Postpartum Exercise Tips from Postnatal Dietitian Nutritionist

Pregnancy and childbirth are incredible. A woman grows an organ (the placenta) and a baby, in her body. The changes women’s bodies undergo during this time are phenomenal. While pregnant, women have numerous doctor’s visits. Prenatal checkups. Sonograms. Blood sugar tests. Blood tests and more. It’s like her calendar fills up with doctor’s checkups.

Postpartum, new moms usually only have one or two visits. (Two is stretching it).

This is concerning, as all women experience physical changes after giving birth, with over half experiencing pelvic injury or dysfunction. In France, women are prescribed at least ten sessions with a pelvic floor physical therapist, but this is not common practice in the United States.

Women’s health is under-studied and not talked about enough, and many women are eager to get back to exercise after giving birth. However, before starting an exercise routine, it is crucial to get clearance from your OBGyn or health care provider. Once you have the green light, here are some postpartum exercise recommendations:

  • Listen to your body: Every woman’s recovery is different, so take it easy and don’t push yourself too hard.
  • Pelvic floor exercises: Kegels are a great way to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which take a hit during and after pregnancy. Find your pelvic floor muscles by stopping your pee mid-stream, and work your way up to doing three sets of ten ten-second Kegels every day.
  • Aerobic workouts: Start with walking for twenty to thirty minutes a day and gradually build up to more intense workouts.
  • Dynamic stretching: This can help improve the range of motion and relieve tension.
  • Yoga: Yoga can help strengthen abs and alleviate lower back pain, and certain poses like Warrior I, Locust with Shoulder Bind, and Bridge Pose are great for postpartum moms.
  • Swimming: Swimming is a low-impact workout that strengthens the core and pelvic floor, making it an excellent choice for pre and postnatal exercise.
  • Rest: Rest is crucial, especially post-exercise. Finding time to rest and restore is essential for your body’s recovery.
  • Nourish yourself: Make healthy eating a priority. Hydrate (drink lots of water!).Recovering from childbirth takes time, and it’s okay to take it slow. Don’t rush into an exercise routine, and make sure to take care of yourself so you can take care of your baby.