Post Natal exercises helps in restoring muscle strength, conditioning of the abdominal muscles, boost your energy levels, promote better sleep and prevents postpartum depression.
The main focus of post natal exercises is on strengthening of weak muscles which mainly includes
1. Pelvic floor muscles
2. Abdominals and back muscles
Pelvic floor muscles
Strengthening of pelvic floor muscles is extremely important in the postpartum phase as these muscles becomes lax and weak due to stretching with vaginal delivery. Their weakness can lead to leakage of urine with coughing or frequent urge to pass urine.
1. Kegel Exercises can be done for these muscles by squeezing the pelvic muscles as if trying to stop urine flow.The feeling is one of ‘squeeze and lift’. Hold it for 10seconds, release, rest for a few seconds and repeat 10 times. Practice it 3-5 times a day.
Avoid pulling in your tummy, squeezing your legs together, tightening your buttocks or holding your breath while doing Kegel exercises.
Abdominals and back muscles
Abdominal muscles like Rectus abdominis, Transverse abdominis and Obliques (External and Internal) also become lax after delivery. These needs to be strengthened for toning them up.Following post natal exercises focus on this aspect-
2. Posterior Pelvic tilts– In crook lying position i.e. lying down with hip and knee flexed to 45 degrees and feet flat on the bed, draw in your tummy and press lower part of your back into the bed to flatten your back. Hold this position for 5 -10 seconds, release and repeat 10 times.
3. Abdominal Curls– Lie on your back with knees flexed, lift your head and shoulders just to clear shoulder blades off the bed trying to reach towards your knees. Hold this position for 10 seconds, release and repeat 10 times.
4. Sit ups– This exercise can be done in advanced stages of strengthening.
5. Working for obliques– In crook lying position, lift your head and shoulders to reach with one hand towards opposite ankle. Repeat this with both sides.
6. One leg SLR( Straight Leg raising)-Raise between 30- 45 degrees for lower abdominals workout with other leg being flexed at hip and knee. Also, press your legs together while lying on your back for isometric strengthening of hip adductors.
7. Knee rolling– Lie on your back with your knees bent together and facing the ceiling, keep your tummy tucked in, gently rock your knees from side to side.10 times on each side.
8. Cat and Camel exercises-Go on to your hands and knees, keeping your shoulders over your hands and your knees spaced hip width apart. Arch and hollow your back alternately, repeat 10-15times.
9. Bridging– Start with supine lying with knees flexed together and pointing to the ceiling, arms by your side with palms facing down. Lift your lower back and hips, so that whole body from knees to shoulder is aligned in a slanting line. Hold for 10-15 seconds, repeat 10 times.
10. Continue with prenatal breathing exercises and foot and ankle movements to improve your circulation in your postnatal workout too.
Note- Progression of these post natal exercises must be guided by a Physical therapist depending on the the progress you have made.
Other important aspects–
Maintaining good posture is very important- keep your back straight, stand tall with tummy tucked in and relaxed knees. Use good body mechanics while bending and getting out of bed so as not to stress your back.
1.Consult with your doctor before starting any post natal exercise program. Every post natal exercise program vary depending on whether you have delivered vaginally or by C- section and how much you have recovered post delivery.
2.Stop exercising if it hurts, pains or if you are tired or unwell.
3.Avoid any high impact and high intensity aerobic exercise for 12 weeks.
4. Always keep yourself hydrated.
When to start post natal exercise?
Wait for at least 6-8 weeks before starting any moderate intensity exercises as lax ligaments may lead to pelvic prolapse or urinary incontinence.
Frequency of post natal exercises-3-5days/week
Recommended duration of post natal exercises -15-30 min
Happy post natal recovery!!
Send your queries to email@example.com