When to Start Exercising After Pregnancy?
Figuring out when you can get back into the grind after giving birth can be tough, especially if you haven’t spoken to your family doctor or OB-GYN about working out after pregnancy. With that being said, the best way to get advice for your personal situation is to talk to your family doctor as they will have a professional understanding of your current situation and whether working out is a good idea or not. Otherwise, below are some important things to consider when it comes to figuring out when you should start exercising after pregnancy.
The Benefits of Exercising After Pregnancy
Aside from being able to get rid of any extra baby weight, exercising after being pregnant can help to make your body stronger and healthier than it has been in over 9 months. Some of the most obvious benefits that you’ll experience by getting into a workout routine include:
- Improved heart health
- Stronger abdominal muscles
- Higher levels of energy
- Stress relief
- Better sleep at night
Can I Exercise and Breast Feed?
There’s nothing that says you can’t breast feed and exercise, however, there has been some indication that as a woman works out, lactic acid is released into her breast milk which can create a sour tasting milk that your baby may not like. With that being said, this is not a permanent issue as once your body has recuperated from your workout, the milk will go back to normal and this is a relatively rare issue.
If you’re concerned about poor tasting breast milk, you can always either feed your baby before you workout or make sure that you pump before you workout. After you’ve finished exercising, take a shower; express 2-3 milliliters of milk and you should be okay to feed an hour after your workout.
Vaginal Delivery and Exercise
As mentioned, everyone’s body is different and depending on whether you experienced complications during the birthing process or not, this advice may or may not apply to you. It’s always best to consult a physician to get a clear and personalized response when it comes to working out after you give birth.
Most women who have seamless vaginal deliveries are able to begin working out a few days after they have given birth. Most women say that you’ll be able to tell whether you’re physically able to push yourself to the limits or not and if you’re still in pain, it’s best to wait until your body has had a sufficient amount of time to heal. With that being said, it’s important that you start out with a light exercise and then gradually work your way up. In the event that you have stitches, you should always allow those to heal before you start working out vigorously.
C-Section and Exercise
Due to the fact that a C-section is essentially surgery, there are certain risk factors that you need to look out for before you start working out. First, your body is going to need to get back to its normal and healthy self before you jump on the treadmill, especially if you have staples or stitches. The last thing you’ll want is to have to take another trip back to the hospital because you couldn’t be patient and you ended up pulling your stitches.
Even though it might be tempting to get back into the swing of things as soon as possible, working out too early after giving birth is only going to do you more harm than good.
Setting Exercise Goals
If you have been cleared by your physician to workout, the first thing you need to remember is that you most likely haven’t been active for 9 or more months. Your body isn’t going to be used to going for a one-hour run at the end of the day, and it’s always recommended that you set some workout goals for yourself.
For example, the Department of Health and Human Services recommend that healthy women get up to 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity. However, this should be spread out throughout the week, which equates to about 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day.
It’s important to remember to be safe while you’re trying to achieve your workout goal to protect yourself and your body. Some important tips include:
- Do a sufficient warm up and cool down
- Start off slowly and increase your pace over time
- Drink a lot of water while working out
- Wear supportive bras and nursing pads
- If you feel pain, stop exercising immediately
Staying Motivated is Key
After giving birth, your body is going to go through a lot of changes similar to how it went through changes prior to the birth of your baby. You can expect hormonal changes, mood swings, and even difficulties with getting things done as a result of taking care of your newborn. Making sure that you keep up with your fitness goals and remain motivated throughout the week is the most important and there are plenty of ways that you can incorporate your baby into your daily workouts.
For example, you can carry your baby while doing your aerobic exercise or you can even push their stroller when you go out for your daily walk. Your body will thank you for the exercise and your baby will love their daily dose of vitamin D.
Eating Healthy is Necessary
Even though it was easy to indulge in foods that you normally would have avoided during your pregnancy, it’s now time to revolutionize the way you eat because you’re not going to achieve your fitness goals without an appropriate eating plan. Exercising is only one part of becoming your best self; you need to monitor the things you eat on a daily basis.
When you sit down to plan out your daily exercise routine you will also want to create a grocery list and make sure that it fits into your schedule as well. The more organized you are, the easier it’s going to be to achieve your pre-baby body, endurance, and strength. There’s no reason as to why you can’t exercise after pregnancy if you’re healthy and ready, you just have to listen to your body and whether it thinks it’s ready or not.