When is it safe for me to start exercising after having a baby?
You are able to do exercises to strengthen your Pelvic Floor and Core muscles immediately after the birth of your baby. It is very important that you consult an experienced Physiotherapist to teach you how to do these exercises correctly.
You are able to commence gentle cardiovascular exercise i.e. walking as soon as you feel ready after having your baby.
What exercise/activity should I avoid?
Avoiding any heavy lifting and high impact exercise such as running/ aerobics/ tennis/ jumping during the first 3 months after giving birth is generally advised. During this time you should also avoid sit-ups and abdominal crunches these exercises will increase the pressure through your Pelvic Floor. This is not want you want!!
Swimming should be avoided whilst you are still experiencing post-partum bleeding to minimise the risk of infection. If you had a caesarean delivery then it is recommended that you wait until your 6-week check up before commencing swimming.
What type of exercises should I be doing?
Low impact exercise (walking) is recommended initially after having your baby.
PELVIC FLOOR exercises are extremely important for you to be doing. These exercises should be commenced immediately after the birth. Doing these exercises are important regardless of whether you have a natural delivery or caesarean. It is also important for you to strengthen your CORE after giving birth. These muscles have been stretched for the past few months and need to be strengthened.
Having a consultation with an experienced physiotherapist with a Real Time Ultrasound is essential to ensure you are activating the correct muscles when doing your core and pelvic floor exercises. The Real Time Ultrasound will bring a picture of your muscles up on a screen and you are able to view them as you are activating them.
A Post-Natal Pilates class taken by an experienced physiotherapist is a great place to increase the strength of your core and pelvic floor in a safe environment.
As mentioned above – If you have had a natural delivery then swimming is a good low-impact form of exercise to commence once your post-partum bleeding has stopped. Wait until your 6-week check up if you have had a caesarean.
You will be able to commence cycling once you feel comfortable sitting on the bike.
If in doubt consult your obstetrician, midwife or an experienced physiotherapist and get their advice.