Post pregnancy, the bump is beginning to go down and you have an adorable new addition that can now safely sleep in a pram (if you’re lucky enough to get them to nod off) so a lot of new mums are eager to get back moving as soon as their 6 week check is checked off.
All in all, that’s wonderful news!
However, although your body may be beginning to look similar to how it was pre-pregnancy, there’s a bit of groundwork to be done to ensure your foundations are stable enough to support you through workouts without any injury or issues.
Before you go running, jumping and dancing back into the gym or your favourite class, here are a few post natal pointers on how to get back into exercising:
First up, and most importantly is breathing.
Obviously there’s the point that we need it to live, however it’s also the key to reconnecting with your deep core muscles and pelvic floor. In all fairness, women especially should be doing it at every age: before, during and after pregnancy.
During pregnancy the way we breathe changes, we take in more oxygen to support the baby and the growing bump means we have less room to breathe deeply as it pushes on our diaphragm.
With this being the norm for those 9 months, post pregnancy it’s now a case of readjusting that breath.
Don’t Be HardCore.
Core breathing is enough for now. Avoid any crunches or ab-focused exercises that may cause ‘doming’ as this will aggravate any ab separation you may have. To help ‘knit’ everything back together, you want to start from the inside.
Before hitting weights or your favourite studio, you’ll want to focus on stability of your joints. Thanks to relaxin, which can be present up to 5 months after birth (or longer if breastfeeding), your joints may still be unstable.
There’s also the readjusting to your centre of mass as your body changes shape so make sure you familiarise yourself with it.
Your posture will more than likely have changed with nursing, holding and bearing your baby, and with it you’ll probably have a few tight muscles and niggly pains. You’ll want to stretch the tight areas (most likely chest and hip flexors) and begin to strengthen the opposing, weaker areas (back and glutes).
Little & Often.
It’s not about going out for a 10km run as soon as you’ve had your 6 week check, it’s about introducing 10-15 minutes worth of exercise around 4 times a week as this should leave you with enough energy to go about all everything under the sun that comes with motherhood.
High Support but Low Impact.
Find a class near you so you can socialise with other new mums during the class and afterwards over coffee. Make sure these classes are low impact (i.e both feet don’t leave the floor) as your body is still in rehab.
If low impact classes aren’t an option, any good instructor should be able to provide adaptations for you.
All About You.
Every body and everybody is different so make sure you find a class where the instructor is able to tailor exercises to your abilities, whether it’s adapting or progressing moves.
Also, remember this is your time.
You’re doing this for you so make sure you find something that you enjoy, and also a trainer who makes you feel uplifted and motivated.