Dr. Sadie Altringer
Exercising after you have a baby is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It may seem like the last thing you want to do, but just think of the many benefits it can give you:
– increased energy
– helps prevent post partum depression
– improves mood
– promotes weight loss
– restores muscular strength
– improves cardiovascular health
– relieves stress
The BIG question is, “When do I start”? Depending on your delivery type this answer can vary. The best way to find out is to talk to your OB doctor about when it is safe for you to start an exercise program.
If you are a nursing mother, it is still ok to exercise. There are no adverse effects on breast milk and it doesn’t have any negative effect on the nursing baby. Some research has suggested that high-intensity physical activity can cause lactic acid to accumulate in breast milk and produce a sour taste a baby might not like. If you’re breast-feeding, you can prevent this problem by only doing moderate activity or discarding milk produced in the half-hour following a high-intensity workout.
To stay comfortable while you’re exercising, nurse your baby or express milk before your workout. It also helps to wear a supportive bra. To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids during and after your workout.
When you have decided to start exercising, the next step is deciding what to do. Start simple and work your way into a more intense program. Start with 15-30 minutes a day of low impact aerobic activity which can include the elliptical, walking, swimming laps, and/or biking on a reclined bike.
In conjunction with cardiovascular activity, it is important to start retraining your core muscles. You can start with the following exercises:
Kegels – Use this exercise to tone your pelvic floor muscles, which can help control bladder leaks and heal your perineum and tighten your vagina. Contract the muscle you use to stop your urine flow. Hold for up to 10 seconds and release. Repeat 10 times at least three times a day
Bridging -Lie on your back with your knees bent. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Raise your hips off the floor until your hips are aligned with your knees and shoulders. Hold for three deep breaths. Return to the starting position and repeat 5 times.
Leg Slide Exercise – Do leg slides to tone your abdominal and leg muscles. Lie on your back and bend your knees. Inhale and slide one leg to a straight position. Exhale and return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg. Repeat 12 times on both sides. Do 3 sets.
If you have any questions regarding pregnancy and/or post partum exercise routines and getting started, please contact me for more information or to set up a free consult at (509) 922-0303.