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What Type Of Exercise Is Safe

Facts

  • Aerobic exercise that works your heart, lungs and large muscle groups is helpful after pregnancy to ensure that you keep physically fit and are better able to achieve a healthy weight.
    • Walking is a safe start, which you can increase in intensity and distance as you are able. You can walk at any time and your baby, other young children and partner can come with you.
    • Other suitable aerobic activities to start early are swimming, aqua-aerobics, low impact aerobics classes, light weight training, dancing, cycling, yoga and pilates.
    • Higher impact activities or competitive sports such as running, aerobics classes, tennis and basketball increase risk of damage to your ligaments and joints in the first two to three months after delivery.
  • Pelvic floor exercises (external, KEMH) are important to tone and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles that may be stretched and weakened by pregnancy.
  • Your abdominal muscles will be stretched and may have separated down the middle during pregnancy. You can start Gentle tummy toning exercises (external, Better Health Channel) but you should wait until the gap between your abdominal muscles is closed before you do more vigorous exercise such as sit-ups. Other ideas with pictures can be found in the postnatal exercise pamphlet (external, King Edward Memorial Hospital)
  • Warm up for all exercise is recommended to avoid injury. You should start your warm up with low intensity activity then stretching that includes all muscle groups. Photos of how to warm up are also in the postnatal exercise pamphlet (external, King Edward Memorial Hospital)

Tips

  • If you are nervous about the intensity of general fitness classes, join one designed for women who have recently given birth. These are often run by a physiotherapist and usually focus on increasing aerobic fitness at a gentle pace, as well as improving muscle tone and pelvic floor strength. Most are baby friendly, either involving the baby in activities or providing childcare.
  • Pram walking is a good way to settle the baby and get some fresh air.  Invite your partner or friend along for some uninterrupted social contact and to help you both keep fit.

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