When you first arrive home with your newborn, the last thing on your to-do list will be exercise, but it is essential that you keep moving. We encourage you to take a walk outside daily, as fresh air is good for you and your newborn. If the temperature is extremely cold or hot, consider a walk in a museum, or mall during off hours so that crowds around your newborn can be limited.
Once you have had your postpartum checkup and get approval from your provider to resume exercise, we strongly recommend that you incorporate regular motion and exercise into your lifestyle.
Core strengthening is a must!
No matter how much weight you have gained during your pregnancy or lost since your delivery, your abdominal muscles have suffered some abuse from the stretching needed to accommodate your growing child. Strengthening your core now will reduce back strain, urine incontinence, and help prepare your body for a future pregnancy.
- Start with yoga or pilates for postnatal women
- Stretch before and after workouts
- Avoid straight crunches or sit-ups if you have a separation of your rectal muscles (aka rectal diathesis) as told to you by your provider
- If running is your exercise of choice try to core strengthening for a few weeks then start your running regimen
- Wherever you did your prenatal exercise classes will often have a postnatal exercise program. For example, Sweet Pea Studios conducts postnatal classes that allow you to bring your newborn too and even incorporates the baby into your work out.
- Consider a personal trainer, who can help you concentrate on core strengthening if it’s not cost prohibitive for you. These trainers can often help you establish good habits while avoiding injury to yourself.
Sleep Is a Necessity
Usually, you will feel like someone forgot to tell your newborn how to tell time. To a newborn infant, there is no difference between daytime and nighttime. It can take weeks, and sometimes months until they can establish a regular feeding schedule that fits into your lifestyle and preferred sleeping habits.
Some simple rules to follow:
- Sleep when you can. It is very easy to want to get things done around the house when your newborn sleeps but at least every other time they nap you should put your feet up, close your eyes and at least try to rest.
- Make sure you are staying well hydrated. This is true for all new mothers but even more important for mothers who breastfeed. You really can’t drink enough water.
- Try to eat healthfully– Eating well and regularly can give you the energy to keep up with your newborn infant.
- “It takes a village” – Please do not hesitate to ask for help or feel guilty if you do so. Whether you have family nearby, friends that are helpful or you need to pay staff, when you are newly postpartum you will need to call out the troops. Let friends and/or family-run errands, provide meals, and help with the baby so you can get some undisturbed and much-needed rest.
- Do not place anything in your vagina for 6 weeks after delivery (that includes, avoidance of tampon and intercourse).
- Do not drive for 2 weeks from delivery, or until you can move comfortably and are no longer taking narcotic medication.
- Call to make a postpartum appointment– within the first few days after you arrive home from the hospital. Please follow up 2 and 6 weeks after you have had a C-section, and 5-6 weeks after you have had a vaginal delivery.
- Expect to have vaginal bleeding for 6-8 weeks. If it is less that is not a problem. If it occurs for more time, we will investigate the reasons.
- Don’t feel like you need to entertain– get your rest. That is your priority.