Value of Postpartum Fitness

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Here are two important facts regarding physical activity following birth:

1. Women who return to vig­or­ous (vig­or­ous, as in jog­ging or aer­o­bic dance) pri­or to six weeks post­par­tum…

  • have less weight to lose
  • expe­ri­ence a more joy­ful state of mind
  • do bet­ter on the Led­er­man Mater­nal Adap­ta­tion scales (how well they adapt to moth­er­hood)

…than women who are seden­tary dur­ing this peri­od (Sampselle, 1999…this is not new infor­ma­tion)

2. Post­par­tum obe­si­ty is a dan­ger­ous short and long term health risk (Led­dy, 2008).

Who should exercise and when, following birth?

Day 1: If you have a vagi­nal birth, begin your “body scan” the first chance you get. With­in the first day, the first chance you get to focus on your­self, take a men­tal trip through your body. See if you can squeeze the kegel mus­cles. Try exhal­ing and suck­ing in your deep abdom­i­nal mus­cles. Note if your shoul­ders need to relax. Take some deep breathes and begin to help your body recov­er.

If you had a cesare­an: Wait a few days to 2 weeks at most to work on this.

After that: As soon as you can, get up and walk around. Start walk­ing in 5 or 10 minute strolls sev­er­al times a day (ask some­one to hold or watch baby so you can allow your body to recov­er a non-preg­nant upright). If you had a cesare­an, hold a pil­low to your abdomen until you have con­trol of your abdom­i­nal mus­cles and stand tall.

How can you get more information on this?

Go to our web­site:

http://dancingthrupregnancy.com/take-a-class/postpartum-exercise/

Find a class. If you had a typ­i­cal birth and your baby has been slow­ly and safe­ly exposed to new peo­ple, by four to six weeks you and baby should be ready for a struc­tured activ­i­ty ses­sion that includes baby. It will also pro­vide focus and adult inter­ac­tion dur­ing the week.

You have to teach your abdomen to be flat.
How do you know if you did too much?

Your lochia, or the bleeding/discharge from the pla­cen­tal site, will increase if you have been too vig­or­ous. If you are healthy and have no ane­mia issues, your lochia will like­ly cease by three to four weeks, six at most.

What are safety issues?

Don’t exer­cise if you have a fever, a warm red spot on your leg that may be painful (or not), or sore nip­ples that need atten­tion. Call your care provider. If you or your baby are sick, it is best not to go into a group set­ting. If your baby is not well or just doesn’t seem right, call your pedi­a­tri­cian.

The most important reason to join a mom-baby fitness program may be that it will help keep you sane.