When can I get back to exercise after giving birth?
This is a very common question and maybe you’re a new mum reading this and biting at the bit to get back.
Or maybe you aren’t?
Maybe you are still in some pain from either having had stitches/episiotomy or had a C section? Maybe you are nervous about what exactly you can get back to do? Or maybe you are just a bit embarrassed about exercising again as you haven’t exercised for ages and feel you will be too unfit to do exercise classes?
Are you one of those women?
New Mums all have a different experience
Every new mum has had a totally different pregnancy and birth experience. The most important thing I try to get women to understand, is you are ALL different, ALL had different experiences and ALL have totally different bodies – some respond well to getting back to exercise, some take a lot longer.
No matter whether you exercised in pregnancy or not, starting back exercising after having a baby needs to be viewed as getting back after an injury. It is about gently progressing, not putting too much expectation on yourself and not setting to high goals at the start.
Basically, if you make a class by 10 weeks after giving birth – that is impressive. You are actually still in your 4th Trimester. So the most important thing is to be nice to yourself. You WILL get your fitness or weight back, but if you look after your body and take note of your pelvic floor and any mid-line gap then you will benefit more in the long run.
Why it is worth joining an exercise class for new mums
I have been running new mum classes for about 13 years now and have met all types of women. I hope I have educated those women about how to get back to exercising but I also hope I have always made them feel comfortable at my classes.
New mum classes are about gently starting back exercising & becoming aware of your body and how it feels. The quote I always use is:
“You can’t build a house on sand. If the foundation is soft/weak then it will fall or break”
This applies to everyone really. Your foundation is your core – you abdominals, pelvis and your glutes. They are the your foundation and they need to be your focus to start building strength in your body.
New mum classes are about:
- looking after your pelvic floor – not holding your breath so you don’t bear down it
- using bands to connect the fascial tissue connecting your whole body
- getting your heart rate up in a way that isn’t putting pressure on the pelvic floor or a weakened tummy
- using exercises that mimic your every day movements with your baby – sit, stand, push, pull
- having fun and meeting new mums
- Feeling good getting outdoors, with your baby
- Being with an instructor who understands child birth and the mending process post birth
No matter which new mums class you go to – always wait till you are 6 weeks post birth or if you have had a traumatic birth or C section then give your body more time and wait a good 10 weeks. Avoid classes that get you jumping/running or doing planks or sit up type exercises – believe me they will definitely make everything worse for your body!
New Mums exercising with pelvic floor issues
If you know me, you know this is something I talk about ALL the time! Because it is SO important!
Most of you are told – do your pelvic floor exercises ! However, how many of you see a women’s health physio/osteo to check your pelvic floor? You may actually be holding onto your pelvic floor – having been quite stressed and therefore not relaxing it and getting a full range of movement in those muscles – that can cause back pain or leaking.
So even if you wee a bit when you cough or sneeze don’t feel or listen to someone say that is normal. It isn’t normal – it is just very common and people perceive it as normal, but it isn’t!
Ask your GP for a referral to a women’s health physio – yes there is a waiting list but newer mums get priority. Otherwise, wherever you are in the country – look for a Mommy MOT or find your nearest Holistic Core Restore® coach who will have contact with a good women’s health physio. Ask me for contacts for those in Bristol.
Have a read of my old blog on this
Got a tummy gap – Diastasis Recti?
Finally, the other thing to be aware of is the gap down the middle of your tummy. Again you can see a women’s health physio about this and I would get it checked out. They can give you the right exercises to do to help the tummy.
Your abs haven’t ‘split’ ! The mid line (the linear alba) has stretched and weakened so it may not have come back together. Your body is amazing at mending, so give it 8 – 10 weeks – eating well – lots of protein with fruit or veggies, staying hydrated.
Avoid sit ups, crunches, planks or holding your breath and feeling your tummy push out and harden. Start gently massaging your tummy & avoid doing too much twisting.
If you still have a very soft midline by 7 or 8 weeks then definitely ask to be referred to the diastasis clinic or book and see a WHP privately – again ask me if you are in Bristol.
Have a read of my blog ‘How can I lose my tummy’.
No Pelvic Floor or tummy issues
You are very lucky! However, still be aware of looking after your body. Build from within, go to appropriate classes, still start back gently, still build your deep core and avoid rushing back full on. Remember, it is not now it is later that your body will tell you you went back too quickly!
If you want a really great education then take a look at my Holistic Core Restore® Everywoman course.
Otherwise come and try one of my New Mums Fitness Classes.
Or get in touch and ask me any questions or for a referral or come and see me for a 1:1 post birth assessment.