Congratulations!!! You are a mum! How exciting, I hope you are coping and managing to get some sleep! You most likely don’t have much free time at the moment and your focus should most definitely not be on fitness. Now is a time to recover, be kind to yourself and rest where possible. There are some postpartum safe exercises if you have had an uncomplicated birth. You most likely will be seen and directed by a Women’s Health Physio in hospital so please talk to them about what you can and cannot be doing straight away. Some of the things you can generally do straight away are listed below (please note these are for women who have had an uncomplicated vaginal birth, if you had a tear, or c section you are best to rest until you have your 6 week check up). I strongly recommend seeing a Women’s Health Physio along with your Ob at your 6 week pp point as they will do an assessment and see exactly what state your pelvic floor muscles are in. It was at this point with my first that I learned my Pelvic Floor muscles were in fact tight and therefore weak which made my rehab completely different to what I had been told.
1. Gentle pram free walking
So you can start going for small flat and pram free walks as soon as you feel like you have healed and ready. This is something I started in the first week home, it was a nice little break and while I had my husband home I could get out for 10 mins for some me time after feeding. Start small, I mean small, 10 mins a couple of times a week and gradually start to increase, and by gradual I mean a couple of minutes every week.
2. Posture care
With the new bundle in our arms and changed weight distribution the stress on our posture is still very much prominent. So taking some time out each day to do some gentle stretching is really important. Again my fave 3 stretches for posture we have already been through but here they are again below with an extra one added in
3. Pelvic floor recruitment
Just starting to think about getting that recruitment happening is the best place to start. So 3 times a day just start to work with your breath and relax as you breathe in and draw up as you exhale. Some other good ones are short and sharp pulses of in and up, like you are stopping yourself from going to the bathroom and then longer holder so 3s on 3s relax and then start to increase the time of the hold until you can do 10s.
NOTE: if you feel pain, pressure or have an increase in leakage you may be going too hard too fast, so listen to your body and reduce what you are doing and gradually build up again.
1. Hamstring Stretch
Sitting on a chair, stretch one leg out in front of you, don’t straighten completely, and stick your bottom out behind you with your foot flexed. Reach forward with your chest. Hold for 3-5 deep breaths.
2. Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneel on one knee and one foot, tuck your pelvis under your body and gently bring your body forward bending into your front knee. You should feel this in the front of your hip (the one with your knee on the floor). Hold for 3-5 deep breaths.
3. Chest Stretch
Standing in a doorway, or use a ball or chair, place your elbow to hand on the doorway frame with elbow at shoulder height. Step forward with the same side and gently turn away from your arm. Hold for 3-5 deep breaths.
4. Bow and arrow
Lie on your side arms out in front of you at shoulder heigh. Take a big breath in and as you exhale slide your top arm up and roll open keeping knees together and forward. Repeat 6 times on each side.