Post-Natal Exercise

Studies have shown that only 10% of women exercise during pregnancy, therefore many women have not exercised regularly for quite some time. However definite gains have been found from beginning a gentle exercise program early in the post natal period. Time for exercising is not neglecting your baby but making you more able to care for your baby.
This article is designed to give you advice on returning to exercise in the postnatal period. If you have any queries regarding this information feel free to contact any of our staff at MD Health.

Exercise Guidelines

• Allow recovery, pace yourself
• Pelvic Floor and deep abdominals must come first
• Gradual progression: core, low load, low impact
• Increase slowly and gradually
• It is safe to start walking at about 2 weeks. Begin with a short walk and slowly increase distance over the following weeks. Keep the walks to maximum of 15 to 30 minutes during the first 4 weeks.
• The safe time frame for return to impact exercise or weight training is around 12 weeks postnatally but individual assessment is imperative
• The general guidelines for return to normal exercise, would be to gradually progress from light walking (distance and speed) at approximately 6 weeks and recommence weight training at very low levels
• Swimming may be commenced at approximately 6 weeks post delivery

Exercise Modifications

• Breast Support
• Feed prior to exercise if possible
• Attention to calories and hydration
• Avoid high impact or heavily resisted exercise for 12 weeks or longer
• Avoid stressing or straining the pelvic floor or deep abdominal muscles
• Avoid prolonged standing
• Avoid overloading the spine or abdominal exercises that are overly intense
• If a separation (diastisis) of the abdominal’s is present, avoid curls until the diastisis is reduced

Include

• Pelvic floor contractions
• Do not progress to weight work or impact if unable to control bladder or bowel. Seek advice where necessary
• Train to contract pelvic floor with deep abdominal prior to lifting
• Commence with simple transverse abdominal (TA) in drawing. Only progress to abdominal curl when diastisis has reduced (closed) and when you are able to maintain deep contraction throughout whole curl

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