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The Essentials on Postpartum Workout

Exercise is two-fold in benefit: to be in better shape and to increase energy level to deal with your newborn baby. You may be in a hurry to trim down the excesses but that cannot happen overnight; a lot of hard work, care and patience is required

Regaining your shape

Exercise is two-fold in benefit: to be in better shape and to increase energy level to deal with your newborn baby. You may be in a hurry to trim down the excesses but that cannot happen overnight; a lot of hard work, care and patience is required. Your body is still recovering from the rigors of pregnancy, childbirth and is now adjusting to breastfeeding. It is also important to note that difference in metabolism, food intake and energy expenditure means that some women will experience rapid weight loss while others will have to toil harder to get there. When you choose to start on your exercise is entirely up to you and your birth experience and your doctor. During the first 6-12 weeks, your body is recuperating and adjusting to your new lifestyle. Begin exercising slowly - walking with your baby is probably what your body can tolerate at present.

Increase the mileage as you grow more comfortable. Swimming should be put on hold for the time being until your blood loss (lochia) terminates, usually for a month after delivery. If you had a C-section, wait until you have seen your doctor at the six week check-up before attempting any exercise. Firming and toning up stomach muscles is top on the list for many; seek your doctor's advice on when to begin and the types of exercises suitable for starters.

Recommendations to remember

• Give yourself ample time to heal from within

• Go slow to prevent muscle strain

• Be fair to yourself; remember the physical changes you have just endured - ligament laxity, muscle stretching and weakness, fatigue, breastfeeding and the time constraints imposed by your new role of a mother.

• Form a group; exercising with friends or other mothers motivates you into action

• Indulge in feel good exercises. Enjoy your gym sessions and don't overexert.

It pays to note

Ligaments and muscles soften from the effects of pregnancy hormones called relaxin. Although these hormones make an exit from your system about one week after delivery, your ligaments and muscles will take about 3 months to return to the normal length and strength. It is very essential to take care of your joints when you exercise. Give yourself time to improve in health and in the meantime commit yourself to functional exercises such as squats and dips; pelvic tucks and abdominal bracing for posture control.

The other area you should pay particular attention to is the pelvic floor. To avoid prolapse of the pelvic organs (in particular the uterus and bladder) avoid exercises that adds impact or bounce, abdominal curl ups in the early weeks and any exercise that builds intra-abdominal pressure. Signs of pelvic floor weakness include a sense of heaviness in the region and incontinence (involuntary loss of urine). Breathe comfortably as you go about your daily routine; gently squeeze your urethra, vagina, and anus whenever you can remember is a good practice.

Bracing is when you tighten around your urethra, vagina and anus, and then lift up internally. Hold the position for a couple of seconds without holding your breath and then slowly let go. Repeat this several times. With time increase the holding time and increase the repetition. Repeat the exercise often; the aim is to provide everyday protection to the uterus by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.

It helps to consider the following..

• Do only the recommended exercises and not the ones you used to do at aerobic classes

• Wear supportive or comfortable footwear; loose cotton clothes is preferred

• Be careful of the surface you choose to exercise on; a non-slip floor to avoid accidents is practical

• Only contract and tighten muscles for as long as it feels comfortable

• Breathe evenly and regularly during exercises and relax between repetitions

• Drink water regularly during your workout to prevent dehydration; on a hot day exercise early and avoid the midday heat

• Move at a steady pace to avoid jerkiness; keep a balanced posture at all times Always work within your comfort zone; avoid overstrain and pain of any kind.

• Give yourself time. You do not have to do all the exercises every time

• Skip any exercise that doesn't feel right or makes you feel uncomfortable around the pelvis.

The vitals on the Exercise regime itself..

Warm up is a necessary precursor to exercise; it is important to increase the blood flow, to give you a feel for movement and to reduce the chances of injury.

Walking either with your baby in the pram or sling is ideal right now. Go for walks as a family if possible. Wear comfortable footwear and clothes.

• Start on flat, even grounds and progress to hilly areas if you like.

• Vary your speed from a stroll to a faster pace.

• Increase the duration or mileage.

• Walk with short strides and progress to longer ones.

Jogging on the spot is a good substitute to walking. Try it on some days instead of walking especially when staying indoors is not a choice (bad weather).

• Stand tall with your pelvis tucked in and your abdominals braced

• brace your pelvic floor

• Keep your toes on the floor and jog

• Let your arms swing freely and jog until you feel warm but not breathless.


• Stand tall, gather in your waist and brace your pelvic floor

• Step back with one leg and take your weight on it

• Maintain your pelvic tuck while keeping your back straight

• Lower your back knee towards the floor without lunging forward

• Rise. Repeat the exercise in a set of 4 or 8. repeat, using the other leg

Knee lifts

• Get on all fours with your knees and hands in alignment with your hips and shoulders respectively.

• Breathe in and out slowly, raising your right leg up towards your chest

• Inhale and extend the right leg out behind you, keeping it slightly bent and your head at spine level (straight). Repeat it five times with each leg.

Buttock lifts

• Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor

• Slowly lift your hips and lower back off the floor, until your body is in a straight line from knees to shoulders.

• Tighten your buttocks by squeezing

• Hold that position for a few seconds, then relax the hold. Repeat this five times.

Calf stretches

• Stand straight. Move one leg back and shift your weight onto that leg

• Place your hands on your front thigh

• Press your back heel down

• Look forward with your back straight

• Lunge forward with your front knee bent until you feel a stretch in the back calf

• Hold the position for at least 10 seconds

• Repeat the exercise using the other leg

Pelvic rock

• Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor

• Flatten your back to the floor and tighten your buttock muscles

• Hold on to this position for a moment. Release to neutral

• Repeat the exercise in sets of 8

Pelvic floor exercise

•Start from the hands and knees position, rest on your elbows and knees

•Squeeze and lift your pelvic floor muscles.

•Release. Repeat this in sets of 8.

Curl ups

• Lie on your back with knees bent and hands on thighs.

• Inhale then breathe out and lift your head and shoulders slightly off the floor

• Lower them gently to the floor, relax and repeat this five times

• If you feel any pain, discontinue immediately (your body isn't ready for this).


• Lie on your back with feet hip distance apart flat on the bed and knees bent

• Squeeze and lift your pelvic floor muscles and raise your hips off the bed

• Hold that position for a moment

• Relax and lower your hips. Repeat 5 times.

Back stretch

• Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest; hug your knees tight.

• Tuck your head under and bring your forehead to your knees (you should not feel pressure on your pelvic floor as you lift)

• Hold the stretch as long as it is comfortable for you. Release and repeat.

Back strengthening

• Lie on your tummy with your hands resting under your forehead.

• Lift your head and top of your shoulders

• Keep looking at your hands so that your head remains in line with your spine.

• Vary this exercise by lifting one arm off the floor as you lift your head; repeat with the other arm

• Lift both arms off together (if you experience any pain, do not continue with this exercise)

Relaxation is a necessary way to round up your work out. It is important to feel good about what you have done for your body. From the sitting position, roll unto your side

With bent knees, rest your head on a pillow. Focus on your breathing and relax. Rise slowly from the floor and go about with the other things you have to do.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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