Postpartum Fitness Tips for Mums
September 7, 2021
September 7, 2021
Whether you’ve recently given birth, or it’s been a little while since your pregnancy and you’re now ready to tackle some persistent concerns to improve your wellbeing, we’re here to lessen the load by answering some of your top questions and providing postpartum fitness tips for mums.
Exercising after having a baby is important.
It’s normal to wonder how long it will take to get back to your pre-baby body and, as celebrities and influencers on social media show, there is a lot of pressure to miraculously snap back into shape. Losing weight may be on your radar, as feeling comfortable with your body is a great way to improve your mental and physical wellbeing, but remember the stresses placed on your body throughout pregnancy and keep in mind that postpartum fitness is a journey with many benefits.
Getting active after your pregnancy is important: it may help prevent postnatal depression, will make you feel more energetic, and help your body recover after childbirth.
When can I start exercising after giving birth?
It’s important to take it slow and listen to your body. If you had a straightforward birth, you can start gently exercising when you feel ready, but wait until after your 6-week postnatal check before starting high-impact exercise. If you had a more complicated delivery or a caesarean, your recovery time will be longer so you should check in with your midwife, health visitor, or GP.
How to Ease Back Pain After Pregnancy
After pregnancy, your lower back and core abdominal muscles are weakened and all the things you do while looking after your child (from carrying your baby to changing nappies) may worsen this pain.
- Remember to pick things off the floor with bent knees and a straight back (rather than bending at the waist and curving your spine). This way, you’ll strengthen your thigh muscles and avoid damaging your back.
- Change nappies and bathe your baby without straining your back. Why not get use a foam kneeling pad or cushion to make kneeling or squatting by the bath easier? Or change your baby on a raised surface like a sofa.
- Relax while you feed your baby. Sit with your feet on the floor and your back supported (against a chair, wall, or with a cushion at your lower back).
- Get a pram or buggy that feels comfortable for you and your baby: you should be able to walk with your back straight and your elbows bent at right angles. Pushing your baby briskly is a great way to ease back into exercising.
Tone Separated Stomach Muscles
The two muscles down the middle of your stomach separate during pregnancy as your growing womb pushes them apart. Therefore, after pregnancy, they are longer, weaker, and the amount of separation varies but will usually go back to normal in around eight weeks. There are some simple postpartum exercises you can do to strengthen your core which will, in turn, ease the pain in your lower back:
- Lie on your side and bend your knees slightly.
- Relax your stomach and breathe in.
- While breathing out, draw in the lower part of your stomach and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles.
- Hold for 10 seconds, then gently release.
Repeat the exercise up to 10 times.
Exercises to Strengthen the Pelvic Floor Muscles
As the muscles in your pelvic floor (around your bladder, vagina, and bottom) are stretched during pregnancy and birth, it’s normal to have a leaky bladder (called stress incontinence) and a feeling of heaviness around your bladder. Luckily, these muscles can be easily strengthened by pelvic floor exercises that can be done anytime, anywhere (from on the loo to while watching TV):
- Squeeze and draw in the muscles around your bottom (as if you’re trying to stop going to the loo). Hold the squeeze for up to 10 seconds.
- Do the same for your vagina. Hold the squeeze for up to 10 seconds.
- Then do the same with quick squeezes (squeeze and let to 10 times).
The pelvic floor muscles can be difficult to isolate, but once you’ve got it you should aim to build to 10 sets, three times a day.
What other support is available?
Why not check out postnatal exercise classes in your area? If you don’t know of any, or none suit your schedule, check out postpartum fitness classes with DareBear. You can easily search for pre and post-natal classes with specialist PTs nearby or by a video call from the comfort of home. You’ll soon be able to request classes, so why not use DareBear to meet new mums in your area and workout with your friends? Follow our Facebook and Instagram to be the first to try it out!
Remember, if you have concerns about your postpartum fitness, you can check in with your GP for help at any time.