Getting back into exercise as a new mum can be a challenge. You may want your exercise fix but you’re likely to be tired and worn-out too. So how can you get back into it safely, without overdoing things? Sophie Kay from Biamother has some recommendations.
The first workout you should be doing as a new mother (apart from gazing adoringly at your new bundle of joy) is your pelvic floor exercises. As soon as you’ve had your first week after delivery you can start gently exercising your pelvic floor in connection with your breathing. Every time you feed your new-born try doing 5 holds of 10 seconds on each exhale and then 10 quick pulses on an exhale, making sure that you’re relaxing your pelvic floor completely between efforts on your inhales.
Once you’ve been cleared by your GP at your post-delivery check you can start to think about exercising again. In the early days’ time will be tight so try fitting in exercises while you can rather than attempting a full workout. You could do 10 pelvic tilts every time you’re standing at the changing table dealing with a dirty nappy or 10 squats every time your baby falls asleep.
If you were a gym-goer before having your baby it might not be so easy to get back in there, especially if your gym is not baby-friendly so focus on what you can do at home. You can get a great workout in just using your own bodyweight or whatever you have in the house, including water bottles, tins of food or packs of nappies.
Pregnancy and early motherhood can play havoc with your posture because of the changes that occur during pregnancy and all of the hours spent cuddling and feeding your new baby. Focus your workouts on gently stretching out your chest, shoulders, and neck while also strengthening the muscles through your upper back and core to remain strong and upright. Resistance bands can be very useful for these workouts.
Life can be quite overwhelming as a new mum so try not to compare your performance and body to anything that has come before. Look at every small achievement as a PB PB (post-baby personal best) and celebrate these. You and your body have been through an awful lot so cut yourself a bit of slack, you’ll get to where you want to be!
Sophie Kay is part of a team of health experts, mostly mothers, at Biamother who provide expert, personalised wellness guidance for pregnant women and new mothers. Sophie has seen first-hand that increasing strength and mobility has both mental and physical benefits for postnatal women.