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How soon after birth did you get back into exercise?

(14 Posts)
emmyloo2 Sat 27-Nov-10 17:55:21

Hi there, I just had my baby boy 3 days ago. I was a real gym bunny right up until the birth - I was literally at the gym the day I went in to be induced.

I am wondering when people who exercised before managed to get back to the gym after giving birth? I had a long but uncomplicated labour and had a few stiches for some grazes, which are not causing me much pain. However, I struggle at the moment to do anything other than a 30 minutes walk around the block because my stomach whole bottom area (front and back!) are still quite sore and feel tender both inside and out.

Just wondering whether swimming would be a good option once the bleeding stops?

Any suggestions or experience would be appreciated? I am very conscious of not going back to early and not letting my body heal.

Thanks smile

kitstwins Sat 27-Nov-10 18:14:34

Aside from other healing issues and bleeding I would also suggest making sure your stomach muscles are together before you undertake anything too rigorous. As you know your rectus abdominus separates during pregnancy to accomodate the growing uterus/baby. After delivery these muscles slowly return back to their normal position - taking around 6 weeks post vaginal birth and up to 12 weeks post caesarean birth (caesareans traumatise the area more and there's much more internal healing involved so the muscles take longer to heal and return to position. Obviously everyone is different and some people will take slightly longer depending on the individual circumstances of their delivery/caesarean. You also need to check at around 6 weeks to make sure that your muscles have come fully together, which you can do by performing a small stomach crunch and inserting your fingers into the area above and below your belly button. If there's a gap of 2 fingers or more then that's a diastasis recti that will need to be closed with specific, tailored exercises.

If you leap into exercises too quickly you can interfere with the return of your rectus abdominus. You also risk bleeding for longer post-birth if you overdo it. I think the maxim is to listen to your body. A thirty minute walk three days after you've given birth is quite ambitious. I was a big runner and very fit before I had my babies (twins by caesaeran) but I really had to hold off post-delivery as anything beyond minor exertion exhausted me, made me bleed more and hurt like the blazes. I started running again at around 11 weeks post-section. It's hard when you're used to exercise but I would counsel cutting your body some slack for a couple of weeks at least. There's nothing wrong with walks at this stage but rushing it really does you no favours in the long run. If it's any consolation I ended up fitter and stronger and with stronger abdominals after the birth of my twins. I just took my time getting there, which I think paid off in the end.

Waffly message. The subtext of which is listen to your body, let it heal. You will get fit again and it's better to view it as a long game. You'll end up stronger for it if you take it steady and slow to begin with.

cardamomginger Sat 27-Nov-10 18:56:30

i agree that you need to take it slowly. i think a 30 minute walk is amazing!!! i was hobbling and in pain after 5 minutes! i wouldn't go swimming until you are quite sure that everything down there has healed up - not sure whether the chlorine could interfere with the healing process. maybe ask your gp to check you are healed first. and if you do g=have any pelvic instability/looseness from the birth the support of the water could encourage you to open your legs more than you should and you could make things worse. i know it is frustrating - i was very very fit and was at the gym until 38 weeks when spd hit. almost 9 weeks postnatal i'm not back yet as have had a few problems with my pelvis and coccyx as well as tears that became infected and opened up. i think i was unlucky though and hopefully you will be fine. it is hard to take it easy when you are itching to get back to exercise. i've accepted that i'm not going to be doing anything until the new year. but what's a few months compared to the rest of our lives? and better to wait a bit than risk injury which might mean a longer period of time away from the gym. you will get back to it. you will regain your strength, fitness and your body. allowing yourself the time and space to heal is all part of that. congratulations on your baby!!

mrsbigw Sat 27-Nov-10 22:17:13

I went back after a couple of weeks last time (DC3) but was very careful about what I did & built up slowly. After DC1 I just walked with pushchair for exercise as that's all I could do for ages. For me I go by how my body feels, my energy levels & whether bleeding has stopped.

Cosmosis Mon 29-Nov-10 11:36:59

I was doing brisk walks with pram after a week or so, and started running at 7 weeks, and have done 2 short mountain bike rides, one at 9 weeks and one at 12 weeks (yesterday in fact!)

togarama Mon 29-Nov-10 17:20:14

Normal walking straight away, brisk walking and gentle stretches within a week (walked DD 5 miles to the registry office and back) and jogging after 2.5 weeks once the bleeding had stopped.

Like you, I didn't have specific birth injuries to worry about so I just played it by ear and went by how I felt.

ivykaty44 Mon 29-Nov-10 17:24:11

first dd1 I was walking 30 minutes every day after two weeks, though had c section so different

dd2 vbac I couldn't even walk to the end of the road after one week and two weeks I was slowly getting there

i found I was older and took longer to heal, flet different with vb rathr than c section

please listen to your body and don't over do things

mubm Tue 30-Nov-10 20:38:35

I was taking walks with the pram at 1 week and started swimming again after 1 month. It was hard living with a post-pregnancy body when I'd been used to being pretty active and fit before, but it was SO easy to overdo it. And looking back it was such a short time in my life. It's exhausting looking after a newborn and recovering from labour and childbirth, so leave yourself enough energy to do these important things.

DreamingofFour Tue 30-Nov-10 20:43:26

Just did pelvic floor exercises and tried to bring together abdominal muscles for first six weeks along with some stretching/very gentle yoga type exercise. Try to give yourself time to heal!

mubm Tue 30-Nov-10 20:46:42

Forgot to mention the things that made me feel better about my body (forgive me if this isn't the main reason why you want to get back to the gym). I felt really good about what my body had achieved in growing and giving birth to another little person, and how it was continuing to 'grow' him with milk. I also did my hair and put on make-up everyday so that I felt good about some aspects of my appearance.

Take care and enjoy your new little one!

peapod2010 Tue 30-Nov-10 22:11:46

Something that no-one's mentioned yet which came as a nasty surprise to me was stress incontinence. I was a keen runner pre-birth and recovered pretty quickly so started running again straight after the 6 week check but found my bladder control was a real issue. I was really miffed as I've done pelvic floor exercises obcessively for years!It's much better now (7 mths later) but I still find I have to restrict fluid intake for a couple of hours before a run and go to the loo the second before I head out the door.

ClimberChick Wed 01-Dec-10 05:16:12

same as peapod, at 9 months I have to plan runs quite carefully.

Non-impact exercise is good though

AlpinePony Wed 01-Dec-10 06:12:33

I had an emcs and was back on my horse at exactly 6 weeks and have been doing gym classes since then. I didn't go to term so perhaps that's why I've not had a flicker of any incontinence. confused I won't lie, it was sore at first - but sore, as in done too many ab exercises -not disastrously painful!

Cosmosis Wed 01-Dec-10 08:23:25

forgot to say as well I walked most of the way up pen-y-ghent at 3 wks after. No incontinence her either.

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