Being a new mum is exciting, but also a slightly overwhelming time. There is very little, if any, time to focus on yourself. Even having a quick shower can seem a challenge. So if you do manage to grab 10mins to yourself, it’s important to use that time wisely.
If exercise is one of the many things on your to-do list, here are a few things to avoid at the post natal stage!
Just to note, it is important to wait until your six-week post natal check with your GP before starting an exercise programme. If you have had a C-section it tends to be around 10-12 weeks before your GP check, and you should consult with your doctor/midwife about when you can start working out.
Exercises to Avoid for the first few months after having a baby:
1. High impact exercise -eg running, high impact interval training, skipping. There is a hormone called Relaxin, which relaxes the ligaments in your body to facilitate the birth. This hormone is still in your body for months after you have had the baby. Therefore high impact exercises are more likely to cause injury as joints are less stable.
2. Star jumps/jumping jacks – this is also a high impact exercise, but deserves a special mention as i would avoid star jumps if you have any weakness in your pelvic floor, regardless of if you’ve just had a baby or not. Anyone, young or old, male or female with pelvic floor dysfunction could wet themselves or cause a further injury, if they perform a high impact star jump. In an exercise class most good instructors will give an alternative, such as a half star or step touch, so go with that lower impact option!
3. Over stretching – this is linked with the relaxin hormone staying in your body. As already mentioned, your ligaments are more stretchy, so just be aware that if you are stretching, such as during a yoga or pilates session, don’t think ‘wow, i’m really flexible today!’, and overstretch, as this could cause an injury.
4. Sit ups/abdominal crunches – this is a key one to avoid. Infact it is NOT the best exercise to do to ‘tone’ the abdominals full stop. Sit ups put a tremendous amount of pressure down on the pelvic floor and it’s very hard to do them correctly. Your stomach muscles will be weak and hard to control and are likely to ‘dome’, (push out and up) and you will be making them worse, and could cause injury. Many people also pull on their neck, which can cause strain. Avoid them! NB: even when getting out of bed, rather than sitting straight up, roll onto your side first and then get up.
Just remember you can have a really good work out, and achieve your fat-burning and toning goals,while keeping things low impact. It also means you can focus on your technique, making your workout safer and more effective now and in the future. Be kind to yourself, listen to your own body, and make sure you keep hydrated when exercising.