Getting Back into Exercise After Pregnancy

Maternity Care

Tammy George

We all know the importance of resuming exercise after giving birth but how and when should you start?

The magazines are filled with stories of celebrity mums who jump straight back into exercise a few short weeks after giving birth. Within a couple of months, they are showing off their hard work in a glamorous magazine shoot. They make it look so easy but for most mums, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

When to Start Exercising

Most doctors recommend waiting until your post-natal check-up before resuming any major exercise. Sure taking a walk in the interim is fine for most new mothers but if you want to start weight training or running, it’s best to get your doctor’s approval first.

Once you have the all-clear from your doctor, you can go back to doing the type of exercise you enjoyed pre-pregnancy. However, for some women that isn’t so easy. Their preferred exercise may no longer fit in with the demands of a newborn baby. Sleep deprivation can mean you feel like you have run a marathon before 9am every day. Having enough time and energy for anything more than a daily shower can seem laughable.

Excess weight from pregnancy can also make some exercise difficult. For most mums, walking with baby in the pram is the easiest form of exercise. It gets mum and bub out of the house into the fresh air and sun, without the hassle of getting in the car. As fitness improves, the pace and distance of walks can be increased.

What Exercise is Next?

There has been a big increase in exercise options for new mums with bubs over the past decade. Many leisure centres and gyms now provide childcare services and class times that suit young children. Call your local centres to see what options are available and try a few casual sessions to make sure you and your child enjoy your time there before committing long-term.

Some indoor and outdoor fitness classes are designed for mums to bring their baby with them and exercise with their baby in the pram or incorporate bub into the exercise routine. There’s no need for hand weights when you have a 5 kg baby available. Most babies enjoy their time with mum and other babies.

If you make exercise one of your priorities, you can find the time to fit it into your busy schedule. Be willing to change your exercise or family timetable as your baby grows up or you have subsequent children. If you aren’t sure what is available in your local area, ask your child health nurse, call your local council or ask other new mums. You may need others to help you resume exercising, but a fit and happy mum is beneficial to everyone in the family.

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Tammy George

Please note: Tammy's blog is general advice only. For further information on this topic please consult your healthcare professional.

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