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How Soon After Giving Birth Can I Start Exercising?

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 16 Jun 2011 | comments*Discuss
Birth Pregnancy Body Baby Exercise

If you’ve recently given birth, or are about to, and are wondering how soon you’ll be able to start exercising again afterwards, here’s a useful guide to when it’s safe to do so.

When you’ve gone through the agony of childbirth or endured a long Labour, it’s not surprising that wondering when you’ll be able to exercise again are at the bottom of your priorities. But as the days and weeks go by and you’re back at home settling into life with your baby, depending how you’re feeling, it may be an issue you’re concerned about.

When Is It Safe To Start And What Exercise To Do?

In most cases, you can commence with some gentle exercise when you feel able to. It’s not recommended that you should do anything too strenuous in the first few weeks, though, or that you start attending Postnatal Exercise Classes until you’ve had your first postnatal check and cleared it with your health professional.

Gentle exercise such as walking is ideal to start with as it’s low impact, but still has a good effect. For example, you could get a good amount of walking into your day if you’re out for a walk pushing the baby in a pram. Or you could try some light stretching exercises or any exercises you were doing before the birth.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

The Pelvic Floor Muscles can take a bit of a battering during pregnancy and childbirth so you’ll need to take care if you’re thinking of doing sit-ups or aerobic activities, such as running, as they may cause a strain on your pelvic floor. If you’ve had problems with bladder leakages during pregnancy, then don’t do these forms of exercise until your pelvic floor has fully recovered – specially designed pelvic floor exercises can help aid recovery.

Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re doing too much, but as long as you’re not straining yourself and feeling okay, things should be alright. One way that you can tell that you are doing too much physical exercise is if your vaginal flow or lochia becomes a pink or red colour or flows heavily. If this happens, it’s a sign that you need to slow down and take it easier.

Not all new mums feel like exercising too soon, partly due to feeling exhausted with sleepless nights and the overall impact of having a baby, which can take some time to adjust and get used to. If that sounds like you, then don’t worry. It’s important to take care of yourself and preserve your energy if you’re feeling low, so don’t push yourself to exercise too soon if you don’t feel up to it.

Exceptions To The Rule

There are some exceptions to the rule and times when it’s not so safe to start exercising again too soon. One of these is when you’ve had a Caesarean Section. If you’ve had a caesarean, then your body is recovering from surgery and you need to wait for at least six weeks before you have any form of strenuous exercise. This is because your wound needs to heal properly. You can, however, do some very gentle exercise before the six weeks are up – a good option is walking.

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