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Post-natal Exercise - What to Avoid

What to avoid when exercising after pregnancy...

Exercises that can cause a diastasis recti to worsen

If you have a diastasis recti then exercises such as situps, crunches, planks and bycicles can actually worsen your condition.  If you are unsure whether you have a diastasis recti (read here for more information) then it is definitely worth your while seeing a physiotherapist who can check.  If you have one they will then be able to teach you exercises that are safe to do.

2) HIIT (high intensity) exercises too early

After birth your body will be affected by common challenges such as sleep deprivation, loss of strength and fitness, anxiety and stress and hormonal changes.  All of these factors can make you more susceptible to injury therefore best to start of with light exercise and only progressing on to high intensity when your body is ready.

3) Sporadic exercising

As hard as it is having a baby to find time to exercise aim to do shorter exercise sessions on a regular basis rather than one longer session when you find the time.  This will show results quicker and help avoid injury.  A good trainer can help you find time by doing exercise sessions with you with your baby which help you to lose weight and tone up at the same time as having fun with your baby.

4) Carrying on when being not able to control weeing while exercising

This is not ideal for obvious reasons and for the fact that your pelvic floor muscles are just not strong enough yet to control your bladder while exercising.  Best at this point to seek help from one of our physios who can help you strengthen the pelvic floor and teach you exercises to lose weight and tone at the same time.

5) Spending a lot of time stretching

Beware that your there is more of the hormone relaxin and elastin in your body during pregnancy and stays present in your body for months afterwards.  This will mean that you are more flexible than usual and exercises such as yoga and a lot of stretching may make you prone to injury.  Exercise such as pilates and strengthening work will be a better option for the months following delivery.

6) Repeating the same exercises again and again

Your body needs to be challenged to gain results.  The most effective programme will be varied and include exercises that speed up metabolism and burn fat, increase fitness and tone up.  Our FITMAMA exercise programmes are designed to offer varied exercises to keep the sessions motivating, interesting and get the results you are looking for.

7) Getting on that treadmill too quickly

It is best to have a review with a physio before returning to running.  As an exercise it places a lot of strain on your core and pelvic muscles and they may have not recovered enough until 4-6 months after pregnancy.  Starting too soon may cause issues such as incontinence and prolapse to develop or for a diastasis recti to worsen if you have one.

8) Exercising with the baby carrier incorrectly

Babies should be able to ideally have the baby carrier below chin height before they are faced outwards otherwise keep them looking in.  It is worth having a physio or a baby carrier expert check how you are wearing it to ensure you are not putting any unwanted strain on your neck or back.  Baby carriers with hip support are better for preventing low back strain especially when the baby gains weight and size.

This blog was written by our committee member, Bex Aldridge, a post natal specialist and massage specialist who founded and runs Health2u.

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