As any new mama will tell you, pregnancy can be tough – both physically and mentally. Even if you’re lucky enough to have no major issues, it can still be quite a rollercoaster as you deal with a range of changes, stresses, and strains. Then you give birth… no need for us to highlight how hard that is!
This means, once you’re finally holding your little miracle in your arms, you’re in real need of a little recovery. Thankfully, the human body is truly amazing, so it will begin to heal itself naturally. However, if you want to give it a helping hand, try incorporating exercise into your daily routine.
What are the benefits of postnatal exercise?
As we all know, exercise does a lot of wonderful things for our bodies, like increasing our strength and stamina and improving our general wellbeing. This is particularly true after you’ve given birth, as exercise can also:
- Increase energy levels: It probably sounds crazy but burning energy can actually create extra energy. Exercise is reinvigorating and can help combat tiredness and improve sleep patterns. Given how difficult getting sleep can be when you’re a new mama, this is invaluable.
- Boost your mood: Have you heard of endorphins? They’re the feel-good chemicals your body releases when you work out. Beyond making you feel better, these chemicals also combat anxiety and stress, and can even help you avoid postpartum depression.
- Address issues experienced during birth: The right exercises, done correctly, can help heal health conditions like abdominal separation and a weakened pelvic floor.
Are there any risks associated with postnatal exercise?
Generally speaking, postnatal exercise has been found to be completely safe for most mothers. That being said, if you are still nursing, there is some evidence to suggest that high-intensity activities can cause a build-up of lactic acid in your milk, creating a sour taste your baby may not like. However, you can avoid this issue by sticking to low or moderate-intensity exercises and keeping well-hydrated throughout your workout.
Wondering how to start getting active again? Here’s our advice
- How quickly you heal will depend on how much you exercised before your pregnancy and if you had any birthing issues. Your doctor will be able to advise when you should start being active again and any exercises you need to avoid.
- After you’ve given birth, exercise is about healing, not weight loss, setting personal bests, or winning races. Take it easy, start with something manageable (e.g., a walk around your neighborhood), and build your fitness slowly.
- When you have a newborn, finding a moment to get active can be tough. Avoid this issue by working exercises into your daily routine. For example, while you’re breastfeeding, do some Kegel exercises; and try to get a quick core workout in while your little one naps nearby.
- If you’re not sure what exercises you should be doing, a mom and baby class could help. There are classes for all ability and fitness levels. Most are designed to help you bond with your baby while you work out, and it’s a great opportunity to connect with other new moms.
- Don’t be afraid to lean on your support network. Your loved ones want you to be healthy and happy so, if you need some ‘time off’ to exercise, ask for their help.
- Pregnancy changes your body, so treat yourself to some new workout gear. A fitting will help make sure your new sports bra gives you the support you need and our postpartum activewear range features compression shorts and leggings designed with your post-pregnancy belly in mind.