Your body goes through many changes during and after pregnancy. Experts suggest that a new mom will take at least one year to recover after giving birth. During this time, postpartum exercise will help you to strengthen your body and mind to maintain a healthy life.
Postpartum workouts will help you tone and strengthen the muscles to improve your sleep, lose some extra weight you gained during pregnancy, and relieve stress.
Kegels or pelvic floor exercises are great for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. The best part is these can be done anytime, anywhere.
- To do Kegels, tighten your pelvic floor muscles. You can identify this muscle group because these are the muscles that help to stop urination.
- Hold your muscles for 10 to 12 seconds and release.
- Can be done several times a day.
Supine Leg Lifts
Supine leg lifts help to strengthen the pelvic floor and transverse abdominal muscles.
- Lie on your back and press your lower leg into the floor.
- Exhaling, lift your legs in the air and create a 90-degree angle from your waist.
- Take a deep breath and lower your legs slowly. You may lower one leg at a time.
- On the exhale, bring your legs back up again.
- Do at least 10 reps on each side.
Bridges help to strengthen your core, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, and your knees bent upwards.
- Keeping your shoulders on the ground, lift your core and hips.
- Hold this position for 4 to 5 seconds and slowly come down again.
- Repeat this 10 times.
Side plank leg lifts
This exercise is glutes, obliques, and even the shoulder muscles. It is slightly intense so you should wait for 6 to 8 weeks postpartum to do this exercise.
- Lie on the floor facedown, with your arms below your shoulders and your feet flexed.
- Turn sideways and rest on your forearm and get into a side plank position.
- Raise your top leg. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
- Repeat this exercise for 1 to 2 sets on each side.
Tips about Postpartum Exercises
Before you start any postpartum exercises, you should give your body time to heal. Pushing yourself too hard, in the beginning, will set back your recovery time and your exercises won’t be fruitful. Start exercising at least 4 to 6 weeks after delivery for 5 to 10 minutes a day and then slowly increase your workout time.
Pay attention to your bleeding
You will bleed for a few days post-delivery. Some moms experience a pause in bleeding with heavier bleeding after they begin their postpartum workout. If the bleeding increases after you begin your workout, you need to give yourself some more time.
Refrain from jerky movements
During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called “relaxin” to help your body give birth. This hormone weakens your joints and ligaments and can remain in your body for up to 6 months. Your pelvis may still be loose and your joints may be wobbly.
Be mindful of abdominal workouts
Many moms experience “diastasis recti” which is when the rectus abdominal muscles or the six-pack muscles separate because they are stretched during pregnancy. Putting extra pressure on these exercises during a postpartum workout may worsen this issue.
Keep yourself hydrated
You should remember to drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day once you begin your postpartum exercises, especially if you are breastfeeding.
Remember to take it easy when getting back to your postpartum exercise routine. It takes plenty of physical and mental energy to look after a newborn and you will need time to adjust to your new routine. Take good care of yourself so that you will be able to give your best to your baby!