Regaining strength after giving birth

The daily routine for a new mom can
be very hectic – there really is no schedule and with feedings every few hours
and the lack of sleep, your life is turned upside down.

Despite this, it is important to
take time for yourself after giving birth to strengthen the muscles and regain
the stability that is normally lost during pregnancy.

Post-partum women tend to carry a
lot of weaknesses in their backs, abdominals and glutes which can cause quite a
few aches and pains.

Often if you allow the abdominal
and back muscles that have become stretched and weak during pregnancy to remain
that way, these aches and pains can follow you throughout life.

Kiegel or pelvic floor exercises
are extremely important before pregnancy, but are also very important once you
have delivered your baby. Women need to strengthen their pelvic floor as well
as the lower abdominals and the muscles of the upper and lower back to ensure
their core is strong for lifting a baby.

All the daily strains the body
endures caring for a child can easily take their toll on your back, so it is
beneficial to strengthen these muscles as much as possible.

Exercise programmes that increase
your core strength such as Pilates are great for new moms.  Traditional aerobic exercise may be good for
burning body fat but it doesn’t address issues such as weak joints, lack of
muscle strength and urinary incontinence that are important for a lot of
post-partum women.

New mothers must remember that
their joints will be unstable at first and to start back carefully.

Other tips when exercising include
making sure to engage the pelvic floor muscles lightly to help activate the
deep stabilisers of the low back area; avoid putting too much stress on the
lower back for a while, for instance, don’t place both legs up in the air at
the same time or lift too heavy weight. Remember the closer you keep things to
the body, the less stress will be on the lower back.

Participating in Pilates when you
are post-natal can help you learn to contract and strengthen your expanded
pelvic floor and abdominal muscles as well as improve posture, muscle balance,
increase self confidence and strengthen. 

But always remember, you should
gain medical clearance from your doctor before you resume a normal exercise
routine.

Deanna
Smith is an Exercise Physiologist and Pilates Instructor at ENERGY. She can be
contacted at: 946-6006 or
[email protected].

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