Top 10 tips on post-natal exercise

Are you mum-to-be who is planning ahead on losing baby weight after baby is born? Or are you a new mum who is keen on getting fit ?

Here are 10 tips which might help you get started.

1.  Get the all-clear from your GP at your post-natal check up. This is usually 6-8 weeks after a vaginal birth and 12 weeks after a C-section.

2. Listen to your body and adjust the intensity of the workout accordingly.  Some days you might feel you are up for a challenge, and some days you might feel a bit drained, perhaps due to lack of sleep. When you are tired, you are more prone to injury. The best thing to do is to stick to the workout, but lower the intensity, and aim to feel better and more energized after the workout.

3. Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise. It is important to stay hydrated, especially if you are breastfeeding.

4. Wear a supportive sports bra.  If you are breastfeeding, make sure you use nursing pads during a workout as arm movements may promote milk flow.

5. Exercise your pelvic floor muscles reguarly.  If you have weak pelvic floor, focus on strengthening these muscles and avoid plyometric moves, jumping, or anything that puts pressure on the pelvic floor.

6. Avoid sit-up (crunches), especially you have separation in the abdominal muscles as they will make it worse.  This is commonly known as the ‘go-to’ exercise for a flat tummy, but the truth is the opposite.  Not only this exercise will not flatten your tummy, it puts strain on your lower back and cause lower back pain. What’s more, they will make tummy stick out even more if you suffer from abdominal separation.

7. Be careful not to over-stretch your joints.  Relaxin lingers in the body system a few months after baby is born. Over-stretching leads to instability of the joints and will increase the risk of injury. When in doubt, reduce the range of movement during exercise. Hold static stretches in a comfortably tense position for up to 30 seconds.

8. Let your instructor know about any injuries.  Your instructor will be able to advise you on exercise modification that is more appropriate for your condition.

9. Post-natal exercise class can be a great social event.  You get to meet other mums in the local area, make new friends, chat about your little ones’ development and motivate each other during a workout. Being a mum can be lonely at times, and it is great to have a network of mums who have similar interest and fitness goals.

10. Enjoy motherhood!  Do not let the pressure to lose weight get to you. Rather than focusing on ‘I want a flat tummy’ or ‘I want my pre-pregnancy body back now’, think of your workout as a way to have some ‘me time’, a time to take care of yourself, a time to feel good about yourself and a time to feel energized so that you will get more done for the rest of the day, e.g. play with your kids, take care of your family, or be more focused at work.  Your body will get stronger as you workout.  As your body gets stronger, your body shape will change, and weight will fall off automatically.

All the best,