The 6 most important things to consider before returning to exercise after giving birth.
As a mum to be or new mum , there is likely to be many questions you have surrounding exercise, core strength, what to eat to keep yourself upright after those sleepless nights…the list goes on!
In this blog we will try and address some of these questions and help you feel more prepared for the exciting (and a little tiring at first) times ahead.
- Natural versus a C Section
Remember there is no rush to get back exercising after giving birth, allow you body time to recover!
If you had a straightforward natural birth, you can start gentle exercise as soon as you feel up to it. This could include walking, pelvic floor exercises and some deeper core exercises.
With regards starting any higher intensity/higher impact exercises, it’s usually a good idea to wait until after your six week check.
If you had a C section, your recovery time will be a little longer, so listen to your body and talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP before starting anything too strenuous. Regardless of delivery method exercise post birth should always be safe, sensible and relevant to the needs of the post-natal body.
- Did you train throughout your pregnancy
There are so many benefits from staying active during pregnancy, from improved strength which will help you later in your pregnancy and also giving birth!
Exercise during pregnancy can mean you are less likely to experience problems with your joints, tendons.
It also means that you are likely to be able to return to exercise more swiftly and safely after the arrival of your baby!
- Diastasi Recti
Diastasis Recti is the result of excessive intra-abdominal pressure or loading. It iss the widening of the gap between the 2 sections of the Rectus Abdominis (or 6 pack) abdominal muscle.
Checking your tummy gap (Diastasis Recti)
A tummy gap or diastasis Recti is a gap of roughly 2.7cm or more between the 2 sides of the muscle that covers the front surface of the tummy area (Rectus Abdominis Muscle). If you have one, it is important to recover and reduce this gap which an expert can help you with. Remember any crunches, abdominal curls should not be completed if you have or are in any doubt about your tummy gap.
- Restoring your core muscles
You can download your free restoring your core guide at HERE and this will give you a step by step guide to reconnecting with and restoring your core muscle function. Once you have learned how to reconnect with your deep core muscles and can engage these effectively during every-day movements and exercises then you can move onto more strength based exercises to help build the strength of these muscles.
- Energy Considerations
Finding a balance in your energy will take a little time as your body adapts to the changes of being a new mum. Food is something that you can use to fuel yourself efficiently and help with the tiredness that you will no doubt be experiencing.
Below are some helpful tips to get you bursting with energy:
- Include a serving of wholegrains with each meal to release energy slowly throughout the day and keep you feeling energised. Think wholemeal pastas and rice, as well as super grains like quinoa, which will all help you keep energized for longer.
- Try eating beans as a means of carbohydrate, they are a fantastic source of energy that will last for hours. They’re also a great source of protein and fibre, so will keep you feeling fuller for longer – leaving you less likely to raid the goodie drawer.
- Have a water bottle at home, with you in your bag/in the car. When it is there it is easier to remember to reach for water. Staying hydrated is very important.
- Snack preparation is more crucial than ever now that you have less time on your hands. Be prepared and get some raw carrots peeled and chopped on a Monday for the week! Nuts and seeds are also great to snack on. (Time to prep like a BOSS!)
- Feel you need a sugary hit? Try some dark chocolate – Choose a bar with at least 70 per cent cocoa solids; it’s an excellent source of iron and magnesium – a little helping hand from dark chocolate is never a bad thing.
- Realistic Goals
At the end of the day, it is about finding your feet and developing a routine that works for you and your baby. This is different for everyone, there are no hard and fast rules so go easy on yourself.
- Listen to your body and pace yourself.
- Stay active as it will help both your recovery and your mood.
- Take time to boost your mood-taking time to rest, meeting friends and sharing your experiences with others.
- If you are back exercising try and schedule your workouts after feeding times if breastfeeding
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