It’s important that for 6 weeks after birth you rest and recover. Your physio or midwife may recommend a few gentle exercises to encourage your recovery but unless they instruct you, stick to slow and gentle walks which are great for circulation, digestion and mood, and practise some breath work.

After receiving the green light from your GP at the 6 week check up, this is usually a safe time for women to incorporate added motion and physical exertion into day-to-day activity. The level of motion and physical exertion will vary from woman-to-woman, so rather than asking your friends for tips, it’s highly advised to direct these queries to your women’s health physio, your GP or your midwife.

Best types of exercise

Following the first 6 weeks from birth and after you’ve received the tick of approval to reintroduce exercise, start slow. As you work on an appropriate and safe exercise routine that is suitable for your body and situation, for now you could try some low impact movements to get the ball rolling. As always, make sure you check everything over with your GP or physio first.

Some examples of safe movement and low to medium exertion.

  • Pelvic floor exercises such as pelvic tilts and kegels, both of which can help to regain muscle strength.
  • Slow, deep breathing to help reintroduce the use of your abdominals and core region.
  • Light walks or moderate power walking with the pram is good to get your circulation going (reducing the risk of blood clots), release endorphins and to boost your energy levels.
  • Swimming, if your bleeding has completely stopped and your wounds have healed to avoid infection. As it’s a low impact exercise that removes unwanted pressure from your joints, swimming may welcome a sense of relief. Buoyancy experienced in the water can also be a way of feeling weightless when you’re physically and mentally exhausted.
  • Gentle squats when rocking your baby to sleep or some light walking lunges around the house or the park. Good for pelvic floor recovery, muscle use and circulation.
  • Guided yoga or mat pilates. With an experienced professional in the pre and postnatal space, discover a series of low impact poses or sequences to strength, tone and gently re-engage your muscles.

Postpartum Yoga Class with Amy Carmody


Importance of taking it slow

Think of your pelvic floor as a strong and very muscular pair of cupped hands. The ‘cupped hands’ are in actual fact muscle and fascia and their job (along with the help of ligament support from above), is to hold your uterus, bladder and bowel in place. In other words, the cupped hands are in charge of holding everything up and in.

During pregnancy, as your baby grows heavier by the week, keeping these ‘hands’ strong using safe pelvic floor exercises is paramount. Without strength during pregnancy, organs such as your bladder and uterus can start to sag or droop downwards. As they’ve worked so tirelessly for quite some time (9months), it’ll take work and patience to recover… but you will get there.

Other than the pelvic floor, after birthing your baby you can only imagine just how fatigued the rest of your body is. Despite how you birthed, every ounce of your muscle mass, your tissues and your ligaments will need adequate time to rest as they heal. Laying down as often as you can will remove the pull of gravity, giving your body a rest.
Taking slow walks, avoiding heavy lifting and easing your core back into use (even when you sit up in bed, try rolling onto your side and using your hands to push you to a sitting position) can be helpful ways to lead your physical self back to life.

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