If you exercised during pregnancy, you will now feel the benefits of your prenatal workouts. Your muscles are toned, you are able to lose weight more quickly, and you can recover faster after birth. However, some form of exercise after pregnancy is necessary to keep fit and stay healthy. Aerobics, swimming, walking or yoga can help prevent post partum depression or mood swings. Exercise after pregnancy can be beneficial for you and your baby.
Benefits of Exercise
There are many benefits to be gained with regular exercise after pregnancy. Aside from promoting weight loss and helping prevent post partum depression, exercise will improve your cardiovascular health and boost your energy level. It will also help condition your abdominal muscles and restore overall muscle strength.
Breastfeeding and Exercise
As long as you stick to moderate physical activity, exercise should not have any adverse effect on your breast milk. Some studies, however, seem to indicate that high intensity workouts may cause lactic acid to accumulate in breast milk. This could produce a sour taste in the milk. If you breastfeed your baby, avoid strenuous physical exercise. You can also discard the milk produced in the half-hour after your workout.
You will also feel more comfortable if you nurse your baby before working out. Wear a supportive bra while exercising. Keep hydrated by drinking lots of fluids.
When to Start
If you had a normal delivery without complications, you should be able to start your exercise program a few days after giving birth or as soon as you feel ready. Even women who had a C-section are encouraged to begin walking as soon as possible. Start by walking slowly for 15-20 minutes every day, but not to the point where you feel fatigue. Gradually increase by 5 minutes each session until you can walk without getting tired for 30 minutes.
Women who had a caesarian operation should delay abdominal exercises for at least 4-6 weeks after giving birth and must avoid lifting heavy objects.
To be on the safe side, always consult your doctor or health care provider before starting your exercise after pregnancy. Stop exercising if you feel fatigue, pain, or experience bright red vaginal bleeding.
Exercises to Try
When you are feel ready to exercise, start with a daily walk or a few laps in the pool. You will eventually want to focus on core strength, cardio, and strength training. Exercises after pregnancy to develop core strength include pelvic tilts, leg slide, bridge, Kegel and back extensions.
To work on your cardiovascular fitness, remember to start slow and easy. Avoid high impact exercises such as running or aerobics when you are just starting out. Walking, swimming and working out on an elliptical trainer are excellent forms of exercise after pregnancy. As you get stronger, you may even consider adding a stroller to your walking or jogging routine and take baby along with you when you exercise.
When you start to exercise after pregnancy, always let your energy levels guide you in your workout. Back off if you feel tired, or increase the intensity when you feel stronger. Interval training can help you burn more calories and shed unwanted baby fat faster.