27 May Getting back to exercise after baby!
Ensuring a safe return to activity post-partum is incredibly important. Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Esme Soane, explains why.
Congratulations mum – you have just had a baby! A lot of new mums are keen to return to the gym and ready to get their ‘pre-baby-body’ back. But slow down mamma, let me stop you there…
Your body underwent massive physiological changes throughout your pregnancy, including your heart, lungs, hormones, muscles and pelvic floor. And on top of that – your body is still changing and essentially, recovering from pregnancy for up to 12 months after birth! Pregnancy hormones like relaxin are present if you breastfeed, and stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol from lack of sleep can cause changes to performance, energy and results in the gym.
A particular thing to look out for after you have had a baby, is pelvic floor weakness – or pelvic organ prolapse, (we call it POP for short). POP does not get spoken about much, however symptoms of pressure, pain, or feeling of fullness in vagina, a feling of a downward dragging or like your “insides are falling out”, incontinence (or leaking of urine), constipation, lack of sexual sensation or painful intercourse.
Women can be hesitant to openly discuss these symptoms, but POP is very important to identify, and modify exercise to be performed safely. Specific exercise for pelvic floor weakness and POP can greatly improve and manage symptoms, however certain exercises are contraindicated– and can make things worse. Running, jumping and abdominal exercises for instance are not good for pelvic floor!
Returning to activity is a fantastic way to improve energy levels, reduce stress and improve physical fitness.
Looking for some ideas to help return to activity as a new mum? Exercise Right recommends the following:
- Walking (with a pram or a baby carrier)
- Swimming (once all surgery incisions and wounds have healed – check with your GP)
- Yoga or Pilates
- Some ‘Mums and Bubs’ classes have specific and appropriate exercises for new mums returning to exercise
- Having a tailored exercise program designed by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist – especially if you are concerned or have been diagnosed with pelvic floor weakness or POP.
Working with an accredited exercise physiologist after you have had your baby can help you recover from c-section surgery, abdominal separation (or diastasis recti), lower back pain, pelvic floor weakness, post natal depression, shoulder or hip pain and return to sport safely and effectively!
An accredited exercise physiologist will work with you to get you back to the activity that you love, and design exercise programs unique to you and your individual needs.