Q: After my baby is born, how long should I wait to start exercising? Also, I plan to breast-feed; will this make a difference? I’ve heard that breast milk tastes bitter to the baby after the mother works out.
A: Until recently, conventional wisdom held that new moms should wait six weeks after delivery before beginning to exercise. But experts now believe that most women, particularly those who’ve had no complications during pregnancy and who’ve delivered vaginally, can do a limited amount of exercise as soon as one day after delivery.
You can start with simple exercises to increase strength in the abdominal and perineal muscles, which have been stressed and stretched during pregnancy and delivery. Stomach tightening, gentle abdominal curls, and Kegel exercises are helpful. (Women who’ve delivered by Cesarean section should not attempt any abdominal exercises for six weeks.) You can also begin building strength and flexibility in your back muscles with stretches and exercises like cat curls: On all fours, pull your pelvis up to round your back, holding for a few seconds, and then relaxing to a flat (not “hollow”) back; repeat several times. This exercise also builds pelvic and back strength during pregnancy and relieves backaches.
Depending on how fit you were before giving birth, you can try an aerobic workout as soon as you feel up to it. Many women begin walking a few days after the birth; those who’ve maintained a high level of fitness during pregnancy can begin more vigorous workouts after about a week or two. If you’re a runner, you should delay running for two to three weeks because your joints will still be loose from pregnancy, making you more prone to injuries like a sprained ankle. Make sure you stay well hydrated, and always let your common sense guide you: Build up your fitness level gradually, and stop if you notice any pain or excessive or new bleeding.
Don’t worry about exercise’s effect on breast milk. Working out shouldn’t make any difference in either the quantity or the taste of your breast milk, as long as you drink plenty of water, eat well, and make rest a priority.
Fitness and Pregnancy
Will exercising during pregnancy lead to a shorter labor? Experts used to say no, but new research shows that women who stay fit during pregnancy have shorter, less traumatic labors, deliveries, and recoveries. There’s no guarantee, of course, but maintaining your fitness level while you’re pregnant will at least provide strength and stamina during labor, and then help you get back into shape more easily once the baby is born.
For most of individuals conceiving a baby can become illusive and frustrating. Here you may find out a lot of easy, effective ways to get pregnant fast and naturally.
Keep in mind that pregnancy is not a good time to begin working out if you were sedentary before you conceived. But women who exercised before getting pregnant can keep doing so during pregnancy without fear. Try walking, biking, or swimming; runners who were very fit before pregnancy can keep up their routine almost until the end, stopping when they feel uncomfortable in the eighth or ninth month. Again, take care not to get overheated – doing so might shunt blood away from the uterus – by drinking plenty of water. Talk to your obstetrician or other health care provider before beginning any exercise program while pregnant.