Exercise may be the last thing on your mind after you’ve given birth. But we’re all versed in fitness’ wondrous ability to help us fight the blues, ease weight gain, deliver energy, improve posture, sleep better – and most importantly, help us cope with the physical demands of motherhood.
The sooner you’re able to wrap your head around building fitness, the better you’ll feel. The how depends on how you’ve delivered.
After a vaginal delivery
Start doing pelvic floor and abdominal exercises as soon as you’re ready. Hopefully you started both of these when pregnant, but if not: pelvic floor exercises involve tightening your anal, vaginal and urethral muscles simultaneously – then relaxing; and abdominal exercises can include lifting your back from a straight to a raised position from a starting position of all fours (hands and knees to the ground).
If you’re keen to get into more intense exercise, wait six weeks to allow your pelvic floor muscles and pelvic joints to gather strength.
After a caesarean
Steady on – you need to wait six weeks to do any form of exercise. After which time, as long as your body is recovering well from the operation, you can get started on the above. Walking is always a great way to build fitness momentum, and you can use your pram for gentle resistance training.
Try exercising straight after a feed – when your breasts as less full, they’re less likely to cause you further discomfort triggered by movement.
Six weeks is the magic figure: it can take that long for joint stability to be reestablished after you’ve had a baby.