In a world of celebrity moms with fit bodies – and when we say fit, we mean fit-with-abs fit – weeks after their delivery, the pressure is on for many new moms. But don’t be pressured into getting fit enough for American Ninja Warrior a few months after your delivery. Otherwise, you may be proving something to others but putting your body at risk – and an unnecessary risk, too, if we may add.
The time between your baby’s delivery and you hitting an American Family Fitness gym depends on your fitness level before and during your pregnancy, the type of delivery, and your body’s changes post-delivery. You should also ask your doctor’s approval before returning to exercise, especially if you have had health issues.
For Vaginal Birth
You can perform gentle abdominal and pelvic floor exercises a few days, usually 3-4 days, after birth. But listen to your body – if you feel even a twinge of pain, stop. Give your body time to rest and recover after the trauma it has been through.
You should never engage in strenuous exercises even when you feel that your body can take it. Keep off them for 12 weeks, at least, after birth. You should instead start with a gentle 10-minute walk around the yard and gradually increase the pace and time of your walks. You may be able to enjoy a brisk 30-minute walk, perhaps while pushing the stroller, a few weeks after a natural delivery.
Never swim in any body of water until your uterine bleeding has stopped, which should take around seven days, and after your post-natal checkup (6 t0 8 weeks after delivery). This isn’t just for the sake of hygiene but also to reduce the risk of infections.
For Caesarian Births
Keep in mind that a caesarian operation is a major surgery and, thus, it will take at least six weeks for your body to heal. But you may be able to perform gentle pelvic floor exercises a few days after your operation, as well as do abdominal exercises when you feel able to. But never perform abdominal curls, crunches, and sit-ups just yet since these can worsen diastasis recti and put undue pressure on the scar.
Lifting heavy weights is also an obvious big no-no, as well as high-impact exercises. Even after 6 to 8 weeks, your body will still be on the recovery stage so these exercises should be avoided. You can, however, start walking, engage in low-impact aerobics, and ride a stationary bike.
Again, stop if you feel any pain or discomfort, especially if you feel a pulling sensation near or on your scar. You can return to exercise after two weeks or so, and see what happens then.