There’s no need to rush from labour to the treadmill

You have been carrying your wonderful bundle of joy for nine months

Your abdominal muscles were stretched to the limit to accommodate your growing bump. It is only natural for your body to have changed shape after giving birth. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get back into shape immediately. Quick fix weight loss isn’t the best way to go. Let your body regain some strength after birth. Most women’s bodies are not ready for serious exercise until 6 weeks after birth or even longer if they had cesarean section.

What is pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is a layer of muscles that support your bladder, uterus and intestines. They can become overstretched and weakened by the strain of pregnancy and birth. Pelvic exercises are important to help you regain strength in your pelvic floor so you have control when you empty your bladder or bowel.

Easy- to- do pelvic floor exercises

  • You should contract (squeeze) your pelvic muscles every time you put strain on your pelvic floor like when you lift your baby, cough or get up from a sitting position. You can also do this as a conscious exercise regime.
  • Tighten your back passage muscles like you would when trying to stop yourself from passing wind. At the same time, tighten the muscles around the front passage like you would when trying to stop passing water. Breathe normally. You should aim for 10 to 20 contractions holding each contraction for up to 10 seconds. Relax in between for about 10 seconds. You should vary from medium to tight contractions. If you continue doing this exercise 4 to 5 times a day, your pelvic muscle should be in good shape by the time your baby is 3 months old.

Simple post - natal stomach muscle exercises

This exercise helps you to achieve a better posture by helping you pull your tummy muscles back in shape. It strengthens your obliques, the deep stomach muscles, you used during labor to help push out your baby.

  • While sitting on a chair contract your abdominals towards your spine for a few seconds and then release. Do this as many times a day as you can fit in.
  • Lie down on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet against the floor. Holding your head in your hands, slowly lift your head and shoulders off the floor. Hold for a few seconds and slowly lower back to the starting position - remember to exhale as you lift and inhale as you go down. Try 30 counts each time and do 3 sets a day, increasing the counts by 10 each week.
  • Stand with your back to a wall, slide a hand into the gap between the lower back and the wall, pull in your abdominals towards your spine, hold for a few seconds and release. If your lower back pushes against your hand you are doing it right.

Slowly you will begin to feel your abdominals getting stronger and your tummy muscles being pulled back into shape. And you can start planning how you can make parenthood fit your lifestyle so you can continue doing things you love.

Be conscious of how you move your body everyday.

  • When you want to breastfeed, bring your baby towards you rather than bending your neck and body forward to put your baby to the breast. Use a pillow to support your arms. Relax and make sure your back is propped up properly against the backrest and keep your feet on the floor or footrest.
  • Taking baby out for a short walk in a stroller will be a gentle workout for you and will also help your circulation.
  • Sit well forward in the chair before you get up. Lean forward with a straight back. Watch your posture. Squeeze your pelvic muscles and pull in your tummy just before getting out of a chair – and before sitting down.
  • You are likely to carry your baby on your arm for many hours every day, so straighten up and tuck your chin into your chest every time you notice that you are slouching. If you let your posture sag you can end up with a stoop, so always be aware of your posture.
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