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Post partum exercise: how to help your body recover after childbirth

You’re tired and on the go all day… exercise may be the last thing on your mind after giving birth, yet research shows it really help to get your body back on track, by boosting energy levels and helping to retrieve back body flexibility. This is also a great way to give some time for yourself and keep stress at bay. .  With this is mind, we’ve put together some simple tips to help you gently introduce exercise in to your busy routine and keep healthy after giving birth.

Listen to your body

Knowing when to start exercising will help you avoid injury and enjoy your workouts more. If you’ve just given birth some experts recommend waiting six weeks before exercising, as this is the period when your body heals. If you had a caesarean it’s best to wait a little longer and take professional advice.

Choose the right exercise for you

If you’re suffering from lower back pain, for example, introduce stretching as this helps restore hip and back flexibility. Try stretching 10 minutes at a time during your work break or while baby is napping.

Working pelvic floor muscles can also lead to an easier recovery, preventing prolapse and incontinence. Kegel exercises tone your pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. Here is how to do it:

1- Make sure to go to the toilets before doing this exercise as it can lead to urine leakage.
2- Contract your pelvic floor muscles for 5-10 seconds, trying not to move your leg, buttocks and abdominal muscles during the exercice.
3- Relax, and repeat the exercice 10-20 times.
4- Breathe normally during the exercises, and do this at least three times a day.

Opt for shorter workouts

Opt for shorter workouts

While fitting in exercise as a new mum may seem tricky as you’re always on the go, you don’t need to work out for hours. Research shows that healthy women should get at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity after pregnancy. The trick is to spread exercise throughout the week and stick to the “10 minutes at a time is fine” rule. 

If Breastfeeding choose the right support

If you’re breastfeeding don’t rely on your pre-pregnancy sports bra when working out, as your back and cup size are likely to have changed. Get measured for a new one. It is also advised to pump or breastfeed before you work out and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Even though working out is a great idea to help your body recover from a childbirth, remember to listen to your body and stop if you experience extreme fatigue, or take longer to recover from workout sessions. Consult your doctor before starting any post partum exercise program.