Moving your body after having a baby is beneficial for many reasons. However, adding movement at this time can be intimidating. Because of this, we’re here to make it easier for you with some tips and tricks to introduce postpartum movement into your routine! Read on to learn more about postpartum movement.
Benefits of Postpartum Movement
There are many benefits of movinig yout body after having a baby. Some of those benefits include (1,2,3,4):
- Boosting your energy level
- Getting better sleep
- Helping to decrease stress
- Encouraging labour recovery
- Preventing postpartum depression
- Increasing social connection
- Helping to strengthen your pelvic floor & abdominal muscles
At The Nest, we focus on the overall benefits of moving your body. In other words, our goal is to help you thrive during the postpartum period. For this reason, we do not focus on weight loss as a benefit of moving your body.
As mentioned, postpartum movement can help with labour recovery. In addition, movement combined with nutrition can allow for optimal healing. For more information about postpartum nutrition, head to our blog post Nutrition for Postpartum Healing.
When Can I Start Moving my Body After Having a Baby?
Deciding when to start doing moving your body is a personal decision. Current guidelines suggest waiting until 4-6 weeks after vaginal birth to begin large movements (4). However, you can choose to do gentle pelvic floor exercise soon after birth (3). Keep in mind, that prior to beginning pelvic floor exercises, it’s beneficial to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist to receive guidance for these movements. Despite these guidelines however, you should only start doing postpartum movement when you are ready.
If you gave birth via a caesarean section, healing may take longer. Due to this, recommendations state waiting 6-8 weeks to begin postpartum movement (3). However, the same recommendation for pelvic floor exercise applies. You may choose to do gentle pelvic floor exercise soon after birth.
Safe Postpartum Movement
When starting postpartum movement, it is important to be safe. Safe movement includes:
- Light strength training
- Low-impact aerobics
- Pelvic floor exercise
Postpartum Movement Recommendations
Recommendations for moving your body after baby are as follows (1,2,3,4):
- Talk to your health care providers before starting
- Start with low-intensity movement
- Gradually introduce strength training
- Start with small goals
- When you are ready, increase to moderate-intensity movement
Overall Movement Recommendation
- 150-minutes of moderate intensity activity per week (spread throughout the week) (4).
Adding Movement into Your Routine
Introducing postpartum movement into your routine can be scary. Here are some tips to make it easier:
- Start small: start with 10-minute sessions.
- Involve your baby: take your baby for a walk in their stroller around the block.
- Join classes: if you’re able, join a class at your local gym, community centre or mom-group.
- Do what feels best: only do what feels right for you
- Be kind to yourself: any safe movement is good movement. Do not feel like you have to do movements you are not comfortable with.
Overall, introducing postpartum movement can be part of your postpartum self-care. For more information on how to navigate this time, head to our blog post, Navigating Postpartum Self-Care
Final Notes from The Nest
In conclusion, postpartum movement can provide you with many benefits. In saying this, it is important to listen to your body. Only do what feels right for you. At The Nest, we promote postpartum movement to help you thrive during the postpartum period both physically and mentally! This is because movement allows you to have both physical and mental benefits as discussed above. If you would like more information about safe postpartum movement, book a call with a Registered Dietitian from The Nest.
Are you newly postpartum and looking for individualized nutrition support?
Book a free consultation call to connect with us and see if we’re the right fit for what you’re looking for!
- Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Phoenix: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c2022 [updated 2021 Nov 24; cited 2022 Feb 5]. Exercise after pregnancy: How to get started; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/exercise-after-pregnancy/art-20044596
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists [Internet]. Chicago: American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists; c2022. [updated 2019 July; cited 2022 Feb 5]. Exercise after pregnancy; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/exercise-after-pregnancy
- Pregnancy, Birth and Baby [Internet]. Australia: Australian Government Department of Health; c2022 [updated 2020 May; cited 2022 Feb 5]. Safe return to exercise after pregnancy; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/safe-return-to-exercise-after-pregnancy
- Roy BA. Postpartum exercise. ACSMs Health Fit J. 2014;18(6):3-4. doi: 10.1249/FIT.0000000000000071