It’s the conundrum every new mother has faced: when’s the right time to get back into exercise after giving birth?
On this week’s episode of The Bump: The Pointy End, Bec Judd and Monique Bowley ask resident baby expert Dr Joe Sgroi to weigh in.
“It is important to exercise… and you probably start off with some gentle walking initially, in order to just get the body mobilising,” Dr Joe says.
“That can happen pretty much soon after birth, and I encourage all my patients to do that quite quickly, because it’s not only good in terms of physical wellbeing, it’s also really good in terms of mental wellbeing to get out in the sun and get a bit of fresh air.”
Listen: Dr Joe is clear, it’s all about listening to your body. (Post continues.)
Dr Joe notes, though, that it generally takes at least four to six weeks for the body to “knit” itself back together after pregnancy and birth, so you certainly shouldn’t be expecting to bounce back to your old routine in just a few weeks. The most important thing, as with any type of exercise, is to “listen to your body”.
Of course, how much exercise a new mother can or should do following birth will depend on how much she was doing before birth, too.
“Depending on what your exercise was like during pregnancy, it would be important to slowly get back to that,” Dr Joe says.
“You’re not going to go from running a marathon before you’re pregnant to running a marathon six weeks after you’re pregnant, but certainly over a progression of time, allowing yourself to build up slowly, you’ll be able to get back to the same level that you were before.”
As for the type of exercise, women should focus on just after birth?
Aside from gentle walking to begin with, Dr Joe says “the only exercise I’d recommend anyone go really hard on is pelvic floor exercises.”