Thursday, February 7, 2013

First Exercise After Having A Baby

That first exercise session for new mums, when we start to get fit again after having a baby, is really important.

Here is an example exercise session for mums to do with buggies in the park. 

(The gorgeous film-stars are the Queen's Park local Ready Steady Mums group from north London!)

I am often asked when should mums start exercise after giving birth? And the first thing to consider is how well you are recovering from pregnancy and birth. In the UK your GP will tell you at your 6 week check if you can safely exercise. S/he will check things like how well your uterus is contracting, whether your tummy muscles are coming back together, are any stitches healing. (You can read my own GP's advice on postnatal exercise here.) 

Don't wait and be put off getting active early on though. Get out for a walk, and even better, get out for a walk with a fellow mum. You might arrange a weekly walking date with friends, it really helps to have someone to meet up with to help make sure it actually happens. 

As well asking your doctor for advice, listen to your body to decide when you feel ready for proper exercise. You should feel comfortable walking at a brisk pace. You should also make sure you have "found" your pelvic floor and core tummy muscles. (Check level 1 with your RSM virtual personal trainer if you're not sure). 

Then, once you feel ready, you can gently get started with exercise. The example exercise session here for new mums is a good one to begin with. You need to watch your posture, especially in those early weeks when the hormone relaxin is still making your ligaments and tendons loose. Take it easy and build up week after week. You and your friends can also register as a new Local RSM group and get support from Ready Steady Mums with your exercise sessions.

Last question. How many exercise sessions a week should new mums do? My answer: more than zero. Have fun and celebrate what exercise you do!

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