Eager to get back to their pre-pregnancy shape, it is natural to want to know what postnatal exercises are suitable and how soon after delivery they can be started.
Burning pregnancy fat is not the only reason for starting exercises after the delivery; there are several other benefits as well.
Why postnatal exercises are important
Firstly of course exercising is a vital part of being healthy. Secondly it is important for women to get back to their pre-pregnancy shape in the interests of not just health but also self esteem. Further exercising after the delivery can help reduce stress, control blood sugar (or diabetes), lower blood pressure and so on.
Exercising is known to elevate the mood and can also help to address problems like post baby depression.
Postnatal exercises can also help to reduce common post natal complaints like stress incontinence, carpal tunnel symptoms, back pain, rib pain and so on. It can also help tone up stretched or loose muscles and strengthen the abdomen and pelvic floor muscles.
Specific exercises can help to tone and condition specific areas of the body and take care of particular complaints.
How soon after delivery can you start exercising?
The rule of thumb about post delivery exercising is that a woman can start as soon as she feels up to it. This can be within days of a normal vaginal delivery and within about 6 to 8 weeks of a C section delivery unless there is a medical reason why the doctor has advised against this. If you were active through the pregnancy, you can begin with your postpartum exercise routine earlier rather than later.
However it is important to ease into an exercise routine gradually with gentle and short duration of postnatal exercises rather than launch into a strenuous and demanding program right away.
This can hinder healing and may also cause injuries because the ligaments muscles are already stretched from the pregnancy. Keep it low impact and remember to include stretches into the workout.
The best postnatal exercises
Walking is probably the best thing to start out with post-delivery exercising. It can be a relaxed and gentle stroll to being with; about half an hour two to three times a week.
You can increase the duration, speed and frequency of the walks gradually. Bycycling and swimming are other good options after a few weeks.
Women can do abdominal exercises such as crunches for toning abs muscles and leg raises for toning the hips and thighs. Pushups can help tone the upper body. Stretches are important so include some exercises to stretch the neck, back and other areas.
Will exercising hinder breastfeeding?
No it will not. However it is advisable to breastfeed and then exercise. This will help avoid the discomfort of exercising with full breasts. Some experts also advise this because some babies seem put off by the taste of milk directly after a workout.
Remember to wear proper supporting shoes for postnatal exercises. Also remember to use a good exercise bra because that could offer better support than a nursing bra.