Most pregnant women yearn for their pre-pregnancy bodies, and they can begin this through postpartum exercises. Many want to begin shedding the pounds immediately, but strenuous exercise can be harmful. The body goes through trauma during pregnancy and delivery, therefore needing time to recover before resuming normal activities. Running, high-impact cardio and biking are not exercises that a woman will want to begin right after having a baby. There are several light exercises that can be done postpartum, all of which will begin to strengthen the body and speed up recovery time. Most doctors suggest a 6-week wait before resuming any exercise routine, so be sure to get approval before beginning.
1. Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises are probably the easiest and safest exercise that can be done after delivering a baby. These exercises can in fact be done throughout the pregnancy and even while in the recovery room. This exercise can be done by contracting the muscles surrounding the vagina. Inserting a finger into the vagina while trying this the first time will help get the feel of which muscles need to be used. Once the technique is perfected, they can be done anytime, anywhwere and no one has to know. These exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor, which in turn supports bladder control.
Another easy exercise that women can begin early postpartum is walking. Walking is non-stressful and can be done whenever it’s convenient. Simply put the baby in a stroller and both mom and child will get some fresh air and a change of scenery. Begin a walking routine three to five days a week, for about 5 to 10 minutes each time. As fitness level increases, so can the length and speed of the walks.
3. Pelvic Tilts
Pelvic tilts are a great exercise to strengthen the lower back and pelvic region, both areas that can bear a lot of stress during pregnancy. Pelvic tilts can be done by lying on the floor, bending the knees, and placing both feet flat on the ground. Arms should be placed on the floor with palms facing up. Once this position is obtained, slowly exhale while tilting the pelvis, remembering to keep the lower back pressed firmly into the floor. Inhale and arch the back slowly while pressing the tailbone into the floor until you achieve a slight rocking motion. Repeat this series 5 to 10 times a few times a week, but avoid this exercise if there are any disc problems in the back.
Yoga is a safe exercise that can be done while pregnant and after with simple modifications. Yoga can help both the mind and body deal with motherhood while getting the body back in shape. Breathing exercises help reduce the stress of being a new mother, while the yoga poses will restore the core muscles and boost flexibility. It has also been shown to be a useful weapon in battling postpartum depression. It is important to modify the poses as necessary, to decrease injury and ensure that no additional stress is being put on the body. If any pain is felt during a pose, either change it slightly, or move on to a new pose. Doing yoga a few minutes a day will get the body on the right path to a quick and full recovery.