Postpartum Exercise

Why should you begin exercising after your 6 week post delivery check-up (with physician’s clearance)?

Benefits:
  • Speeds the rate of healing from labor & delivery
  • Relieves discomfort from labor & delivery and perhaps from either holding a position for too long or being in a position we are not used to like breastfeeding and holding our baby for long periods at a time (stretching tight, sore muscles will help)
  • Speeds postpartum weightloss
  • Improves posture
  • Restores pelvic floor muscles
  • Restores abdominal separation by focusing on doing core work
  • Improves/develops functional balance
  • Maintains and strengthens muscles, especially for lifting & carrying baby
  • Increases energy level
  • Increases self esteem
  • Relaxes the body & mind, especially by focusing on the power of the breath
  • Provides social support if done in a group setting
  • Provides a time to bond & play with baby if done in a group setting or if done at home with baby

What is a simple exercise program for a new mother?
  • Cardio: start by just walking your baby in her stroller for a half hour 3x per week or more or dance with your baby as she is in an Ergo.
  • Strength train 2-3x per week – start easy on yourself with 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps. The last few reps should be challenging. Some strength exercises to definitely include are bicep curls, squats, push-ups on the knees, light abdominal work, and re-strengthing the kegals.
  • Stretch 3x per week or more focusing on stretching the tight muscles from pregnancy, labor, and now postpartum. Stretches to include in your program are downward dog, child’s pose, pelvic tilts, neck releases, chest expansion, and cat/cow. Yoga and pilates will also help you with stretching tight muscles while helping you gain strength.
  • Take time to meditate and relax the mind and focus on the breath, even if that is while you are feeding your baby.

Tips to motivate you and ways to educate you on a safe healthy fitness program:
  • Purchase a mom & baby dvd
  • Join or form a mom’s group that wants to exercise
  • Check out your local community center of mom and baby classes
  • Check out your local hospitals or studios for mom and baby pilates or yoga classes
  • Hire a personal trainer to train you individually or as a small group

Play with your program until you find something that works for you and for your baby. Exercise should be enjoyable and maybe even a little fun.

By Christy Li, Founder of Pi-Yo Play
Questions/comments: Christy"at"piyoplay.com or visit www.piyoplay.com

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