One question I always hear from my mamas who are about to give birth is, “what exercises can I do immediately post pregnancy?”
I love that I get this question so often. It means that mamas out there are aware that it’s important to get back to exercise, but to be reasonable and do it safely limiting the risk of injury.
My favourite exercises to suggest doing post pregnancy are the following:
1) Deep Breathing: it’s always a great time to reconnect with your diaphragm and pelvic floor through your breath, especially postpartum. This is a very safe exercise you can do as soon as you feel ready – even just hours after delivery! Try this:
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet resting comfortably on the surface you’re lying on.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.
- Take full, deep breaths, allowing your belly and ribs to expand.
- Focus on having your lower ribs and belly rise and move more than your chest.
- Do 2 sets of 10 deep breaths every 3-5 times per day.
2) Gentle Kegels: while in the same position as above, with hands relaxed by your side, do a gentle kegel (squeeze and lift your pelvic floor). Don’t stress about holding it for any specific length of time, just use this as an opportunity to start reconnecting with your pelvic floor.
You can start with this exercise as soon as you feel ready to do so. If it’s sore to do it, then wait a little longer. It should not be painful in any way. Try to do up to 5 repetitions twice per day.
3) Walking: yes, walking. This is an under-appreciated, but simple and effective exercise to start back with after delivery. Make sure you listen to your body and only do what feels good for you.
Depending on your birth experience you may feel comfortable going out for a walk a few days after delivery, or it may take a few weeks to feel up to it. Either way, start slow and easy by walking up and down your street, progressing to around the block etc.
If you experience cramping or increased bleeding during or afterwards, that’s a sign that you’ve likely overdone it, so just take it easy and next time, don’t go as far.