Congratulations on your new arrival!
Midwives and doctors recommend that mothers avoid being sedentary after childbirth. You may have aches and pains following the birth, you may feel exhausted by the challenges of motherhood, you may not feel highly motivated to get back into shape… but you can enjoy the benefits of some light activity as soon as you have the time, inclination and energy.
Take whatever time you need to reconnect with your body, there is not need to rush into proper exercise. Here are four steps to get started.
Pelvic Tilt: Many women in pregnancy have a condition called lordosis, when the pelvis is tilted forward and the lower back compressed. Tilting the pelvis back to neutral and engaging the tranversus abs can help correct this and reduce associated back pain. Imagine pulling a string from your tummy button back towards your spine, and tilt the pelvic back and forth to find a neutral position.
Kyphosis Correction: Open the chest and pull the shoulder blades back and down to correct a hunched forward posture known as kyphosis – often resulting from feeding your baby or sitting at a screen for extended periods.
Stacked Hips Position: Avoid the temptation to collapse the hip when lying on your side. Imagine pushing your top hip away from you and creating a mouse-hole under your side.
<insert pelvic floor exercises video that I haven’t made yet (although it may eventually appear on other pages too?)>
4. Your centre of gravity has changed, practise balancing and stretching to build back some stability.
Three-way Balance: Stand tall, with the buggy in front of you for balance but if possible don’t hold it, or just rest finger-tips on it. Slowly raise one knee up in front of you, point your toe and keep your back straight and shoulders down. Raise the knee only as high as is comfortable as you breathe out, lower as you breathe in and change legs. Repeat raising your knee out to the side,then again raising a straight leg behind you. Always keep the hips square to the front. If you’re brave try closing your eyes!
Back and Shoulder Stretch: Stand or sit and raise both arms above your head, keep your shoulders pulled down away from your ears. Keeping your back straight alternately stretch each arm up to the sky. Keep breathing, activate your pelvic floor, hold your tummy button pulled in towards your spine and keep your neck and back aligned.
Once you’ve had your GP check, and you’re cleared to exercise, you can start on the core postnatal exercise programme or try one of the Ready Steady Mums DVDs – The Blast Workouts or Yoga, Dance and Mindfulness for Mums.
Take postnatal fitness at your own pace. The first thing to do is to set yourself a fitness goal – then tell everyone about it and ask for support! Celebrate the exercise you do, and remember: your body is amazing, it grew your baby.