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    Fitness After Baby Arrives

    It is important for a new mom to have appropriate goals for exercise to enable success and avoid injury. One of the best goals is "to achieve the highest level of fitness consistent with maximum safety." Other reasons for exercise are:

    1) Restoration of the strength and contour of abdominal musculature and pelvic floor

    2) Restore full lung capacity

    3) To correct any postural deficiencies due to changes in body shape associated with pregnancy

    4) Strengthen chest walls to support heavy breast tissue

    5) To achieve a general sense of well-being and improved body image.

    Although exercise may be commenced immediately after delivery, it is well to discuss activity intent with a woman's caregiver. Some exercise that may be performed immediately postpartum are the following:

    • Kegels - Aprox. 10 per hour
    • Deep "Abdominal Breathing"
    • Wrist And Ankle Circles

    Graduate to the next movements as the body makes appropriate adjustments:

    • Leg Slides
    • Head Raising
    • Pelvic Tilts
    • Arm Presses
    • Modified "Bridge"

    As the body adapts and the Caregiver allows, move on to the next options:

     

    • Walking
    • Water Exercises (Generally after the lochia subsides)
    • Cycling (Usually comfortable on a recumbent stationary bike)
    • Modified Low Impact Aerobics
    • Incorporation Of Exercise In Daily Activity (It is especially desirable to include Baby in these activities)

    Exercise Reminders:

    1) Continue to avoid sudden turns and twisting due to laxity of the connective tissue

    2) Wear a supportive, well-fitting bra.

    3) Nurse baby before exercising (comfort measure).

    4) Check for diastisis recti before engaging in abdominal exercise.

    5) Listen to your body and when in doubt...Don't!

    The Energy Issue...

    For adequate energy a new mom needs proper nutrition and appropriate

    exercise.

    She needs to rest in proportion to her activity level.

    If exercise levels are too high, they will simply add to a woman's fatigue.. Exercise, done appropriately, usually invigorates.

    A new mother has several options for guidance with postpartum exercise. Among these are:

    • Private Instruction
    • Postpartum Class
    • Learn To Modify Exercises To Allow Participation In A "Regular Class"
    • Exercise Video

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