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Exercise and pregnancy

Over the past few weeks I have had several new mums asking about when they can get back to exercise and more importantly when it is safe to do so. Hopefully this should answer a few questions!

Whether you have a natural birth or a C-section, recovery should be a careful and steady process, and you should only re start exercise with your GP, consultant, midwife or healthcare professionals approval. The “normal” recommended time for recovery after birth is 6-8 weeks, depending on how smoothly the birth went and also on the individual. If you exercised up until birth then it will be much easier to re start than someone who is completely new to exercise. Both instances should seek professional advice to ensure that they are helping the recovery process rather than hindering it. Before you start thinking about entering aerobic activity or resistance training to shift the baby weight, you need to start with the basics:

Pretty much straight away after birth women will be advised to start to work again on their pelvic floor muscles in the same way leading up to birth. This will help to tighten everything back up and prevent any stress incontinence! Another common side effect of pregnancy is a condition called “diastasis recti”, this is when the abdominal muscles are stretched by the growing uterus and split into left and right halves. Training these muscles back into their original position should be taken with care as it is possible to train them in a way which encourages them to remain split.

Exercising after pregnancy is important not only for the mother’s body but also for her psychological wellbeing. Taking back control of your body is great for self confidence and also allows you to spend some time being you again! It’s no secret that newborns are tiring, and as a new mother exercise can actually help by raising energy levels and releasing endorphins which improve mood, relieve stress and help prevent postpartum depression.

If you are post natal or still pregnant and looking for some advice about exercise after pregnancy then don’t hesitate to ask for more information.