Exercise after birth

Knowing when you will be ready to return to exercise after the birth of your baby is a very individual thing. It will depend on a number of factors such as, how active you were before you gave birth, whether you had any complications during your pregnancy, labour or birth, if you had a caesarean birth and how you are feeling both physically and emotionally. It is recommended that you ease back into exercise gradually and it is advisable to consult with your doctor or midwife before commencing any form of exercise.

When you are feeling up to it, exercise provides many benefits including increasing your energy levels to help you cope with the demands of parenthood as well as helping improve your mood and emotional health.

You can begin exercising your pelvic floor and lower tummy muscles as soon as you feel ready. Pelvic floor exercises are essential to protect against stress incontinence after birth.

You should avoid swimming until you have had your postnatal check and have had seven days without any postnatal bleeding. This is to prevent infection. You may need to wait longer if you had a caesarean or stitches.

It’s best not to do sit-ups and aerobic exercise, such as running, aerobics or tennis, until your pelvic floor has recovered. Vigorous exercise can put a big strain on your pelvic floor muscles.

Pregnancy hormones can also affect your joints for up to six months after childbirth. So be careful not to do too much high-impact activity too soon, especially if you are not used to this type of exercise.

For more information;

Better Health Channel – Postnatal Exercise

The Royal Women’s Hospital – Exercise after birth