Exercise after having a baby: when and what you can do

Exercise after having a baby: when and what you can do

We are constantly flooded with images of perfect lives on social media and celebrities showing off bikini bodies just weeks after giving birth.

It puts an enormous amount of pressure on women to lose their baby weight and get back into shape after having a baby.

But Obstetrician Dr Vicki Woodward says slow and steady is the way to go.

“The first thing is not to stress about it too much in the short-term and keep in mind that physiologically it’s going to take six weeks for your body to go back to normal,” she says.

“There’s lots of ligament softening that goes on around the birth and ligament softening means that you haven’t got as much structure and support around your joints and your back and pelvis, so if we rush back into exercise we can harm ourselves by over stressing joints and pelvic floor.”

Dr Woodward says the best thing you can do is start with pelvic floor exercises.

“We really encourage that and then 4-to-6 weeks later, you can start easing back into exercise, so start with something simple like walking.”

There are two camps when it comes to running, says Dr Woodward.

“Some say you have to wait six months, others say you can start earlier,” she says.

“I think it’s always good to think of it as a graduated program from walking through to running because most of us have lost a bit of condition with our running when we’re pregnant.”

What if you’re a swimmer? 

“We want you to stop bleeding before you go back to it,” Dr Woodward says.

“So about 6 weeks after having your baby is when you can start looking to get back in the pool.”

But whatever exercise you do, it’s important to ease your way back into it.

“It’s completely normal for it to take months to a year to go back to your pre-pregnancy weight, which is what everyone is obsessed by,” Dr Woodward says.

Dr Vicki Woodward is a Melbourne Obstetrician, keen runner and mother of three.

www.drvickiwoodward.com.au.

Keep fit and work out in style with maternity exercise leggings designed for all stages of pregnancy and after birth www.bornfit.com.au

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