M2M Fitness Brighton & Hove

Pre and Post Natal

admin November 27, 2012 3,339 Comments on Pre and Post Natal
Pre and Post Natal

How soon after giving birth can I start exercising?

A lot depends on how fit you were when you had your baby. If you exercised right up until the end of your pregnancy, you can do some light exercise and stretching from the start.If you stopped exercising during your pregnancy or are a newcomer to fitness, it is better to start exercising more slowly.Fitness aside, all new mums can begin exercising pelvic floor and lower tummy muscles as soon as they feel ready.

When you feel up to it, take your baby out for walks in his pushchair. Getting out and about will help to lift your mood and exercise your body gently. As your strength returns, you can expand your walking routine by speeding up and taking longer walks.

It’s best to avoid swimming for the first six weeks to make sure you don’t pick up an infection.

When should I delay exercising?

If you had back or pelvic pain during your pregnancy, talk to your GP or a physiotherapist before taking up exercise.Leaking a little urine when you cough, sneeze or laugh is common after having a baby. It can be hard not to leak when you’re exerting yourself in exercise too. It’ll help if you work on strengthening your pelvic floor before returning to exercise.It’s best not to do sit-ups and aerobic exercise, such as running, aerobics or tennis, until your pelvic floor has recovered. These types of vigorous exercise can put a big strain on your pelvic floor muscles.

With all the distractions of a new baby it can be hard to remember to do pelvic floor exercises. Read our tips on how to fit your exercises into your day. If you’re still finding you leak six weeks after your baby’s birth, ask your GP to refer you to physiotherapist or a continence nurse.

What’s the best way to lose weight?

Eating sensibly and exercising regularly gives you the best chance of returning to a healthy weight.The relief of having your body back may mean you’re eager to shed that baby weight. But the weeks after your baby’s birth are not a good time to start dieting, especially if you are breastfeeding.You may find you lose weight simply through breastfeeding, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t. Try to see your baby’s first year as the time it takes you to safely return to your normal weight.

A good goal is to lose between half a kilo and a kilo (a pound or two) a week. Losing weight slowly makes it more likely that the weight stays off.

If you weren’t active during your pregnancy, start with a 15-minute routine, say, a brisk walk that works your arms and legs, and gradually increase to 30 minutes.

If you tapered off your fitness routine towards the end of pregnancy, begin at the level you stopped exercising at when you were pregnant. You can always increase the intensity or time as you feel ready. If you develop any aches or pains, ask your GP for advice.

Another option is to find a suitable exercise class.  Buggy fitness classes are perfect as the exercises will be suited to post natal women and you will not have to worry about finding a babysitter.  This can also be useful if you are still breastfeeding or have feelings of anxiety about being separated from you baby.  Another benefit will be meeting other new parents in your local area.

If you can, exercise three to five days a week. Whatever your chosen form of exercise, whether it’s walking, swimming, or attending a class, work out for at least 30 minutes at a time.

To get the most of out your workout, exercise so that you feel a little out of breath but can still hold a conversation.

How can I tell if I am doing too much too soon?

Your body will tell you if you’re pushing yourself too hard. Over doing things in the first few weeks may cause the bleeding (lochia) you have after your baby’s birth to turn pink or red and to flow more heavily. This is a signal to slow down. Check with your doctor if vaginal bleeding restarts after you thought it had stopped.

My tummy feels very slack. What can I do?

Pregnancy can leave your tummy muscles over-stretched. This over-stretching is called diastasis rectus abdominus.

To find out if you have diastasis rectus abdominus, and not just normal pregnancy stretching, your midwife should give you a ‘rec check’. Or you can do it yourself:

    • Lie on your back with your knees bent.
    • Place your hand flat on your tummy just above your belly button, with your fingers pointing directly down towards your pubic bone.
    • Breathe in and as you breathe out, gently lift your head and shoulders off the floor as though attempting a sit-up.
    • Feel for your tummy muscles coming together under your fingers as you try to sit up.

Try to count how many fingers span the gap between the muscles that meet over your tummy. You may need to try a few times before you feel anything. If you can’t feel anything after three attempts, ask your midwife to check.  A fully qualified pre and post natal exercise Personal Trainer should also be able to perform the ‘rec check’ for you.

A gap between the muscles of two finger widths or less is considered normal after having a baby. If your gap is three finger widths or more, or you notice your tummy making a dome shape as you try to sit up, you have over-stretched muscles.

Pelvic floor exercises and gentle lower tummy muscle exercises should tighten your muscles. Don’t try to do sit-ups.

If the gap remains three finger widths or more after a couple of weeks, ask your GP to refer you to a physiotherapist. A physiotherapist can give you specific exercises to help you.

Leaving diastasis rectus abdominus untreated may increase your chances of developing back pain and will make it harder for you to regain a flat tummy.

Can I exercise if I am breastfeeding?

Yes. It makes sense not to do any exercise that makes your breasts sore or tender, and try to exercise after feeding your baby. Your breasts won’t feel uncomfortably full, and your baby will appreciate it, too.Some studies have found that if a mum breastfeeds straight after very rigorous exercise, her milk may contain high levels of lactic acid that can temporarily affect its taste. However, this only applies to truly strenous exercise.You may find that your nursing bra doesn’t support you enough and that you need to wear a sports bra during exercise. You may also need to use breast pads.

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