By Dr. Surpreet Kaur Sandhu, Gynaecology
An important change that comes with pregnancy is the physical change in a woman’s body.
It is understandable that with the newborn in hand, the new mother would not have too much time to think about a workout plan for herself. However, the sooner it is thought about (in fact, best pre-delivery), the better it would be. It also would:
- Improve overall feeling of well-being and enhance the mood
- Improve stamina and energy levels, allowing you to stretch yourself to care for the baby
- Reduce stiffness, aches, and joints
- Help in losing weight, which was gained during pregnancy
Keep the following in mind when getting back to a workout routine:
1. Don’t rush: While some women may be in a great deal of hurry to start their journey to get back in shape, the doctors would advise otherwise. Whether it was a normal delivery or a cesarean section, give yourself some time, get adjusted to your newfound status, and then begin to plan your workout.
2. Watch for stopping of bleeding: It is better that the bleeding or discharge from the vagina stops completely before you begin your routine. This could take longer, if you have had a cesarean section.
3. Wound healing: Whether you had a normal delivery with or without episiotomy or a cesarean section, it is important that these wounds heal before working out. Cesarean section would require about complete six weeks before starting exercise. While it may seem long, it would definitely be worth the wait. There could be tear and complications, if started earlier than this recommended period.
4. Pelvic floor: A weakened pelvic floor post-delivery should not be subjected to exercises like crunches or abs workouts. Start off with Kegel, which helps strengthen the pelvic floor and gradually move to others.
5. Joint movements: The hormone called relaxin is secreted during pregnancy and makes the joints and ligaments unstable. Therefore, include exercises which keep this fact in mind.
6. Hydration: A water bottle should be in the bag all the time. With breastfeeding and sweating it out, there is more need for water, so don’t forget to keep sipping. If 1.5 litres is the normal, you can go up to two litres per day during this phase.
7. Customise your exercise routine: Start with walking and gradually move to swimming. This is easy on the joints, but is great for core and back muscles.
8. Rest well: The body already has gone through the physical pain of pregnancy and labour. There is also the added stress of taking care of the baby. It is therefore very important that once you begin working out, the body gets adequate rest for faster recovery and coping.