I saw this post on Facebook today and felt a sense of relief. I like to remind my Mamas and partners to be wary of the numbers set by medical teams. 40 weeks of pregnancy, Due Dates, postpartum healing times are all varied based on the individual woman. Women aren't machines that come with manuals, as we all know. Still, like everything, it's a good idea to talk to your provider before starting or changing any physical activity before, during and after your pregnancy.
Written by Lorraine Scapens
Do you really need to wait 6 weeks until you can exercise or until you have had your postnatal check up by your GP?
Why is it that a 6 week waiting time to exercise is still actively promoted to women when there is no reason to wait this long? You actually get weaker the longer post-birth you wait to exercise.
I don’t want you to be misled as I know what you may be thinking……”So soon after I have given birth, are you mad? There is no way I’m rushing back into an exercise program, I don’t feel up to it!"
I’m not suggesting you start doing chin ups and walking lunges around the lounge or going hard in an aerobics class. Instead, I am advising easy rehabilitation exercises, which can promote recovery. Waiting will actually prolong it!
The first 6 weeks after birth are an intense time for any mum, experienced or not. New mums can put a lot of pressure on themselves to do everything right, it can be a very stressful time but the right kind of exercise can help with this.
5 Benefits of Specific Postnatal Exercise:
1: Faster Recovery Post Birth:
If you don’t exercise soon after birth, muscles stay weak for a much longer time period. This limits how quickly your body can recover. The longer you leave the weak connections the harder it is for the nervous system to re-connect.
2: Reduced Pain- Especially in the Lower Back and Hip Areas:
When the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles have been significantly stretched in pregnancy they become much weaker. The weakening of these important core stabilizers will lead the nervous system to rely on the muscles in the lower back instead. This is why this area often aches.
Strengthening these core muscles quickly will improve functional strength, allowing you to be able to lift and carry your baby with less pain.
3: Improved Posture
Your posture changes during your pregnancy. As your baby grows it places many demands on the muscular and skeletal system. Exercise will help to address postural muscle imbalances which may have caused pain during pregnancy. Poor posture will also prevent healing of abdominal muscle separation, known as diastasis recti (see below).
Hi there! I'm Erika Davis and I'm a doula working in the Seattle and South Puget Sound area.