Postnatal exercises: what are they & when can you start?

A warm congrats to our new mums on the birth of your child. It is indeed a joyful moment of your life, but you can’t deny that pregnancy has taken a toll on your body. During the postnatal period you might experience back pain, abdominal separation, reduced core strength, weight gain, reduced stamina, and pelvic floor issues.
Post natal exercise
Don’t you worry, postnatal exercises are a great solution to address these issues.

What are postnatal exercises?
During pregnancy and child birth the body goes through lot of changes, both physically and psychologically and we know that many mums want to get back to their pre baby days ASAP, but it is important to get the foundation right to prevent any new injuries now and in the future. Postnatal exercises are designed for mums who have recently given birth. These are not strenuous exercises but exercises focused on addressing the common issues that women experience post pregnancy.

What are some of the benefits?

Improve general fitness and strength
You might have noticed that your body is weaker post child birth. You might have noticed that now and especially as your baby becomes a toddler you will need to be twice as fit as you were before. Postnatal exercises are targeted to improve your pelvic floor and deep abdominal strength as well as the big muscles groups in your legs and arms and your aerobic capacity.

Improves Posture
During the first few months you will notice you spend a lot of time in a hunched over position either breast feeding your baby or carrying them. This is one of the main reasons for neck and back pain. Part of the post natal exercise program are stretches and strengthening exercises for the spinal muscles which will enable you to improve your posture while performing your
activities but this time pain free!

Improve core strengthening
During pregnancy the growth of the baby stretches the abdominal muscles to a great extent and this can cause the muscles to separate from each other. This is called “diastasis recti” also known as abdominal separation. Vital component of the post-natal exercise program is to help you close the abdominal separation by strengthening your core muscles.

Improve pelvic floor muscle function
Imagine the weight of your baby pushing down on a small group of muscles for the nine months of pregnancy. The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that support the bladder, uterus and bowel. These pelvic floor muscles are usually stretched and weekend post child birth and it needs some strength and conditioning. Postnatal exercises incorporate pelvic floor muscle strengthening and also train the use of pelvic floor muscle activation with day-to-day activities to prevent mums from having any incontinence issues now and later in life.

Other health benefits:

  • Improves energy and stamina
  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Improves mood
  • Prevent postnatal anxiety/depression

What to expect from a Mums & Bubs Pilates class at Inner Strength Bayside

Our Mums & Bubs pilates classes are run by our team of experienced physiotherapist.  These classes enable our mums to achieve the above-mentioned benefits and ease back into physical activities in a supervised and safe environment. Exercises are designed to include your baby and will incorporate tummy time as well.

When do I start post-natal exercises?
You can start these exercises after 6 weeks post child birth given clearance by your doctor to exercise. Prior to starting classes you will need to have completed an individual assessment with one of our physios to establish a history about your pregnancy and birth and any ongoing issues that you may have. 

What will I need to get started?
Just yourself and your baby. Why wait then? Book in to see one of our physiotherapists at the clinic today for a Mums and Bubs assessment to improve your health and fitness post pregnancy.

Written by Nachu Nachiappan, Physiotherapist