Daily exercising is a healthy habit to be followed by an individual. It provides numerous benefits to health and in the case of new mothers; it is extremely beneficial. The benefits of exercising in new mothers include assistance with weight loss, increased aerobic fitness, social interaction, and well-being. After delivery, exercise hastens recovery and helps in strengthening of muscles and toning.
Postnatal exercise after delivery
Postnatal exercise helps a mother to become strong and decrease mood swings. Even if the mother feels tired or unmotivated, she can still do many things to keep the body moving. In the case of vaginal delivery, the female can start exercise on the first day or two days after delivery. If she experiences any pain, then she should stop immediately. It’s better to start with a gentle walk and then increase slowly according to her body. It is advised to avoid strenuous exercise in the first 12 weeks after delivery. While in the cesarean section, which requires almost 6 weeks to heal, she can still go for the pelvic floor and later start admins exercises and avoid lifting heavyweights.
9 Benefits of Postnatal Exercises
Following are some benefits of postnatal exercises in mothers after delivery :
- It helps in elevating the mood by increasing the levels of good hormones or chemicals in the body.
- Heals the body by bringing relief to the pains.
- It helps in losing weight if a balanced diet is consumed.
- Replenishes the tired body with vigor and vitality which the mother requires to raise a child.
- Boosts the stamina levels, helping the mother to work more actively towards getting motherhood.
- Strengthen the muscles and makes the body toned and flexible.
- It decreases the chances of postnatal depression by replacing it with the energy of positivity.
- Builds up stamina and hasten the recovery.
- It improves cardiovascular fitness.
Ideal exercises after delivery
Following exercises are suitable after delivery :
- Abdominal exercises – also called abdominal bracing. It can be performed in any position let it be sitting, standing, or lying. A lower tummy is required to pull in and hold this for 5 to 10 seconds while breathing normally. Repeat 8 to 12 times each time and perform it 4 times a day.
- Pelvic floor exercises – Here, the female is asked to sit and lean slightly forward with a straight back. Now she should squeeze and lift the muscles around her vagina hold for about 8 seconds and then release. Repeat it as many times as possible.
Other exercises which are safe during pregnancy are :
- Swimming or aqua aerobics (soon after the bleeding has stopped)
- Low impact aerobics
- Lightweight training
For already 3 months, lifting heavyweight and high-intensity aerobic activities should be avoided.
Postnatal exercises not to be done during the first six weeks
It is usually advised to avoid high impact exercises such as running or aerobics until the postnatal check. Swimming should be avoided in the first week after delivery or until the bleeding or discharge from the vagina has stopped. In the case of the cesarean section, the mother should wait until a six-week checkup is performed. Though pelvic floor and gentle abdominal muscle exercises are recommended, it is better to avoid full sit-ups or crunches in the initial postnatal period.
Postnatal exercises for the strong pelvis, upper back, and neck
Pelvic floor exercises :
- These are essential after delivery. If the pelvic floor appears to be weak, putting intra-abdominal pressure will exert pressure on the floor and can resist the healing or may even lead to uterus prolapse. Pelvic tilts gently help in preventing back pain. These can be performed while lying as well as sitting. These help in tightening the pelvic floor. Pelvic tilts can also be performed while using an exercise ball.
Postnatal exercises for the strong upper back :
For a mother, it is easy to spend most of her time in a slumped position. Following exercises help in stretching and moving the upper back :
- Sitting straight with arms crossed over the chest. Twisting the body left and then right. Repeating this 10 times each way.
- Sitting and linking the hands at the back of her neck. Twisting again on left and then right. Repeat the same as above.
- Sitting and holding the hands in front this time. Taking the arms up in front and above the head as far as possible. Holding them there for two to three seconds and then gradually lowering the arms down.
- The mother stands facing the open doorway and raises her arms such that her lower arms are pressing against the doorframe from the fingertips to elbow then stepping a step forward with her right leg. This helps in stretching the pectoral muscles of the back.
Postnatal exercises for strong neck :
- Sitting and slowly moving the head to left and then to right.
- Slowly, she can tilt her head along with her right ear down to her right shoulder and then to the left ear down to her left shoulder.
Postnatal exercises are highly beneficial in females as it helps to restore the strength of the body. It should be adopted as a regular habit. But it always advisable to consult a doctor before starting these. These help a female to become physically as well as the mentally strong mother.