Post Natal Exercise

Having a baby is a busy and exciting time in anyone’s life but it’s important to make time for post natal exercise once the baby has been born.  There are a number of guidelines you should know about before starting any post natal exercise plan:

1.   Stick to a low impact programme, meaning little stress on your joints

2.   Avoid any over stretching of muscles

3.   Don’t risk doing lots of abdominal exercises; you’ll need to wait until your pelvic floor muscles have become stronger again

4.   Don’t get too hot or tired

5.   Don’t do too much aerobic exercise

6.   It took 9 months for your body to change during pregnancy; you should allow at least that time after the birth to return to your normal shape

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Most people know that pelvic floor exercises are very important after giving birth.  There are two different types of pelvic floor exercises (slow and fast) and you should be doing both, many times each day.

Slow Contraction:  this exercise helps to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor and provides support for your pelvic organs.  It prevents prolapse of the bladder or uterus and also helps to improve your sex life.  To do this type of exercise, draw up the muscles around your back passage and hold.  Move this whole feeling towards the front and tighten the muscles around your front passage (much like you’re stopping yourself from passing urine).  Remember to keep breathing and life upwards as much as you can – holding for as long as you can (10 seconds is good).  Then release the muscles slowly and with control.  Your aim is to actually feel the muscles releasing.

Fast Contraction:  this strenghens your pelvic floor muscles to prevent stress incontinence and also helps to improve your sex life.  To do this, tighten and life the whole of your pelvic floor region in a quick contraction and then slowly release – again with control.

The hormone Relaxin is present in the body up to 5 months after pregnancy and this is the perfect period of time to perform pelvic floor exercises to help repair muscle and regain strength in that region.

Other Post Natal Exercise

Tummy Tightening:  this is much like the pelvic floor exercises but is performed with the tummy muscles in mind.  This can be done whilst standing, sitting or laying on your front.

Curl Ups:  for this exercise, lay on your back and bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor.  Breathe in and as you breathe out, pull up your pelvic floor muscles whilst pulling your tummy muscles in tight – at the same time slowly raise your head and shoulders off the floor.  Very slowly lower yourself back to the floor, breathing in as you go.  Then repeat.

Whatever happens, remember, you mustn’t overdo it after giving birth.  Be kind to your body and allow it to return to normal slowly by exercising little and often and eating healthily.