ATTENTION NEWBEE MUMS!
TIPS FOR RETURNING TO EXERCISE SAFELY.
First of all, CONGRATULATIONS YOU ARE AMAZING!
You’re a MUM, and you ARE doing a GREAT job!
Now, it’s time to take a moment to think about you and what your body needs. Your body has been through all sorts of incredible changes to bring your beautiful new little being into the world, it is vital you give it back a little respect and be patient. In the early days it’s all about rest, recovery and bonding, taking the time to enjoy what you have created and achieved. The most you should consider in this period is some gentle re-awakening exercises for your pelvic floor. If you have trouble with these don’t panic it can take time for them to switch back on, keep gently trying.
REST, RECOVER AND RE-BEGIN!
In the first 6 weeks time is, no doubt, a blur the focus is on learning new skills (like breastfeeding), managing fatigue, dealing with new emotions, healing and gradually trying to get to know your body again, it has changed and so have you! This is a great time to start reminding yourself where your pelvic floor is, re-awakening those muscles and trying some regular but gentle core exercises. Don’t do anything that puts excessive tension on your core or pelvic floor, it is still healing and recovering. If you are still having trouble finding that elusive pelvic floor you are not alone, there is lots of help out there, so reach out and speak to your GP or maternal child health nurse.
After that first 6-week blur you may be starting to think about getting back into some exercise which is great, exercise is fantastic for both your physical and mental health but, there are things you need to consider.
PROTECT YOUR SELF!
First of all, returning to exercise post birth is not dissimilar to returning to exercise post an injury. Consider the amount of time your body has been inactive post baby and, pre-baby, add these together and there is a rough time frame for getting back to that pre-pregnancy body. Don’t be put off you will get back there! You just need to be patient and start with the right exercises at the right time. Building a strong base gradually with a combination of cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and core stability exercises you’ll be amazed how quickly your body can recover and rebuild.
PROCEED WITH CAUTION!
The safe time frame for return to impact exercise and weight training is around 12 weeks post-natal, but that is a generalised figure, everyone is different just as every birth is different, so take the time to have an individual assessment done by your GP to ensure that you are safe to return to exercise.
Remember, taking on too much too quickly can result in damage to your pelvic floor causing long lasting negative consequences such as urine incontinence or worse. So it is worth taking the time to build your pelvic floor and core strength as well as your basic muscular strength exercises before you add heavy loading or high impact exercise such as plyometric exercises and running. If in doubt it is highly worthwhile to go and see a women’s health physio to help you activate and strengthen your pelvic floor.
· Invest in a good quality sports bra, no underwire!
· Do not exercise if you have an infection
· If possible breast-feed prior to exercise
· Prone exercises may be uncomfortable
· Pay attention to your ins and outs i.e. greater metabolic demands need greater calorie input, adequate hydration is vital.
· Slow and steady wins the race! Start with low intensity exercises and build up gradually. Think Tortoise not Hare!
· Rest is important too – some days, especially after a bad night it might be worth swapping your exercise time for rest, or try some low intensity exercises, which help you relax and unwind.
· BEE kind to yourself, it took 9 months to make your baby, be patient and give your body the time it needs to rebuild its former strength.