Targeted postnatal rehabilitation programs present the opportunity to reverse the deconditioning caused by pregnancy. Appropriate exercise prescription can restore stability and strength, as well as prevent weakness in the pelvic floor, abdominal wall and pelvis later in life.
Benefits of appropriate postnatal exercise are:
Medical clearance should sought before starting exercise and it may range from 24 hours to 8 weeks after delivery. Readiness to return to exercise is dependent upon a number of factors including health status, fitness, age and the pregnancy, labour and delivery experience. Exercise resumption needs to be slow with a gradual progression. It should be tailored to the individual and their physical and emotional requirements. Aim for relaxation and invigoration, rather than exercise that causes stress and fatigue.
Seek the advice of an Accredited Exercise Physiologist who can create a tailored exercise program.
Include both aerobic and anaerobic exercises and incorporate strength training. Target all muscle groups and body parts. Be patient with fitness progress, as many women (including athletes) do not return to pre-pregnancy fitness levels for 1-2 years.