Take it slow! Give your body time to recover and ease back gently into physical activity.
Even if you were physically active before and during pregnancy, don’t get ready for a marathon just yet – you’ve already finished one! Pregnancy, delivery and the exhaustion of life with a newborn can take a heavy toll on your body. Many women don’t try anything more active than going for a walk until six weeks or so after delivery. If you’ve had a caesarean section we also recommend you wait six weeks before doing any heavy lifting or intense activity.
Benefits of Postnatal Exercise
- Improves stamina, cardiovascular fitness and decreases cardiovascular disease risk
- Helps restore muscle tone, strength and pelvic floor muscles
- Improves milk production
- Helps control and prevent incontinence
- Improves core strength and stabilization
- Expediates weight loss and improves self-esteem
- Targets posture and functional training
- Combats stress and promotes endorphin release which helps in prevention and treatment of postpartum depression
- Provides social network for mom and baby
The HIP Program
The Health Improvement after Pregnancy (HIP) Program was developed by the MotHERS ProgramTM to help mothers make healthy lifestyle changes. The HIP Program is an innovative and interactive mobile website based lifestyle modification program for women in the postpartum period. The program will guide and help motivate daily and weekly physical activity, provide nutritional guidance and be a means to log activity, periodic dietary intake and physical goals such as postpartum weight loss.
Mothers in Motion, created by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity, offers a great resource tool to help mothers cope with new parenthood, become physically active and live a healthy lifestyle. Download their physical activity guidelines and activity log to chart your progress once you're ready to start exercising again.
Many communities also offer postnatal yoga and pilates classes that tend to focus on regaining abdominal tone and core strength. Classes often include baby, making it easy to fit exercising into your schedule. Also investigate local options for personal fitness trainers who can help speed up your postpartum recovery time by safely easing you back to your full activity level or greater.