1. Ease yourself into post-pregnancy exercise
When you've just had a baby sleep deprivation, physical aches and pains, a change in lifestyle and limited time can make self-care difficult, but looking after yourself is important for you and your family.
After a long pregnancy where you may have been forced to 'take it easy' you might be tempted to throw yourself back into fitness, but it's essential that you await the all clear at your six-week check before doing anything too strenuous. In the meantime, keep active with gentle exercise like walking and light stretching.
Once you've got the all clear, regular exercise can help you relax, keep fit and feel more energetic. It can also help your body recover fully from childbirth and may help prevent postnatal depression. Your body will have changed and you may have to re-education your muscles - Pilates is a great way to do this, and later down the road yoga can help to build strength and control.
2. Enjoy the Mummy 'me time'
The gym is a great place to escape and enjoy some ‘me’ time, especially with créche facilities. Once your baby is looked after you can plug in your headphones and crank up the music, or catch up on some uninterrupted TV while you exercise.
It may seem like an indulgence, but using sauna and beauty facilities while baby is safely looked after can help you unwind and feel like yourself again - happy Mum, happy baby.
3. Get advice and mix up your gym routine
You may find exercising after having a baby requires a new approach. After your six-week check, a new routine that accommodates changes in your body and addresses your new goals will help. Your first day back in the gym might seem daunting, so a personal trainer who specialises in postnatal (postpartum) recovery can advise you on exercises to improve your pelvic floor, abdominal separation (diastasis recti) or back pain from looking after your baby.
If you struggle to stay motivated, try injecting some novelty into your routine. You could try out new classes, which is also a great way to meet people and help you to feel connected. Swimming provides an excellent total-body workout that you can take at your own pace. Or you could get familiar with different equipment available on the gym floor. Take a look at our fitness articles for inspiration. There are lots of opportunities to try something new, whatever you choose, tailor your exercise routine to suit your mood, energy levels and physical needs.
Going to the gym isn’t about pinging back to your pre-pregnancy shape. It took nine months to make your baby, and it could take at least that long for your post-pregnancy body to recover. However, the holistic health benefits of exercise: helping your body recover from pregnancy, relieving stress, having more energy and raising endorphins will give you an instant boost.
Last updated Wednesday 2 September 2020
First published on Wednesday 27 March 2019