a fitness partner.
9. Be Kind To Yourself
New moms experience more pressure than ever to return to their pre-baby body. These expectations are ridiculous, and should be ignored. Exercising postpartum needs to be about your health, both physical and mental, rather than appearances. It’s of the utmost importance to be kind to your body after giving birth. Your body deserves your love not your judgement.
When exercising postpartum, safety should be your first and foremost priority. The goal is to exercise in a way that makes your body feel good, not to exhaust or shame it.
Eileen Harrison is a lifestyle editor and writer for various website and blog with a passion for fitness. You can find more of her articles on health and self-care tips at Homework Writing Service.