Hello new mamas! Today I am going to cover a very important topic – Postnatal Fitness for new mamas. For those who know me, I am a strong believer in fitness and healthy lifestyle for women. As a mommy of an 18 month old son, I understand myself that mothers after delivery become tired because they get so exhausted caring for their newborn, and this causes stress and postnatal depression, leaving so many of them nervous and curious about their post natal body. After seeking advice from medical practitioners and cleared to go on with exercises, there is little information and guidance about proper body rehabilitation after giving birth. I am providing this piece of information hoping to help postnatal mothers to understand better the importance and benefits of working out after giving birth. I am covering four major questions that are raised below:
1. When Should I Start Working Out?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecoloists (ACOG) indicated for easy vaginal childbirths, the new mother can start working out as early as few days or weeks postnatal. For C-section or other complicated deliveries, it is advised that the new mother should wait till her six weeks postnatal visit with a medical professional is completed and she is cleared to start a workout. This period should also be the time special attention should be given to your body as a new mother and any new type of training should be introduced to your routine gradually. It is important that you listen to your body and do not indulge in very intense and high impact workouts in this period. I would also suggest to have your initial workouts supervised by a professional trainer who is experienced in providing post natal training. You must be ready to move and if any of light-headedness, irregular vaginal bleeding, pain or dizziness is experienced, the mother must cease from workouts and get an appointment with her doctor immediately.
2. What Are The Perfect Exercises A Postnatal Mother Can Begin With?
The crucial step for a postnatal mother to properly rejuvenate her body is the combination of two basic exercise types, and again, it is best to be supervised by a professional trainer.
The first exercise type is known as low impact cardiovascular exercise and examples are cycling, swimming, walking, ellipticals and light aerobics. Most women notice that they have short bladder control shortly after giving birth which is medically normal. So trying out high impact exercises can intensify the condition, causing an unpleasant postnatal experience. A hormone (Relaxin), which relaxes the ligaments and joints present in a mother’s pelvic floor so as to aid easy child birth may stay lifted for months after childbirth, causing a higher injury outcome and can create a tilt in your posture and body balance. Involving in high impact exercises soon after postnatal may cause long-term ache and damage to the muscle.
The second exercise type for postnatal workout focuses more on the pelvic floor and core work that give NO room for abdominal pressure. After postnatal, a new mothers pelvic floor cannot “self-heal”, but there are some amazing and exercises that can always ensure a strong postnatal body. They include Pelvic tilts, bridges, dead bug crunch, bird dogs and reverse matching. Abdominal muscles can become separated and the case may worsen if exercises like planks and crunches are done excessively, causing an increase in the possibility of having lower-back and bladder related issues. It is best advised you start with 10 reps of each listed exercises above and try them for up to a minute.
3. For How Long Should I Workout Each Day?
I have a strong belief that every form of workout is good for the body, but then the question of how long should a mother workout everyday, considering the fact that she has a new born baby to nurture almost every minute, well the answer to this question is very simple, take full advantage of days when you are less busy or when you have someone to help or look after the baby. Know that with few workouts, you can start the rebuilding process from where you left off. You can begin by switching between 10-15 minutes of low impact cardiovascular workout to burn excess calories and increase your heart rate, and an additional 10 minutes to stretch the cores of the body.
4. What Are The Things To Do To Make Me “Normal” Again After Childbirth?
Postnatal mothers go through a lot after childbirth, some even go as far as getting depressed or stressed out because of the changes the pregnancy did to their bodies. After childbirth, it takes a lot of time before the hormones are regulated but with inconsistent sleeping habits, the case may become worse. Aside getting involved in workout routine, intake of plenty of fluids and foods rich in body building nutrients capped with healthy diet are also essential for body rejuvenation. The workout routines will fasten muscle repair, give you energy needed for body building hormones, make you sleep better, and aid weight loss for some months after postnatal. If you are yet to be given the go ahead by a medical practitioner to involve in a workout routine, and you have a day you feel like getting involved in some exercise that does not involve moving, you can give breathing exercises and meditations (Yoga) a trial, and the good part of this type of exercise is that they help you relieve stress and depression, lower high blood pressure, reduce high heart rate, and minimise symptoms of postnatal anxiety.