Starting a Postpartum Exercise Program
Recovery after having baby is a big and important topic! Starting a postpartum exercise program does not need to be complicated. If you experienced a “normal” labor and delivery and have been cleared to exercise, it is difficult to know where to start.
A little bit of guidance can go a long way when returning to exercise postpartum.
7 Things to Consider when Starting a Postpartum Exercise Program
- Change in well-being/ abnormal bodily responses. There is no drastic change in well-being before, during or after exercise. You know your body best. we want to identify anything that feels “off.” Exercise should make you feel better mentally and emotionally. Therefore, if you experience significant fluctuations in mood with exercise, discuss this with your healthcare provider. If you experience anything like heart palpitations, shortness of breath, light-headedness, or dizziness, these would all be things to discuss with your healthcare provider.
- No increased bleeding. Changes in bleeding or an increase in bright red bleeding during or after exercise is abnormal. Try decreasing the exercise intensity and duration. If this continues, stop exercise and consult your healthcare provider.
- Consider fatigue levels. While fatigue is not avoidable in the postpartum period, but fatigue is an important consideration with exercise. Assess fatigue on a weekly basis as you begin to exercise. If it becomes uncomfortable to maintain your exercise load due to fatigue, decrease the intensity or duration.
- Weight loss. Weight loss should not be drastic postpartum. As you work through an exercise program, you should notice gradual weight loss instead of rapid weight loss.
- Hydration status is key. Urine should be clear throughout the day. If urine is not a clear color and is more yellow, increase your fluid intake. If nursing, you may need upwards of 12 glasses per day or more with exercise.
- Balance the rest/ activity cycle. If you exercise for 45 minutes, rest for 45 minutes. This does not need to last forever but at least in the first few weeks’ return to exercise.
- Sleep is the holy grail. Exercise is incredibly important and beneficial, but do not compromise sleep to get a workout in. From personal and professional experience, it just is not worth it.
So now what?
Keep these 7 things in mind as you start a postpartum exercise program. It doesn’t have to look perfect. Exercise is not going to feel exactly the way it did before baby. However, give your body patience and some grace. You’ll find that you can achieve your fitness goals again.
Need more help?
Consider reaching out to a specialist if you need more guidance. At Simpli Whole, we can are here to help you on your postpartum journey. With the whole person in mind, we can help you reach your fitness and exercise goals. We’ll help you progress from the early postpartum weeks to running, jumping, and yoga!