Returning to exercise after having a baby is recommended for the excellent health benefits exercise brings. We know that regular exercise
- improves your fitness
- helps you to maintain a healthy weight
- has positive effects on your mental health
- reduces your risk factors for a whole range of diseases.
Unfortunately, many new mums feel a lot of pressure to lose weight and get fit quickly after having their baby, and may return to the wrong kinds of exercise too soon.
So, what should you do?
This depends on individual circumstances, but as a general guide:
- 0-6 weeks: Take things slowly - your body is still recovering from pregnancy and delivery. Gentle low impact exercise such as walking is ideal, and you can gradually increase this over time. You should also be doing pelvic floor muscle exercises daily.
- 6 weeks – 3 months: You may feel ready to do more by this stage. This can be a good time to start low impact exercises such as cycling and swimming. It is best for most women to still keep to low impact exercise.
- 3 months onwards: Most guidelines recommend you can return to all forms of exercise by this point. However, remember to build up gradually, especially when returning to high impact and high load exercises, to avoid injury.
At all stages, women should be aware of signs of problems. These can include:
If you have any of these problems, seek advice from a Women’s Health Physiotherapist. With all exercise, it is important to listen to your body – if something feels wrong, or if you develop any new symptoms, seek advice.