If you were an avid gym goer before giving birth, and you’re keen to get back to it, it’s not that clear-cut. When it comes to getting back to the gym, you need to think about the amount of stress you put have on your body in the act of giving birth, as well as breastfeeding, lack of sleep, and so forth. So, when it comes to exercising once the doctor’s given you the okay, what do you need to consider?
Low Impact Exercises first
If you were trying to exercise while you were pregnant, the general advice was to do low impact exercise like yoga and swimming. It’s vital that you don’t go for high impact exercises right away, because after giving birth, your body is full of hormones that could potentially loosen your ligaments. This means you’ll have to avoid plyometrics, running, and heavy weights. Of course, exercises like kegels will give you the strength to perform exercises that place a bit more pressure on your core and your pelvic floor muscles. And this is the first port of call. Sites like MaterMothers.org have some more information on kegel exercises, but in developing your pelvic floor, this will help you to do more core strengthening exercises like planks further down the line.
Take It Easy
Because of the natural stress of childbirth, and this, in conjunction with carrying a baby around, your wrists are overworked. So if you plan on heading back to the gym after the doctor has given you the go ahead, avoid stressing your wrists so much. For an exercise like planks, use your forearms. And for tricep dips, push ups, or anything with a dumbbell, you need to modify these, such as by using cables instead of weights.
Build Up Gradually
You might think that it won’t take long to get back to your pre-pregnancy fitness level. But, no matter how eager you are, it can take a long time to build your strength up. There are websites that can help with post baby fitness, MomsIntoFitness.com is one such site that has exercises specifically geared towards mothers, either pre or post birth. And remember, because the hormones surging through your body relax your ligaments, this means your joints are unstable. It can take a while for your body to reset its natural hormone balance, which is why it’s important for you not to push it right away. Instead, get the lowdown from mothers who have been there and done that. Unfortunately, if you push yourself too hard so soon after birth, you could suffer stress fractures. High intensity training needs to be left until you are finished breastfeeding.
You don’t need to avoid exercising completely after you’ve given birth, especially if you know it does you some good. But, with any intense routines, it’s best to leave these for now. You can certainly do low impact exercises, especially those all-important kegels, and to help your body recover, especially after the trauma of giving birth, proper nutrition is the cornerstone of getting back into fitness. If you planned on training for any Tough Mudder competitions scheduled for a week after the due date, it’s best to put these off for some time!