01 Dec How to return safely back to exercise postpartum
As a mum, you’ve experienced physiological changes that are unique to females and which are unable to be replicated in any other situation. Your body has undertaken a transformation, which commenced the moment they became pregnant and continues well beyond birth of a child.
Generally, mums experiencing an uncomplicated delivery will receive a green light to exercise at 4 to 6 weeks postpartum (after delivery), whereas those healing from a cesarean delivery may need additional time. Women who consistently exercised before pregnancy and remained physically active throughout pregnancy often can return to their pre-pregnancy routines fairly quickly once given medical clearance.
When they are ready to get back into the exercise routine, the exercises will need to be unique because it is heavily influenced by what happened during their pregnancy. Social media and the stereotype that has influenced the fitness industry with mindsets, beliefs and societal mantra’s such as “no pain no gain” or “no excuses” can leave mothers feeling confused about their bodies and as a result jump straight back into exercise too quickly postpartum.
Hence leaving mother’s without ample time to heal, unfortunately in situations like this it can increase the risk of developing dysfunctions which can hinder their healing, restrict their bodies for years and can hold us back from returning to movements, exercises or sports that we enjoy.
Following the birth of a baby, the body has undergone 9 months of physical and physiological changes, and these do not reverse overnight, typically these changes persist from 4-6weeks postpartum and some adaptations can last for up to 6 months.
Advice for mother’s returning to exercise postpartum:
- Give your body time to heal!
- Find an Accredited Exercise Physiologist or a Fitness professional with experience in exercise postpartum exercises as they can provide you with tools and strategies to apply to everyday life to ensure you are lifting babies/toddlers/shopping with safe techniques. They can also help with recovery from abdominal separation and encouraging core re-connection.
- Avoid heavy lifting, high intensity exercises and inappropriate core exercises such as crunches! You can return to heavy lifting but first off it is best to establish strong foundations and recondition the body first
- New mums often feel a societal expectation to get back to whatever they were doing pre-baby, particularly if they were physically active. Unfortunately this mindset is very damaging and we lose awareness to what our bodies need like healing time and rest. They key is to be patient with yourself and you will get to back to where you were before.
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.