Returning to exercise
It is important to remember that no matter how fit you were before your baby, your pelvic floor, tummy and back have been weakened by the pregnancy. Going back to sport or exercise too early can cause problems. Urinary leakage, vaginal heaviness and back pain are not normal after having a baby.
Gentle walking is a great exercise to begin with after birthing. It is important to begin gently increasing the distance and pace as your body recovers.
Benefits of exercise
- Reduces the risk of developing and/or succumbing to heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and breast cancer
- Reduces high blood pressure or the risk of developinghigh blood pressure / high cholesterol
- Reduces body weight and body fat and keeps your BMI in the healthy range
- Improves psychological well-being; you sleep better; prevents depression and anxiety
- Builds and maintains healthy muscles, bones, and joints
When beginning exercise it is important to consider the following:
- Attire: Loose supportive clothing – shorts, T-shirt and a sturdy sports bra – and strong supportive footwear are ideal
- Environment: Exercise in a stable environment Le. a gym or park, not on uneven ground; avoid exercising in the middle of the day when the Sun is at its hottest
- Nutrition: Do not exercise on a full stomach; eat a small meal two to three hours prior to exercise
- Hydration: Ensure you drink one to two glasses of water half an hour before exercise and several glasses afterwards
- Intensity: Low impact exercise is preferable for the first six months after having a baby
Caring for your back
After pregnancy and childbirth backache is common. Common causes of backache are weak muscles, loose ligaments and joints, poor posture,incorrect lifting technique and bad working positions.
Avoid backache by taking care with daily activities:
- Maintain an upright posture when sitting or standing, especially when breastfeeding, changing nappies and bathing your baby
- Keep your working level at waist height eg. change table
- Bend your knees rather than yourback