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Exercise after childbirth

(16 Posts)
upsydaisy33 Thu 08-Aug-13 10:39:38

I had forceps birth and did gentle walking from about three days later (to the cake shop and back) and started walk/running at 5 weeks because I felt absolutely ready for it - bursting to get out.

In retrospect I might have waited for my tummy muscles to have been checked, I was fine in fact and yoga teacher checked them for me about ten days later, but I might have got that horribly wrong if they hadn't been fine. I will be more careful next time.

I did mother/baby yoga from 6 weeks too - very very gentle and you don't always get to do it if baby not playing ball, but great and good for core.
I did an outdoor buggy fit from 5 months (only because that's when it started up, would have been there earlier if poss).
I walked-ran a couple of times a week from that five week moment, but not every week and accepted that it was a chance to get out rather than 'training' or anything which I could expect to get fit from.

I really missed exercise in pregnancy (did swim, but it's not the same) and LOVED getting out and getting the endorphins back and feeling like I had a body for exercise again, albeit a bigger, sloppier one smile
But I wouldn't rush at it - you won't be winning any prizes for being fit and you may not feel like it. Know your options and go with whatever works for you. Do look out classes locally - my buggy fit is run by a brilliant sporty midwife who can also provide a shoulder to cry on, postnatal advice, baby crying advice, exercise recommendations, pelvic floor exercises, and much more besides. She should get an OBE!

Now my only problem is how to fit exercise in with work and childcare - I genuinely struggled much more once I went back to work and it's the big thing for me to think about after next mat leave as it is sanity saving for me. (tips welcome!)

NaturalBaby Tue 06-Aug-13 23:56:07

I was pretty fit and active pre childbirth and was amazed at how long I felt like shite for post birth. I ebf so was exhausted a lot of the time but back in the gym after a few weeks taking it easy.
View childbirth like running a marathon. Your body spends 9 months growing a baby and around 12 hours pushing it out so focus on recovery!

plummyjam Tue 06-Aug-13 20:07:23

I had a c-section. Was brisk walking at about 5 weeks. Started very gentle pilates at about 6-8 weeks and could run after about 10 weeks. I'd read that you need to go steady with sit ups etc especially after a section because of the risk of worsening rectus divarification. Now at 6 months there's nothing I feel I couldn't do (used to play squash and golf) - the only limiting factor is time!

I'd say my figure was back to pre-pregnancy by about 3 months. Breast feeding really helps to keep the weight off too.

Threetofour Tue 06-Aug-13 14:03:52

I am on my 4th baby 30 weeks and still exercise every day although its mainly walking, yoga, Pilates and swimming at this point, I have always got back to exercise pretty quickly but each time has been different, I had terrible back pain after 2nd dc due to back to back delivery which meant I couldn't even walk! I had a 7cm split in abs after first baby & remember trying to go for a walk 2 days pp and having to go back home, don't underestimate what labour will do to your body or what the past 9 months have done

You sound as though you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself but equally I know how you feel you will need to reevaluate your routine post baby as you are going to be fricking knackered! Even without breastfeeding the first six weeks are a bit of a blur & they go so fast! I started a post partum DVD prob 2 weeks after birth but it was only 15 mins (Erin o Connor) following that I was back at yoga 4 weeks pp and body attack/core classes after about 8 weeks. Good luck with the baby! Fwiw I have always got back to a higher Fitness level after each one.... So much so that I am now reps qualified to teach aerobics & yoga so you will get back there quickly.....

JenBobble Mon 05-Aug-13 12:28:27

I had straight forward labour and birth, was fit before pregnancy and took up exercise (martial arts) again 6 weeks after - I had a few stitches and felt them tug a little bit so took it easy with the big stretches. I lost all preg weight in 3 weeks post birth and with exercise stomach is nice and tight again. However I think bf is best way to lose belly judging by my friends who have had babies and didnt bf - it def worked for me!

ShowOfHands Sun 04-Aug-13 22:24:32

And yes yes yes to checking abdominal separation first. I had a diastasis recti with my second and you have to be very careful with what you do because you can make it worse and the knock on effect can be quite comprehensive (back problems, permanent separation etc). There are ways of checking it yourself but you can ask your midwife to have a look or your gp at your 6 week check.

ShowOfHands Sun 04-Aug-13 22:20:19

I'd wait and see tbh because so much depends on the birth, the baby and you.

I have had two emcs and after the first I had pnd/ptsd and a non-sleeping baby. I couldn't contemplate exercise for months and I'd been cycling 16 miles a day up to the day I took maternity leave.

