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How Soon After Giving Birth Can You Work Out?

posted: 07/25/16
by: Ashley Lauretta
mommy workout
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When you get home with your new baby, all you want to do is curl up as a family and--when you aren't doing that--sleep.

But if you were active before pregnancy and childbirth and are used to fitness being a part of your daily routine, how soon is too soon to get back to your regular fitness schedule? Whether you use workouts as a way to destress or they become your only 'me' time once the new baby arrives, there are a few things to be aware of when getting active again after giving birth.

"The typical recommendation to begin postpartum exercise is 4-6 weeks, however, the earlier a new mom can begin to be physically active after delivery the better," shares Tatum Rebelle, who specializes in pre and postnatal fitness and is the owner of Total Mommy Fitness.

She says "Getting into even a modest fitness routine with walking and light stretching will help prevent breaking the habit of exercise, and offers a long list of benefits both mentally and physically."

If you've heard that exercise interferes with breastfeeding--Rebelle notes it is a common myth--it is important to know it is just that: a myth. Rebelle explains that there is no negative correlation between moderate exercise and the ability to breastfeed.

She says "As with prenatal exercise, the benefits of exercise far outweigh any possible risk."

For women who had a cesarean section or any sort of complication during labor, this, of course, can delay your recovery time. Listening to your body is key in this instance. "If something feels painful, stop," urges Rebelle.

She says "Early postpartum exercise should be treated more like physical therapy, with a focus on rehabilitation of the core and pelvic floor, and little concern about weight loss or high-intensity workouts until the body is fully recovered."

If, when listening to your body, you don't feel ready to begin working out soon after your delivery, it is okay to start slow and even postpone until exercises feel comfortable. Working with your doctor or a pre and postnatal fitness specialist to find the right exercises is a great first step, and helps guarantee you have someone to turn to should you have any questions along the way.

"Above all, remember that the body always knows best," notes Rebelle, "By staying in-tune with the body's cues and listening to its valuable feedback, exercise can begin shortly after giving birth."