Pregnancy is a huge time of change for your body, not only hormonal changes, but there are also changes in your body, including weight gain, indigestion, heartburn, and insomnia. Depending on your health throughout the pregnancy, you might not have been able to exercise as much as you wanted, so you will need to think about toning up.
However, you cannot go straight back to your original workout routine straight away. It is important that you build up your regime, here are few tips on getting back in shape.
Exercise Before Birth
If you have been healthy with no complications before birth, then there is no reason why you cannot still do exercise up until the birth. You will need to pace yourself and only do what you can, but there is research that shows those who exercise before birth will usually have better labor. For many women, swimming is the best form of exercise, especially in the later months as the water supports the weight of the baby. Yoga is also a good way to remain supple and restful; you can also adjust your routine depending on your comfort levels.
Exercising after the birth depends on how you feel and if you had any procedures during labor. For example, if you had a cesarean section, then you will be restricted to the things you can do for a few weeks afterwards. However, if you had a normal birth, then there is no reason why you cannot start gentle exercises straight away. There are several advantages to exercising after the birth; it can reduce back pain, improve muscle tone, reduce leg cramps and improves your sleep patterns.
After the birth of your new arrival, there can be some women that suffer from depression and other mental illnesses. These can be difficult and take a lot of time to overcome, but there are ways you can improve it. Firstly, you need to speak to your doctor for help; then you can start to do things to help you such as exercise. Doing regular exercise has been proven to improve the mood of those with mental health issues such as post-natal depression and anxiety. You might not feel like exercising at first, but if you can persevere, you will soon find yourself feeling better gradually.
Exercising Four to Six Weeks After Birth
You should start to do gentle exercises about four to six weeks after the birth. Of course, this all depends on how you are feeling physically. Ideally, you should start with swimming, walking, or post-natal exercise classes. You can also do aerobics if they are low impact and also water aerobics. If you normally have a personal trainer, they may be able to create a routine for you to get back into exercise. It will usually involve some work on the treadmill and some light weights. After a couple of weeks to a month, you should be able to increase your workouts, just as long as you are not experiencing any pain or discomfort.
There are certain activities that you need to refrain from until your pelvic floor has regained its full strength. Sports, aerobics, running or heavy lifting are all not advisable until you have been doing gentle exercises for about twelve to sixteen weeks. Once you have completed the light training, you can start to go back to your old routines. However, if you experience any back pain, urine loss during or after exercise or vaginal heaviness, then you need to stop and consult with your doctor before starting again. A lot of women think that sport and high impact exercise will help to strengthen their pelvic floor, but that isn’t the case. Doing that type of exercise before or just after birth can lead to a weakening of the pelvic floor. If you get this, then there is an increased risk of long-term bladder and bowel problems. You are also at an increased risk of prolapse which will need surgical repair.
Knowing Your Limits
Just as you would before your pregnancy, it is important to listen to your body and what it is telling you. Motherhood in the first few months can be exhausting, so try not to over exercise, or you will feel more tired. The other problem is injury, if you are tired and working out too hard, you risk causing yourself an injury. If that happens, you need to take a break and rest before starting again. If needed, you should also see a physical therapist such as those at Phoenix Rehab Group Clinic who can help you with any long-term problems.
After pregnancy, your stomach muscles are not as strong as they were before, so you won’t be getting the support for your back as you need. You need to have strong lower pelvis and back muscles to prevent injury from lifting or carrying heavy objects. The Transversus Abdominus muscle (TA), in particular, needs to be strengthened. It is the main abdominal muscle that supports your pelvis and back. If you try to do sport or another high impact exercise before the TA muscles are strengthened, you can suffer back injuries.
Do the Correct Exercises
There is a belief that the best way to strengthen your abdominal muscles is with sit-ups. However, there can be issues with this type of exercise, particularly after birth. You need to have strengthened your TA muscles sufficiently before you start sit-ups or curl-ups, or you will be at risk of injuring your spine. There are physical therapists which can help you with exercises that can strengthen your TA muscles and pelvic floor, so you can then return to more demanding sports. As always, if you start to feel pain or discomfort, then you need to stop and seek advice.
Although you will be eager to get your body back into shape after the birth of your baby, it is important to take things slowly and exercise in the right way.