Many women wonder when it may be safe to return to exercise after giving birth. Pregnancy and childbirth can be taxing on the female body. We want to make sure to give adequate time for recovery. Sometimes returning too soon can do more damage than good. At Bodyworks Physical Therapy, we understand the concerns many women have about safely resuming exercise after childbirth. Pregnancy and childbirth can place significant demands on the female body, requiring ample time for recovery. We are here to provide guidance on how to safely return to exercise after childbirth.
Immediate Postpartum Period (0-6 weeks)
- Focus on rest, recovery, and bonding with your newborn.
- Engage in gentle movements to promote healing and recovery, such as pelvic floor strengthening, also known as kegels, breathing exercises, and lower abdominal drawing-in techniques.
- Listen to your body and avoid activities that cause pain, discomfort, or excessive strain.
Low-Impact Exercises (4-6 weeks)
- Once you have received medical clearance from your healthcare provider (typically around 4-6 weeks postpartum), start incorporating low-impact exercises into your routine.
- Walking is an excellent low-impact activity to begin with. Start with short walks and gradually increase the duration and intensity over time.
- Pay attention to your body’s response and adjust the intensity as needed.
Building Strength and Endurance (6-12 weeks)
- At this stage, you can gradually introduce more exercises to rebuild strength and endurance.
- Consider incorporating activities like swimming, stationary cycling, or prenatal/postnatal exercise classes that focus on gentle movements and core strengthening.
- Be mindful of any signs of strain or discomfort and modify the exercises accordingly.
High-Impact Exercises (3-6 months)
- After 3-6 months postpartum, you can begin reintroducing high-impact exercises to your routine.
- Examples include jogging, running, aerobics, or dance classes. Start with shorter durations and lower intensity, gradually increasing as your body adjusts and becomes stronger.
- It is important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard too soon. Allow sufficient time for your pelvic floor, abdominal muscles, and other areas to recover fully.
Most important, we encourage you to listen to your body throughout this journey. If you experience new pain, increased bleeding, re-opening of healed sites, or any signs of feeling unwell, such as dizziness, nausea, or vomiting, we advise stopping the exercise and seeking appropriate care. Consider the benefits of incorporating physical therapy into your postpartum exercise journey. Our experienced therapists can assess any lack of strength or stability that may pose challenges, providing valuable insights to ensure your safe return to your desired exercise routine.
Take the first step towards safely resuming exercise after childbirth by contacting us today. Our dedicated team of professionals is here to support and guide you, tailoring a personalized plan that addresses your unique needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out and make an appointment today.