During pregnancy, you gain a lot of weight with stretching of abdominal muscles; ligaments and joints also get loosened. After delivery, it takes a few months for the body to get back to normal.
Postnatal exercises will help you to lose weight and tone up the stretched abdominal and perineal muscles and ligaments. By doing exercises you will feel better and healthy.
If you had a vaginal delivery without any complications then you can do exercises a few days after delivery. You can also perform exercises when you feel ready.
But if you had any complicated pregnancy with delivery or caesarean section then you need to contact your health care provider before you start any exercise. Wait for at least 4 months to start. Let your caesarean scar heal completely. Then start with simple breathing exercises, yoga poses and walking. After 6 months, with the advice of your healthcare provider, you can do other exercises.
What are the benefits of exercises after delivery?
Exercises after delivery have various benefits which include-
- It helps to improve the muscle tone of the abdominal and perineal muscles which are stretched during pregnancy and labour.
- Helps to correct postural defects.
- Helps to lose weight.
- It helps to prevent or get relief from back pain.
- It helps to minimise the risk of venous thrombosis (a blood clot in the deep veins) by promoting circulation and improving your cardiovascular fitness.
- Increase your energy level and relieves stress.
- It helps to reduce postpartum depression and promote sound sleep.
- It prevents genital prolapse (descent of the genital organs).
What are the different postnatal exercises?
Before starting exercise, you need to warm up your body. Begin slowly and increase your pace gradually.
Initially, you can do breathing exercises and leg movements lying in the bed. It is usually done a few days after a normal delivery. Gradually you can start the exercises to tone up the abdominal and perineal muscles and to correct the postural defects.
You can take the help of a physiotherapist, if available, as soon as you feel fit. The exercise should be continued for at least 3 months to get the desired effect.
This exercise is usually done to tone up the pelvic floor muscles which support the pelvic organs (uterus, bladder, intestines and rectum). You can contract the pelvic muscles in a manner to withhold the act of defecation or urination and then relax.
The process is to be repeated as often as possible each day. You can contract the muscles for 10 seconds and relax for 10 seconds in between two contractions.
It is usually done to tone up the abdominal muscles. You have to lie on your back with the knees bent and the feet flat on the bed or floor, at your convenience. And then contract your abdominal muscles and relax alternatively and bend your pelvis up slightly. The process is to be repeated several times a day (at least 20 times).
Exercises for back muscles
To tone up the back muscles you have to lie on your face with the arms by your side. The head and shoulders are slowly moved up and down. This procedure is to be repeated three to four times a day and gradually increased each day.
You can also exercise your lower back by lying flat on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. Now roll both knees to the left side and hold for a few seconds; then roll to the right side. Repeat this several times.
Initially, you may feel too tired during the workout but don’t give up and try your best.
In the above post, we discussed postnatal exercise. Postnatal exercises are the fitness routine after childbirth that helps to tone up the abdominal muscles and lose weight. The different postnatal exercises are deep breathing, walking, pelvic tilt, Kegels exercise and exercise for back muscles. It should be done after a few days of childbirth or as you feel ready. It should be continued for 3 months.