After the second emcs, I was back jogging at 8 weeks and by 4 months was slimmer and fitter than I'd been in years. But I was mentally well and he slept well so I was physically able to do it. I did have to fit it in around two dc though so my workouts were running with a running buggy, cycling with the dc in a trailer, free weights while they slept and then getting out running once ds was older and able to be left (I breastfed).

notanyanymore Sun 04-Aug-13 22:16:39

HV or MW should check your tummy muscles for you if you ask at the first post partum visit. If they have seperated you need to be very, however if this is your first and your usually pretty fit you will probably be fine.

ElphabaTheGreen Sun 04-Aug-13 22:02:16

I was an exercise fiend pre-DS - I did my last weights, circuit and dance classes at 38 weeks pg, so was anticipating getting back to it ASAP. I also felt terribly smug as labour's meant to be easier the fitter you are so I thought I'd sail through.

After lots of lovely compliments from the midwives about how well I managed the labour I did have because I had such good stamina and wasn't carrying any unnecessary weight, I ended up having an EMCS, and was banned from any exercise for 12 weeks post birth (and yes, that applies to everyone, including the very fit - it's major abdominal surgery).

I also ended up with a non-sleeping, routine-abhorring, clingy Velcro-baby so 14 months later I have yet to set foot in a gym or studio. I very occasionally get to do a DVD but I don't get enough sleep to get through day-to-day stuff, plus working full-time, much less exercise to the level I would like, so I physically can't manage those more than once or twice a month (so no point, really).

What I'm getting at is don't count any exercise chickens as you have no idea what your life will be like post-baby! Yes, I'd dearly love to be as fit and active as I once was, but DS (for all his demands) is definitely worth the sacrifice. smile

Nexus6 Sun 04-Aug-13 22:01:24

Oh forgot to add- I found some handy gentle exercises on YouTube and various sites specifically for postpartum that you can easily do within the first few days.

Literally though, after you give birth you will be whacked out for the first week and its ok, think of it as a mega work out that you can just chill out from for a bit!

Nexus6 Sun 04-Aug-13 21:57:08

Yeah best to go to specially designed classes. If you have a good core before hand it will go back quicker anyway. Bf does actually get your tummy in mega quick mine is pretty much back to normal now, I combine feed (have been from about a week) but obviously it's completely what you feel is right for you.

I been riding horses since I was very small so have a fairly good core so I'd imagine even without bf it will snap back quick sharp

ilovemulberry Sun 04-Aug-13 21:43:51

I take part in a pregnancy exercise class and have been told you should really avoid classes that aren't designed for post natal women or you could really cause long term damage to your tummy muscles, even everyday bending over can cause them to split further

Thyeternalsummer Sun 04-Aug-13 20:05:16

I'm 30 and could easily run 15k pre pregnancy, and kept up 30 minute runs until about 30 weeks when I stopped to early labour scare. I also used to do several spin classes a week, and had a personal trainer before pregnancy.

Most keen to get my core muscles back, but I've read that they separate during pregnancy and it can take several weeks for them to move back to the original position??

Planning on starting out with my pregnancy yoga workout in the week or so following birth and if that feels okay starting out with a few spin classes to build up cardio strength before trying out a run again.

FF so don't need to worry about establishing BF etc.

QTPie Sun 04-Aug-13 19:37:03


What did you do before pregnancy? How fit were you? How much exercise/activity have you been doing during pregnancy? What age are you?

I had a good level of fitness before pregnancy (was very very fit up to about 2 years before). Continued with the gym 2/3 times a week and did Pilates until 20 weeks pregnant. Then swam 1km twice a week and did prenatal Pilates for the last 19 weeks of pregnancy - stopping 4 days before my ELCS. Waited until after my 6 week check, then was back in the pool/gym (sensibly building up) twice a week from 7 weeks. DS was born just before my 36th birthday.

Think it is always advisable to have your 6 week check first, but then build up sensibly (and depending on recent fitness and what your body is used to).


Nexus6 Sun 04-Aug-13 19:29:59

Im 3 weeks postpartum, I had a 'straightforward' birth no stitches etc and I have come to the conclusion (from reading around) that you should wait a minimum of 3 weeks before you do too much. I read that it takes three weeks for your uterus to mend/calm down and you'll be healed down there too.

I personally have been going for walks and just gentle exercise, many because I feel tired from broken sleep/breast feeding etc. I think it's good to enjoy the first weeks and just get used to your new life.

Thyeternalsummer Sun 04-Aug-13 17:58:34

Assuming I won't need a CS, how soon after the birth will I be able to start exercising again?

Currently passing the time at 40 + 1, planning all the exercise classes I want to go to once I'm no longer pregnant. Looking forward to regaining my pre-adolescent boy look and can't wait to start spin, Pilates, running etc. again.

How soon did those of you with 'straightforward' births start exercising? How much longer for a CS? Is the wait six weeks advice just for the normally sedate types?

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