You’re probably excited to get back in shape, but the question in your mind remains: when exactly can I begin exercising after birth? According to the American Council of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you can begin exercising as soon as you feel you are ready but of course, this should come with your doctor’s approval since the safety of doing exercises after giving birth is a case to case basis. Sometimes women who gave birth are encouraged to do mild walking around the hospital corridors days after giving birth. Sometimes they are advised a full bed rest even weeks after.
But generally, you can start mild exercises 1-2 weeks after giving birth. This is generally just walking and like all forms of exercise this will encourage better circulation of blood and will help in the healing of your wounds and in avoiding blood clots. If you have a condition called diastasis recti wherein there is a separation of the abdominal muscles which is more than three finger widths apart, you are encouraged to do modified versions of abdominal exercises until the gap has narrowed down to only two fingers. Those who have undergone a c-section are advised to wait at least 6 weeks before doing abdominal exercises. Generally for women who delivered normally, moderate exercises such as jogging, biking, swimming etc. can already be performed around 4 weeks into recovery.
Women should also do kegel exercises after birth especially those who delivered normally. Kegel exercises tighten up the muscles in the pelvic floor which has been stretched by the process of giving birth. Kegel exercises lets you avoid incontinence as well as the possible prolapse or the collapse of the uterus and other internal organs to the pelvic floor.
You shouldn’t worry that exercise will affect the milk that you feed your baby. However it is believed that exercise tends to change the taste of the milk immediately after exercise which babies may find off-putting, so it is best to exercise a few hours before breastfeeding your baby. Exercising does not reduce milk production either.
Having a healthier body through exercising after pregnancy not only works for your but also for your baby. By exercising, you build up your stamina, endurance and overall health which make you a fitter parent for your child.