Ok, I am just going to say it straight, getting back to fitness after having a baby is hard! I always thought that I would be back running in a matter of weeks. Well that certainly didn’t happen. I really underestimated the changes your body goes through during pregnancy.
For at least the first 6 weeks after labour just rest. Everything has changed with the arrival of our little ones and you need to give yourself time to get used to them, and to rest your body. I waited for my 6 week check with the GP before I even considered working out.
The body produces a number of different hormones during pregnancy. Relaxin, one such hormone, is responsible for relaxing the ligaments and pelvis. Your body continues producing this hormone for up to 4 months after you finish breastfeeding your baby. The side effect is that it is really easy to pull or strain a muscle and with all the care a baby needs, us mums can’t afford that at all. When getting back to exercise, it is really important to go with an “easy does it” approach.
Walking is a fantastic form of exercise. Not only is it easy on your muscles and ligaments, its also out in the fresh air and it often sends those grumpy babies to sleep. Try to walk to the local supermarket, coffee shop or baby group rather than drive. You will be walking for hours a day before you know it.
- Aqua aerobics/aqua fit
Aquafit is a great low impact exercise which works wonders building up both muscle strength and your endurance, while alleviating pressure on your joints. I go to aquafit classes at night which gives my husband some time with baby and me a well earned break/me time.
Swimming is a great way to start building up your core strength gently. If like me, your stomach muscles have really weakened, it’s one of the best ways to gently start building up your core strength again.
Whatever form of exercise you chose, always listen to your body. If you feel pain doing any type of exercise, my advice is to stop doing it and either ask your public health nurse or a physio. Please also remember to enjoy whatever route back to fitness you take.