Postnatal exercise – What NOT to do!

22 Jan



Recently I have taken on a number of clients looking to get in shape after giving birth. They range from having given birth a year ago to just 6 weeks ago. I have begun to notice a few patterns of thought and a few of the same questions being asked so I thought it was a good idea to write a few blog posts highlighting some of these issues.

The post is all about the DON’Ts. I do not intend this to leave you feeling negative and unmotivated, it should help you to start exercising safely to avoid an injury that may prevent you from getting into shape again. I want you to take it slow and watch how quickly your body returns to it’s previous shape, or a better shape, without you pushing it too hard! Some of the points below may seem obvious but there may be a few things you didn’t know, so have a read.

  • DON’T think that because you are no longer carrying your baby in your tummy that you can jump straight back into the exercise routine you were doing before pregnancy! Your body has been through a lot in the last few months and it is only natural that things may seem a little harder for the time being. Take it slow!
  • DON’T set the goal to try and get your body back to it’s previous shape in 2 weeks! All this will do is exhaust you and set you up for a failure. Be patient, it took 9 months to get it to this stage, it wont pop back overnight!
  • DON’T underestimate your health. Getting back into shape is only one part of the process. It is important that you don’t push yourself to exhaustion. If your baby has kept you up all night, choose a light form of exercise such as walking or even go for a nap! You are less likely to injure yourself when you are well rested.
  • DON’T wear old trainers! You must not forget that relaxin is still present after pregnancy and can take up to a year to go. This means that ankle stability is essential to prevent you from falling over and hurting yourself.
  • DON’T skimp on your sports bra. Spend a little extra to get one that is highly supportive. Your breasts will be larger and more sensitive than normal, especially if you are breastfeeding. If they are not supported properly, you may start to experience back ache caused by bad posture.
  • DON’T hold back on drinking lots of water because you are afraid of leaking! If you are experiencing leakages, this is a warning sign that you may need to do more pelvic floor exercises.
  • DON’T jump heavily for at least 6 months after the birth. This is important because the relaxin present in the body means that your body’s structure isn’t as strong as it has previously been so putting it under huge impact is not a good idea!
  • DON’T do hundreds of sit ups and crunches. This is not the best way to get a flat stomach. The weakened abdominals will call for help from the back muscles and this can result in back pain. The are other ways to work on the stomach.
  • DON’T stretch beyond your normal limit. You may feel more flexible but this is the effect of the relaxin on the ligaments and they are stretched too far, they could become damaged!

As you can see from the above points, PATIENCE is the answer after you have had a baby! You have had to be patient throughout the 9 months of pregnancy and this is no different. If you put the hard work in, and are patient, you will start to see results before you know it!

Keep an eye out for my next post, detailing all the things you SHOULD do after pregnancy!