What are the benefits?
While most new moms crave sleep more than exercise, the benefits of postpartum physical activity are numerous! Studies have found that it can improve mood, help with weight control, maintain cardiorespiratory fitness, and reduce depression and anxiety.The early new-born days are often a blur focused on recovering from delivery and caring for your new baby. For this reason, the importance of resuming physical activity is not emphasized enough and many new moms end up missing out on these benefits.
Will it affect breastmilk supply?
Some women hold off physical activity for fear of interrupting breast milk supply. The good news is that moderate physical activity will not affect breast milk volume if the mother maintains appropriate food and fluid intake and doesn’t allow herself to become dehydrated.
Where do I start?
A few golden rules to follow as you start to resume physical activity after childbirth.
- Go slow. Your body has been through a lot through both pregnancy and delivery, so it’s important to respect your healing timeline and listen to your body.
- Go by feel. There are no hard and fast rules as to how much you should be exercising. Aiming for 15mins of aerobic exercise 3 to 5 days a week is a good starting point and build from there.
- Be kind to yourself. Your body will look and feel very different so don’t place unrealistic expectations on yourself of picking up where you left off.
- Add some variety. From gentle walks to stretching, pelvic floor work and strength training. The only thing to hold off on until follow up with your doctor would be high impact exercise that would put undue strain on your pelvic floor.