The first few days after giving birth, exercise can be one of the last things a new mother thinks about. The needs and whims of her newborn will preoccupy her thoughts, and the dramatic changes in her body, along with the sheer emotional and physical exhaustion can take a toll.
However, experts agree that exercising soon after giving birth can help new mothers feel their best. Just as a mother spoke to her doctor extensively about post-delivery options, like circumcision and umbilical cord blood banking, speaking to her doctor about post-delivery exercise and diet is important as well. Exercise after pregnancy can boost energy, strengthen abdominal muscles, improve mood and help keep feelings of postpartum depression away.
Many new moms are often told by their doctors to wait six weeks before working out. However, if it was a natural birth, without complications and mom exercised during pregnancy, it’s generally okay to start an exercise program just a few days after birth. Listening to her own body cues will let a mother know when it feels right to begin. Those who have had a C-section, complicated birth or stitches need to stick to doctor’s orders.
Moms should know that fluctuations in hormone levels, post delivery, could make working out a challenge. Mothers may find the idea daunting after staying up much of the night to feed a newborn. Whatever time a mother does have she may devote to her family or others who want to share the joy of seeing the newborn. A mother should ask a partner, family member or friend to watch her newborn to help her carve out the time to focus on herself. The physical activity will not only be good for a mother physically, but will be good for her mentally as well.
Important things to remember when getting started on a postpartum exercise routine include: avoiding excessive fatigue, hydrating often, wearing a supportive bra, warming up and cooling down, beginning slowly and stopping if any signs of bleeding occur. Some activities to try when embarking on a program include a daily walk, laps in a pool, a stationary bicycle and gentle yoga.
Another option that allows a mother to find time for exercise is to include the baby in the exercise routine. If weather permits, take baby for a brisk 30-minute walk outside with the stroller. Or, mom can pop in a DVD of exercise videos tailor-made for mothers and babies together.
Exercise and diet can also have an effect on breast milk for breastfeeding mothers. High intensity workouts can cause lactic acid to build up in the breast, which may affect the taste of breast milk to baby. But, if a new mom sticks to moderate workouts and hydrates often, there shouldn’t be any issue. Pumping milk before a hard workout is good for breast comfort while.
Getting into an exercise program quickly will do wonders for lessening the extra weight gained during pregnancy, helping to diminish postpartum depression and making the new mother a healthy, happy and motivational role model for her newborn as he grows.
Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.