Postpartum Exercises

For a vaginal delivery, the first postpartum visit is at about six weeks. At this time your doctor will examine you and ask you how you are doing. If all goes well, he may clear you for exercise.

For a cesarean delivery, you may have to wait longer. At your six-week postpartum visit, the doctor will examine you and see how your wound is doing. It may not be totally healed by then. He may restrict your lifting and exercise for several more weeks afterwards.

Once you are cleared, follow his instructions. Often, light walking or about fifteen minutes of exercise each day is good. There are several postpartum exercise videos on the market to try. Some local gyms or YMCAs offer postpartum classes so you are working out with other women in your same condition.

If you exercised throughout your pregnancy, your muscles are in better shape than someone who did not. Your body may bounce back easier. Still, restricting exercise to walking will help you ease back into a more challenging workout like the one you performed before you were pregnant.

Take it easy. Moving back into your old routine slowly is good in many ways. One, your body has time to adjust to the new movements. Two, you can help to speed your own recovery. Exercise increases circulation and cuts down on blood clots or the possibility of them.

Try some non-jarring exercises. Swimming and water aerobics works the entire body including those abs, without putting pressure on the joints.

Listen to your body. If you feel tired one day and don’t want to walk, then take a day off. Your body will let you know when it is strong enough for a more consistent workout.

Contraindications for postpartum exercise include:

* Pain
* Bloody discharge
* Fever
* Aching in joints
* Wound dehiscence (opening up)

You can lose those baby pounds but it takes time. Your body may not be ready right after delivery. Even if you’ve had a healthy pregnancy, take it slow in the beginning until you are ready for more.