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Returning to Exercise After Birth

three woman on studio floor doing holding yoga pose together as they exercise

It’s back to school time and for many new moms, it’s back to exercise after giving birth! If you didn’t stay active before, or during your pregnancy, it’s not too late to start! Keep these tips in mind for a safe return to exercise after your baby’s arrival. 

When can I start getting active after birth? 

We’re glad you’re motivated to move! We recommend taking it easy for the first two weeks after birth. Get a lot of rest (or at least, as much as your newborn will allow!) and let your body recover. Birth is an intense experience that takes a lot out of your physical and mental strength. Slow down for the first two weeks, get to know your baby and your new routine. 

Once you’re ready to exercise, start with gentle stretches at home such as the cat-cow pose. 

At six weeks, we recommend coming in for a pelvic floor check-up. This visit will include checking for your ab separation (diastasis recti) and assessing your pelvic floor condition. From there we can suggest an exercise program tailored to your current strength. Gentle mom and baby Yoga or Pilates is a great way to re-introduce active movement. In our hood (West Toronto), there’re many local teachers that lead excellent mom and baby classes, such as Nicky Poole and Laura Wood.

At twelve weeks, your body is recovering and getting stronger. You can start more medium impact exercises such as a postnatal boot camp. If you want to try running or jogging, check in with your physiotherapist to assess your pelvic floor strength. 

By six months, you should feel ready to return to your high impact activities, but, the key is to always listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t push yourself. Reach out to your pelvic floor physiotherapist for guidance so you can get the most out of your workout. 

What should I look out for as I start exercising? 

As you get back into your workout routine, watch for:
Bulging or tenting at the belly
Heaviness or pressure at the vagina after exercising
• Pelvic pain during or after the workout

Urine leakage while doing the exercises

These are signs that your body may not be ready for these kinds of movements. 

How can pelvic physiotherapy help? 

During pregnancy, your pelvic floor is under a lot of stress, and then during birth (either vaginal or c-section delivery), your entire core is strained! Meeting with a pelvic physiotherapist allows you to re-connect with your body, know what to do to regain your core strength, and how to modify your exercise routine to meet your body’s changing needs. By checking your pelvic floor, you can safely maximize your workout and achieve optimal result.  

Still need some motivation? Try exercising with a local postnatal fitness class. These classes are specialized for your body after birth, and, you are building your social circle while bonding with other new moms.  

Remember that getting stronger will help you take care of your baby without pain, which allows you to enjoy motherhood even more.  If you’re thinking about returning to exercise after giving birth, let’s talk. Make an appointment or call InvigoPhysio today.

What are your favourite core strengthening exercises? Let us know in the comments below!

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