The benefits of exercise after having a baby (postpartum or postnatal exercise)
In this blog, Molly shares the benefits of exercise after you’ve had a baby, including fighting fatigue and combating post-natal depression
We know it wasn’t easy growing a tiny human for 9 months, going through delivery and now looking after a newborn (phew!). Your body has undergone so many changes in a short period of time and everyone’s journey is different.
However, we also know that regular exercise or movement has numerous benefits to Mums at any stage of their lives. So, let’s see how exercise can help your post-partum journey.
The physical and mental benefits to postpartum exercise
Here are just some of the ways that exercise can benefit you and your body after you’ve had your baby:
- Restores strength and resilience of your body
- Improves fatigue and tiredness
- Helps to prevent postnatal depression and relieve stress
- Promotes a healthy body composition
- Helps to rehabilitate core, back and pelvic floor after delivery and pregnancy
Generally, mums who experience an uncomplicated delivery can receive medical clearance to start exercising 6 weeks postpartum. if you’re healing from a caesarean delivery, or had a difficult delivery, you may need additional time, so make sure you follow the advice of your GP.
When you feel ready, you can start easing back into exercise, and slowly building up strength and capacity.
Keeping your body safe when exercising after a baby
When returning to exercise, you need to keep in mind that your back, core and pelvic floor muscles are weaker that they used to be. Also, your joints may still be at a higher risk of injury due to the hormones.
You’ll need to avoid certain impact exercises that may cause issues on joints and pelvic floor.
If you’re currently breastfeeding, this also needs to be taken into account.
We recommend timing your exercises after you have done a feed. Not only will baby be happy, but your boobs will be “less full”, which will make it more comfortable to exercise. Keep up your fluid intake and don’t forget to invest in a good supporting sports bra to reduce the jiggle!
Tips to find the motivation
We understand that caring for a newborn, and potentially other family members, can be very taxing and finding time for exercise can be challenging. Starting off with gentle exercise for 10 minutes at a time can help make it achievable. Just do the best you can – doing something is better than doing nothing!
If you’re struggling to find the drive and energy to get moving again, you’re not alone.
Try joining a class – that will give you some great social time with other new mums as well as keeping you accountable. Exercise can be a great out-of-the-house social activity for housebound mums and babies AND you get to wear comfy gym wear. Bonus!
Join our classes!
If you’re interested in attending our classes here at the Progressive Physiotherapy Group in Warragul, just get in contact with one of the team and we’d be happy to advise which class is best for you.
You can also book online now if you’re ready to get rolling!
Pssst, I run a post-partum class on a Friday at 9am on Fridays which might be the perfect fit for you!
A few extra resources that can help
If you’re struggling, you might find these resources helpful. Please reach out, we live in a beautiful community and there is support out there:
- Post-Natal Depression and Online Mental Health Support – PANDA | Support that’s always there, for you and your family
- Olivia’s Place in Warragul – Family support program — Olivia’s Place (oliviasplace.org.au)
- The national Maternal and Child Health Line is a 24-hour telephone service (phone 13 22 29 in Victoria)
I hope to see you soon!