Over 3 million babies are born in Canada each year. Giving birth can be one of the most exciting and challenging time in any woman’s life. Your body is pushed to the limits and goes through several physical and hormonal changes.
Most mothers look forward to giving birth and are motivated to return to regular exercise right after. More than 90% of women who exercise during pregnancy continue to exercise after delivery. There are a lot of fitness institutes and birthing coaches who promote postnatal exercise classes and encourage women to sign up as soon as possible.
Why Exercising Right after Pregnancy Might Not Be a Good Idea
While a lot of mothers say they feel perfectly fine after birth and are ready to get back in shape immediately, that doesn’t mean their body is ready too.
The process of pregnancy and giving birth causes massive changes to the inner core of a woman’s body. The core is made up of the deep back muscles, the diaphragm, the pelvic floor, and the abdominal muscles.
These changes usually revert naturally within four to six weeks after birth. However, in some cases, it can take months for the body to get back to normal. This is why it’s important to wait and ensure the body is ready before subjecting it to any fitness regimen.
Common Problems Caused By Premature Postnatal Exercise
If the abdominal and the pelvic region hasn’t recovered before a new mom starts exercising, this can increase the risk of pelvic health issues, injuries, and several other problems such as:
- Pelvic instability and low back pain
- Urinary incontinence
- Diastasis recti
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain in the perineal area
How to Determine Your Body Is Ready For Postnatal Exercise
Experts recommend waiting at least two to three months before starting a vigorous postnatal exercise routine. However, certain signs indicate your body can handle postnatal exercise. Here’s what you need to look for:
- Your body isn’t showing any signs of inner core issues and injuries such as abdominal dysfunction
- Your pelvic floor functionality is healthy and you aren’t facing any issues such as leakage or painful back
- You aren’t experiencing any postnatal depression, fatigue, or general weakness of the muscles
- Your delivery was normal and the bleeding has stopped
- Your doctor or midwife completed your 6-week check-up and gave you the green light to start exercising
Warning Signs That Indicate You Are Trying Too Much Too Soon
There are several signs to look out for when starting postnatal exercise which might indicate your body isn’t ready for too much physical activity.
- Bleeding starts again
- Excessive pain that isn’t muscles, joint, or birth-related
- Feeling exhausted after the exercise instead of invigorated
- Muscle feel sore for an unusually long time after exercise
- Elevated resting heart rate by more than 10 beats per minutes above the usual rate
If you observe any of these signs, stop exercising and consult your midwife or doctor immediately.
Contact Our Pelvic Health Experts In Toronto!
Sports & Exercise Medicine Institute offers expert pelvic health programs and professional physical therapy treatments for new mothers.
Our team of qualified doctors and physiotherapists in Toronto provide evidence-based care, diagnoses, assessment, and treatment of women and men experiencing pelvic incontinence and other problems.
Our range of services include manual therapy techniques, Electrical Muscle Stimulation, shockwave therapy, and pelvic health physiotherapy to help you deal with acute and chronic pelvic floor conditions.