Much is made of how celebrities ‘bounce back’ from pregnancy but the way you exercise after baby is born is a very individual thing. I’m really pleased to hear that some women do not have any restrictions to their exercise routines after they have a baby, but this is the exception rather than the rule. It’s a shame the exceptions get so much media coverage, rather than the reality for most women. Here are a few things to consider when you resume your exercise after baby is born.
Are your breastfeeding? Exercise can be mighty uncomfortable just before a feed – breasts will be heavy and will need support – even when walking.
Solution – For this reason it’s best to exercise after baby has fed and wear a supportive bra to reduce breast movement
How’s your posture? Your body has undertaken a major postural shift by carrying a baby, giving birth, and now caring for the baby. How do your neck and shoulders feel? How is your lower back?
Solution – Swimming and aqua aerobics work the body in 3 directions, supported by water, with gentle resistance. Back stroke will help you open up across the chest, work shoulders and your upper back, and kicking on your back will help you realign your pelvis which may tilt forward after carrying the baby. Aqua aerobics is a great option also, particularly if you can not swim.
How is your core, and this includes your pelvic floor? Chances are both are stretched.
Solution – You need muscle shortening exercises to draw in the deep core muscles and regain the tone. A good example of a muscle shortening exercise is to simply be on hands and knees and gently draw the belly button towards the spine. Should you feel your pelvic floor bulge when you do this draw your pelvic floor towards your heart first – this is also a muscle shortening exercise. If you are unsure how to do pelvic floor exercises you can find yourself a physio who specialises in women’s health, and seek out a fitness professional with expertise, experience and qualifications in exercise after baby is born.
What type of exercise suits you is very dependent on your body, fitness and health and how it has fared during pregnancy, child birth and caring for the baby.