Regular exercise after childbirth offers a plethora of health benefits. It is a commonly observed fact that new mothers are very motivated to return to their daily exercise regime after pregnancy. Quite interestingly, there are a lot of post natal exercises out there, but when the conservation of exercise preparedness comes up; new mothers seem confused about the appropriate time to start their fitness regime. On the other hand, pregnancy usually causes muscular alterations to the inner core. The inner core comprises of the diaphragm (the primary breathing muscle), transversus abdominus, multifidus and the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles work in collaboration with larger muscles to transfer load during strenuous physical activities.
When to return to exercise after pregnancy?
A sensible general recommendation is to wait for two to three months to commence a regular postnatal exercise. If you wait for 2 to 3 months before starting a workout, it gives you enough time to recover after childbirth. However, it has been noticed that the majority of women returned to a postnatal exercise regime in less than two months. On the contrary, there have been cases where women were not able to return to certain physical activities irrespective of the waiting time. In these cases, a Pelvic Health specialist may be needed to provide the necessary care and treatment.
The importance of pelvic floor muscles in postnatal workouts
The pelvic floor muscles are an essential entity of your postpartum workout regime. It is because if you want your postnatal exercise to be successful, the pelvic floor muscles should be able to contract and lift whenever required. It is vital here to note that determining the preparedness of the inner core muscles is quite hard to assess all by yourself. And when it comes to pelvic floor muscles, evaluating their condition is a bit tricky. This muscle group has numerous sensory nerve endings, which makes it quite a challenging task to monitor their overall health. This is the reason that a majority of physical fitness trainers would recommend you for an internal examination. A thorough internal examination would provide a comprehensive report on the condition of the pelvic floor muscles.
Here are the steps for postnatal workouts:
According to various fitness experts, working out your abdomen from inside out would fetch you long-lasting results.
Moreover, it is best to avoid aerobic exercises like tennis and running. It is essential for you to commence your post natal training by warming up properly. Here is the list of five steps that would help you with postnatal exercise.
- Check for warning signs: Ensure that you are not depicting warning signs that your inner core is still not ready for rigorous exercises. Exercise programs that are not suitable for the health of your inner core muscles can further aggravate your personal injuries. It can also instigate pelvic floor dysfunction. Stress incontinence is one of the most common forms of discomfort following pregnancy. A weak pelvic floor usually causes it. Hence, always check the state of your inner core before turning to a rigorous training regime. It is generally recommended that you seek the advice of a medical practitioner to determine whether your pelvic floor muscles are ready for postnatal workouts.
- Is your body ready: It is quite challenging to assess the condition of your pelvic floor muscles all by yourself. If you feel that jumping up and down would cause leakage or cause discomfort in your back, then there is a good chance that your inner core muscles haven’t healed completely. On the other hand, it has been widely observed that new mothers are quite eager to return to their postnatal workout regime irrespective of their health status. However, one should refrain from doing so as it can be quite detrimental in the long run. Besides that, it would not make your postnatal exercise a success.
- Boost your exercise tolerance slowly: If your inner core and pelvic floor muscles are not working in a coordinated manner, then it can be quite dangerous. Just because your first postnatal workout session turned out good does not necessarily mean that your inner core has returned to its original self. This is the reason that you should choose shorter exercise duration and gradually progress to higher levels of exercises. However, it is usually advised that while stepping up the ante, you should be on the lookout for symptoms of discomfort.
- Exercise, but be gentle to yourself at the initial stage: Even if you feel secure and confident, you have to be considerate to your muscles in the initial phase. Women who do not possess a good knowledge of their inner core health are the ones who should be on the lookout for symptoms of discomfort. For instance, if running is your goal as a postnatal workout, commence with walk-runs and judge how you feel. Moreover, you always have to focus on your pelvis and the lower back region. Is there vaginal discomfort, leakage during running or lift? These signs are usually reasonable for specific individuals. But to a new mom, these signs can foretell the incomplete healing process of your inner core. It can also tell of an underlying injury to your internal muscles.
- In case you are facing problems, stop your workout routine: In case you are experiencing extreme discomfort during your postnatal workout, seek professional help immediately. On the basis of your symptoms and discomfort level, a medical professional would be able to calculate how sooner you would be able to return to your postnatal workout phase.
Returning to your regular workout regime can be quite problematic if you ignore the signs of your body. Many of the mothers who have returned to the postnatal workout regime have experienced discomfort during the initial phase of the postnatal workout. However, you have to be wise enough to judge whether this discomfort level demands immediate medical attention or not. Always keep in mind that your body needs adequate rest after labour. So, opt for a training program that best suits your body.