Congratulations! Not only have you made it through a long 9 months of weight gain, hormonal fluctuations, nausea, fatigue, joint aches, and any number of other joyful pregnancy symptoms... You've also given birth to your gorgeous baby, AND you are alert enough to be reading articles online - good for you!
Now, as you find your feet in this parenting caper, you might be starting to feel ready to get moving, and get exercising. (Or, you might still be struggling to find the energy to get off the couch, not to mention out of the house, and exercise is the last thing on your mind)!
Either way, don't stress! Both of these emotions are very, very normal.
There’s quite a bit of misinformation out there about how and when to get back to exercise, so here are some of our bodyBEgood pointers, to help you get back to exercise safely:
1. THE EARLY DAYS...
The good news is, you can start SOME exercise very soon after you've given birth. Gentle pelvic floor exercises can be done as soon as you've had your first wee, and gentle 'tummy bracing' or 'core activation' exercise can start in the first few days after birth also.
These exercises should always be pain free! You can do them in short bursts several times a day, and you can build up how long you hold the contraction for, and how much intensity you use. Make sure you keep breathing throughout pelvic floor and core exercises.
Your #1 exercise in the first few weeks is simply walking, at a manageable pace, and resting! Regardless of whether you were a super-fit, triathlon-running, netball-playing, superwoman before and during your pregnancy, or you were a couch potato who didn’t own activewear of any description, remember that your body needs time to recover from pregnancy and childbirth! Your hormone levels are volatile, and your mind and body are adjusting to a major lifestyle change. Don't be too hard on yourself in those early weeks!
2. GET YOUR PELVIC FLOOR WORKING well!
Learn how to use your pelvic floor correctly! You want to be able to 'switch it on', and feel a contraction, or a lifting or tensing through the muscles between your pubic bone, tail bone and sit bones. You also want to be able to feel these muscles 'relax' when you let the contraction go.
If you can manage this, great!
If you are unsure about pelvic floor exercises, or if any of the following sound familiar, seeing a Pelvic Floor Physio is a must:
When I squeeze, it feels like nothing happens down there...?
When I try to do pelvic floor exercises, I get a spasmy feeling, and then they ache afterwards...
It hurts to do it!.
A Pelvic Floor Physio will teach you to feel confident that you are using your pelvic floor muscles properly and safely.
Pelvic floor exercises are boring, boring, boring - but ladies, they will stop you wetting your pants, they will keep all your internal 'bits' in the correct place, and they will help you enjoy sex! I'd say that makes them worth doing!
3. What you should try to avoid
Trying to get your 'flat tummy', or 'pre baby body' back straight after giving birth can often be a recipe for disaster. Crunches, situps, planks, pushups... all of these exercises can be great for building strength, but they are usually not for the postnatal period!.
They tend to work your upper abdominal muscles, and not the muscles that help reduce 'mummy tummy', or the tummy bulge that concerns so many Mums. Stay away from these sort of things for at least the first few months, until you know for sure you are properly able to rely on your pelvic floor and other core muscles to support you.
4. GET yourself in to body-be-good!
All of our staff love working with new Mums, and we are passionate about helping you regain and improve your fitness and body confidence. We have physios who are highly skilled in pelvic floor assessment, and exercise for new Mums.
We have lots of brilliant options for new Mums interested in exercise, and you can bring your baby with you!
Our classes have a strong focus on pelvic floor and core exercise, posture education, strength work, and involve safe, effective physio-led exercise. And, they’re fun!
Currently, we run Postnatal exercise classes 5 times a week:
Mondays 11am, Tuesdays 7:15pm and 8:15pm, Thursdays 10am and Fridays 1pm
These 45 minute classes are $27 for a casual pass, and health insurance rebates apply.
To start, call us today to book your Physio assessment.
Or, if you are experiencing back or pelvic pain, other injuries, or are looking for a more individual exercise program, we would love to have you involved in our Clinical classes, which you can read more about here.
Feel free to forward any other questions via email to email@example.com, or call us on (03) 5339 1401 to book your assessment with a Pelvic Floor Physio - we’d love to help you out!