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Post-Pregnancy Exercise - Your Questions Answered

For those who were avid gym-goers before and during your pregnancy, chances are you are itching to get back on the treadmill. Even if you weren’t a fan of the gym before pregnancy, you might be thinking about joining postpartum. Exercising after pregnancy isn’t just about regaining your figure; it is a great way to maintain a healthy mentality. 

We have answered your postpartum fitness questions as well as outlining specific exercises that are safe to do once you have had your baby. 

What do you mean by postpartum? 

A lot of people associate postpartum with depression. However, it has a meaning all of its own. Postpartum refers to the period following delivering your bundle of joy. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘fourth trimester’. This period usually lasts around six to eight weeks. 

How long does it take a woman’s body to fully recover from pregnancy? 
While some very gentle exercises can help relieve the after-effects of giving birth, such as brief walks a week or so after labour, it is recommended that you refrain from heavy or strenuous exercises for six to eight weeks. This could be longer if you have had an operative vaginal delivery or a cesarean. 

We recommend speaking with your doctor to ascertain your own timeline and only start exercising when you have been given the go-ahead and feel ready.  

How soon after giving birth can you exercise? 

While some very gentle exercises can help relieve the after-effects of giving birth, such as brief walks a week or so after labour, it is recommended that you refrain from heavy or strenuous exercises for six to eight weeks. This may be longer if you have had an operative vaginal delivery or a cesarean. 

We recommend speaking with your doctor to ascertain your own timeline and only start exercising when you have been given the go-ahead and feel ready. 

Remember that exercising post labour is not just about your figure. Exercise is an excellent way to get some ‘you-time’. You can’t care for a child without caring for yourself first. 

What exercises prevent postpartum depression? 

Pregnancy and labour put a lot of emotional and physical pressure on a person both during and afterwards. It is perfectly normal to experience shifting emotions; however, if these become so severe that they impact your daily life, it is known as postpartum depression or PPD. 

While symptoms of PPD usually present themselves a few weeks after delivery, they could appear up to six months after. Around one in ten women experience depression within a year of giving birth. 

Some research has shown that exercising can ease PPD; even walking is believed to have a positive impact. We wouldn’t want to suggest specific exercises; however, we would recommend choosing activities that you enjoy and makes you feel good. And don’t push yourself or be too judgemental. Being kind to yourself is extremely important, especially when you are going through postpartum depression. 

Which exercise is best after pregnancy? 

You will be experiencing a range of post-birth changes in your body. From a leaky bladder and separated stomach muscles to back pain. The good news is that there are specific exercises you can do to relieve these and others to help strengthen you after labour, such as:
  • Pelvic floor exercises 
  • Swimming 
  • Stomach exercises 
  • Cycling 
  • Gentle stretches 
  • Buggy-exercises 
  • Choosing the stairs over a lift (obviously not if you have a pram with you) 
It’s essential to remember that your abdominal and lower back muscles will be weaker, so you will have to work your way up to previous fitness levels. 

Remember that your joints and ligaments will also be more flexible and supple, so be careful not to twist or stretch too much as this could cause an injury. 

If you are excited about getting back into a fitness routine to help both you and your child, we are here to help. Whether that’s through booking a class or signing up for a personal trainer