Hey there, new moms! Congratulations on your beautiful journey into motherhood. It’s an incredible experience, but let’s be real – it can really take a toll on your body. And for those of us moms who loooove fitness and an active lifestyle, it’s totally normal after giving birth to want to regain your pre-pregnancy fitness and feel like yourself again. But waiting at least 2 weeks for postpartum exercise is crucial (and often times you might need to wait a bit longer, depending on your birth story. Be sure to check with your postpartum health care provider for the right timeline for you!)
But, and it’s a big “but,” you’ve got to approach postpartum exercise with some caution and put recovery first. In this article, we’ll chat about why it’s essential to wait at least two weeks before diving into postpartum exercises, the perks of these workouts, and some safe exercises to kickstart your fitness journey. So, grab a cup of tea (or coffee, because let’s face it, you probably need it), and let’s get started on this post-baby fitness adventure! 🏋️♀️👶
The Impatience is Real
Alright, let’s address the elephant in the room – you’re psyched to get back to your workouts, like, yesterday. Your active lifestyle is part of who you are, and that hasn’t changed just because you’ve got an adorable baby to look after now. But before we dive headfirst into the world of postpartum exercises, we’ve got to understand why we need to hit the pause button for at least two weeks postpartum.
Why Wait, Though?
Your enthusiasm for working out is fantastic, but your body has been through a lot. During pregnancy, your body goes through some serious changes to make room for that little miracle. Your uterus expands, organs shift around, and hormones are doing their thing. Plus, if you had a vaginal birth, you might’ve had some tearing or an episiotomy, and if it was a C-section, that’s major abdominal surgery right there. So, here’s why we’re asking you to chill for two weeks:
- Uterine Healing: Post-birth, your uterus needs time to heal and shrink back to its normal size. Too much exercise too soon could mess with this process and lead to complications like postpartum hemorrhage.
- Muscle Recovery: Pregnancy and childbirth put your muscles through the wringer, especially those abs and your pelvic floor. Giving them time to recover helps prevent strain and injury.
- Hormones Are Still Settling: Hormones like relaxin, which increased during pregnancy, stay elevated for a bit after birth. These hormones make your joints more flexible and prone to injury, so waiting lets them settle down.
- Energy Levels: The first few weeks with a newborn can be a sleep-deprived blur. It’s essential to prioritize rest before hitting the gym to keep you energized and focused.
But by far, the most important reason to wait before incorporating heavy workouts again is so that you don’t prolong the process. Patience in the beginning will prevent problems and injury going forward so that you can be totally healed and do all the fitness-y things you want. Don’t skip the healing process otherwise you’ll have to come back to it eventually.
Benefits of Postpartum Exercise
Alright, now that we’ve got the waiting game down, let’s talk about why getting back to your fitness routine is going to be so worth it:
- Improved Mood: Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which can help alleviate symptoms of postpartum depression and boost your overall mood.
- Increased Energy: Regular physical activity can increase your energy levels, helping you stay alert and focused during those sleep-deprived nights.
- Weight Management: Exercise can aid in shedding the extra pounds gained during pregnancy and toning your body.
- Strengthened Core: Postpartum exercises that focus on the core can help repair abdominal muscles that may have separated during pregnancy.
- Enhanced Posture: Many postpartum women experience changes in posture due to the physical demands of motherhood. Targeted exercises can help improve posture and reduce back pain.
- Stress Relief: Taking some time for yourself to exercise can be a great stress reliever and an opportunity to recharge.
Safe and Fun Postpartum Exercises
Now that you’re super clear on why we’re holding off for two weeks, let’s talk about some exercises that’ll get you back in the game safely and satisfyingly:
- Pelvic Floor Exercises: Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, are excellent for rebuilding strength in the pelvic area. These exercises can help with bladder control and prevent issues like urinary incontinence.
- Walking: A gentle walk around your neighborhood or a local park is a great way to get moving without putting too much strain on your body. Start with short walks and gradually increase the duration as you feel comfortable.
- Deep Breathing and Stretching: Deep breathing exercises combined with gentle stretching can help relax tense muscles and promote overall well-being. Focus on deep inhalations and exhalations while stretching your arms, legs, and back. The Core Corrective has a complete library of healing breath exercises that will help to flatten your belly and fix diastasis recti, while making your body and core strong.
- Postpartum Yoga: Postpartum yoga classes are designed specifically for new moms. These classes focus on gentle stretching, relaxation, and core strengthening. Look for local classes or online resources.
- Low-Impact Aerobics: Low-impact aerobics, such as water aerobics or prenatal/postpartum fitness classes, can provide a cardiovascular workout without placing excessive stress on your joints.
- Bodyweight Exercises: Once you’ve received the green light from your healthcare provider, you can gradually incorporate bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and modified push-ups to build strength.
- Light Resistance Training: Using resistance bands or light dumbbells under the guidance of a qualified trainer can help you regain muscle tone and strength safely. Check out Atomic Body for a complete HIIT program that’s also diastasis-friendly!
Alright, fit mamas, it’s time to get back in the game, but with a safety-first mindset. Waiting for two weeks postpartum is like giving your body a little TLC so you can crush those workouts without worry. And when you do get back into the groove, remember that every mama’s postpartum journey is unique. Listen to your body, consult your healthcare provider, and enjoy the journey of reclaiming your fitness, one baby step at a time (literally, if you’re walking with your little one in tow). 🏋️♀️👶 Keep rocking that mom life! 💪 For more resources and support, join our awesome free AlphaMamas Fitness Facebook Community and connect with me and other moms in the same season of life. It’s so much fun!