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Woman performing yoga and exercising after childbirth

Exercising After Childbirth: 3 Postpartum Exercises You Should Consider

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Once you’ve given birth, you may begin reminiscing to those simple days before pregnancy.

26/10/2016 - 10:31

Once you’ve given birth, you may begin reminiscing to those simple days before pregnancy. When you could wake up for 6am runs and then go for a swim in the evening. While you may be eager to get back into shape with some exercising after childbirth, your body may not be ready. Your body may still be recovering from giving birth to your child and you wouldn’t want to be running like Usain Bolt or swimming like Michael Phelps. Having said that, here are some safe and easy exercises to ease you back into working out.

Kegel exercises

Women practicing kegel exercises while sitting

These exercises may be familiar to you if you were doing them during pregnancy. Also known as a pelvic floor exercise, the movement consists of contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. How does it help? Well, after giving birth, your pelvic floor muscles can be weaker than they used to be, which can lead to urinary incontinence. They may also help speed up the healing after a tear during childbirth. In short, they’ll help you avoid adult diapers in the future.

Here’s how you can do Kegel exercises:

  1. Find your pelvic floor muscles. Pretend you’re trying to hold in your urine flow. It’s similar to a feeling of squeezing. Those muscles you’re feeling are the pelvic floor muscles.
  2. Contract and release. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, and hold it for about five seconds. Then, relax for five seconds and try again. Try it for about four to five times in a row. The long term goal is ten seconds. Make sure it’s only those muscles and not your tummy or your butt.
  3. Repeat at least three times a day, so you can build those muscles.


Pelvic tilts

An illustration on how to do pelvic tilts

Exercising after childbirth shouldn’t be too difficult. Pelvic tilts are super easy to do, and they are another great postpartum exercise for your abs. Of course, they won’t give you the six pack abs of a bodybuilder, if that’s what you want. They’re just to help you strengthen your abdominal muscles and help you slowly recover from childbirth.

Try this:

  1. Lie on the floor, bend your knees so your feet are on the floor. Put your hands behind your head.
  2. Hold your back against the floor and tilt your hips to raise your butt very slightly.
  3. Hold the position for about a few seconds, and slowly move your hips back to their original position.


Flexibility exercises

Woman practicing flexibility exercises

As part of exercising after childbirth, you can also perform stretches to get your flexibility back. Try the following:

  1. Leg sliding. Lie down on the floor with one knee bent. Slide the heel of the straight leg up to your butt while keeping the help in the floor. Remember to keep your back flat. Repeat up to five times for each leg.
  2. Ankle circles. Simply rotate your ankles in clockwise circles for about ten times, and then anti-clockwise for about ten times. Repeat with each leg three to five times.

Once you feel up to it, go for low impact exercises like walking, yoga, or cycling. Avoid high impact postpartum exercises like running or sprinting. Swimming is a no-no if you still have vagina discharge. And if you notice your lochia colour changing to pink or red, or if it starts flowing again after it’s stopped a while, then you may doing too much. Speak to your healthcare professional for advice.

Exercising after childbirth can be great in helping you get that energy back, and losing a few kilos. Just be sure to start off slow, safe and easy, and have fun while you’re at it!

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