When should I start back?
- For vaginal births without complication, gentle exercise can be commenced as soon as you are comfortable and able.
- Afte a caesarean section it is recommended to wait six weeks before commencing gentle exercise.
- High impact exercise or sport should be avoided for at least 12 weeks and it is highly encouraged to undergo an assessment by a health professional to determine your ability to maintain appropriate pelvic floor activation before starting.
What sort of exercise is best?
- The most important rule is start gently and build you up.
- Remember your pelvic floor! Many forms of higher intensity exercise, including jogging and weight training, place strain on the pelvic floor. Contrary to popular belief, bladder leakage during exercise is not something you have to live with post-birth, so please consult a trained continence physiotherapist of GP is this is a concern for you.
- A great starting point is walking and cycling when comfortable. Swimming is also excellent once any discharge has ceased and wounds have healed.
- Add in low intensity, low resistence exercise, when you feel comfortable. This can include pilates, yoga, weight-bearing exercise and balance exercises.
- Start easy with once or twice a week. Recommendations encourage at least 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week, so gradually build up to this.
- If you do have substantial abdominal separation, avoid exercises that place high strain on the abdominal region and cause 'doming', or a buldging through the centre of the tummy, as you start out.
Groups and classes run by health professionals for mums and their babies can be a wonderful, safe way to start back and good for mental health and motivation. Lara Physiotherapy have recently started a post-natal exercise class run by a trained physiotherapist. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. Another helpful resource to consult is the government website pelvicfloorfirst.org.au