After the baby is born, you’re not only physically exhausted, but emotionally and mentally spent as well. With the sleepless nights well underway and the constant tending to your newborn, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. However, it’s still important to tend to your needs as well as your baby’s to remain healthy and feeling your best. Postpartum exercising is one of the best things you can do to take care of yourself.
It’s important, however, to remember that you won’t be able to do the same intensity of workouts as before pregnancy. Similar to how you altered your exercise routine during pregnancy, some adjustment – as well as patience – is needed for your body post-pregnancy. Here are some tips for safely starting exercising once again after baby comes.
1. Be Patient With Yourself In Postpartum Exercise
You are not the same after giving birth – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Your body has gone through a drastic change in a short amount of time – the time of labor. This means you need time to recover. Once given the OK by your doctor to start exercising again, you still need to recognize that you are not the same person as before the baby and even before the pregnancy. It’s important to remember that you won’t be able to push yourself hard in the beginning and that this is just for a limited amount of time. Give yourself time to recover properly, or you may be setting yourself even further back in your fitness goals.
2. Go For A Walk
Even before getting the OK from your doctor to begin your exercise routine back up again, this doesn’t mean you can’t do any physical activity. Going for a walk is good for you not only because it gets you out and about, but it gives you much need “you” time. A daily walk in the fresh air is the best way to calm any emotional and mental stress that a new baby can bring on. However, sometimes heading to a gym among other adults – even finding other women in the postpartum phase – can be a good time recover mentally.
3. Focus On Your Pelvic Floor
You probably heard this too many times to count while you were pregnant. However, focusing on your pelvic floor postpartum is more important than ever. Many women suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction after giving birth. This is completely normal and even expected. In most cases, physical therapy and the right exercises can help in the recovery of the condition. Seeking out a physical therapist trained in PFD is the best way to recover. A physical therapist will be able to recommend the best-targeted exercises for your individual particular case. However, you can also start yourself with some simple home exercises such as pelvic tilts and Kegels – two exercises you’re probably familiar with from your prenatal days.
4. Ease Into High Impact Exercises
You should be easing into every exercise at this point. However, higher impact exercises and high-intensity workouts you should be especially careful with during your postpartum recovery. You’re probably familiar with the Relaxin hormone that caused you to have soft and wobbly joints and ligaments during pregnancy. That hormone can remain in you up to six months postpartum. This hormone can cause muscle and joint instability, which can lead to injury if you’re not careful with the type of exercising. To avoid injury, a physical therapist trained in postpartum recovery can put you on an exercise program that gives you a workout, but takes into account this hormone so that you can stay injury-free.