These days there seems to be a whole lot of pressure on women who have recently given birth to snap back into shape immediately. It seems that every time I open a newspaper or magazine, there are photos of 'celebrity' mothers who have obviously 'lost all their baby fat' in record time. Do not let these over-hyped stories persuade you to go on any sort of diet or exercise period until you have fully recovered.
Giving birth and coping with a newborn are exhausting activities and your priority should be to rest and recuperate. Many of the changes which pregnancy produces in your body continue for a period of about six weeks after giving birth. Do not be tempted to resume an exercise rule that you followed before you became pregnant, until you're body is quite well enough to cope. This article contains some sensible advice about the types of gentle exercise that would be beneficial to post-natal women. Above all, please remember always to seek professional medical advice before starting a new exercise program.
o If you have not exercised for a long time, start off with low intensity exercise and aim to progress gradually.
o Exercise periods should incorporate a thorough warm up and cool down time.
o Stretching should be kept gentle and always be careful not push to the point of maximum resistance.
o Do not strain yourself and keep all exercise to a mild – moderate intensity.
o Vigorous activity is not recommended and especially not in hot, humid conditions.
o Learn how to monitor your heart rate.
o Move from a lying down position to a standing position slowly as changes in blood pressure can cause dizziness.
o Try to exercise to a regular schedule of three – five times per week.
o If you enjoy competitive sports, give your body time to recover from childbirth before you start playing again.
o All movements should be controlled and any exercise that requires force over a full range of movement should be approached gently.
o If you start to feel tired, stop exercising.
o Avoid exercises that produce stress on the abdominal area.
o Exercise can produce lactic acid in your breast milk which can taste unpleasant to your baby, so do not exercise in the half hour before you feed your child.
o Wear loose fitting clothes and take frequent sips of water or an isotonic drink through the exercise period.
o If you experience any unusual symptoms during or after exercising, be sure to consult your doctor.