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Many women are under the impression that exercise soon after birth is dangerous, but if you are feeling well and have had no complications during child birth there is no reason not to engage in gentle exercise as early as two weeks after you've had your baby.
- It improves your mood by releasing endorphins (feel good chemicals),
- Helps your lose weight,
- Protects your from further aches and pains,
- Increases your stamina,
- And gives your more energy (even you are sorely lacking sleep!)
Exercises For The First Six Weeks Postpartum
The most important goal for the first six weeks after birth is to improve strength and rebuild the pelvic floor muscles, because these become weak and damaged. Pelvic floor exercises can be performed gently in the first few weeks after giving birth and even if you have stitches, Kegels shouldn't put any strain on them. Another benefit of these types of exercises is that they will help avoid any accidental urine leaks. Initially it may feel as if you're not actually working anything, but stay with the exercise program because you will soon see the benefits. Try these exercises to help improve the pelvic floor:
1. Gentle walking — This is one of the simplest and most effective exercises you can do as soon as its comfortable. The pelvic floor will feel heavy and swollen, so start with short walks of about 10 minutes (ideally pushing a pram) and gradually increase by a minute every couple of days. Your aim is to be able to complete 20 minutes a day and making this part of your routine is a great way to make sure you do it.
2. Lower Tummy Exercise — Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and knees bent (make sure you are comfortable). The aim is to breathe in. As you release your breath, tighten the pelvic floor muscles. To do this, imagine you are trying to stop yourself from weeing mid-stream or holding in wind. Once you have done this, gently pull the belly button in towards the floor. Your lower tummy muscles should be contracted now and hold this for 10 seconds - without holding your breath - and keep still. Then relax and repeat. If you cannot hit 10 seconds straight away don't panic, hold as long as you can and set a target to complete 10 seconds by the end of the six weeks.
3. Exercise Ball — Once you are able to complete the lying down exercise above, you can move on to exercising while sitting on an exercise ball. Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor, squeeze your pelvic floor and tummy muscles as above, and slowly lift one of your legs off of the floor. The aim is to try and maintain a stable position on the ball without wiggling, but keep breathing, hold for five seconds, relax and repeat 5-10 times on each leg.