Post-delivery there is a dicey period where you have to be careful about what you’re doing. As eager as we all are to start exercising and shedding off all that excess post-baby weight, there are exercises that you should and shouldn’t be doing. It is especially important to find out what you can and can’t do based on your individual position.
For instance, if you have a separated rectus abominis, there are quite a number of exercises you should avoid. There are also exercises you can and should do to facilitate closure of the gap between the muscles. Since this is the problem I have, the exercises I’m going to focus on are those that help recondition these muscles.
Firstly, it is important to have realistic expectations. If you kept fit and were exercising during your pregnancy, then you will find it easier to get back into shape – too bad for me… It is also important to have a realistic time line for achieving your weight loss goals. Expect to take anywhere between three to nine months to return to “normal”, after all, it did take you nine months to get to this stage.
General recommendation is to wait six weeks after a normal delivery before commencing an exercise regime, although some women can begin earlier than this. The best person to check with is your doctor. Always get your doctor’s okay before you start.
BeFitMom is a good website to start with if you intend to do your own homework on what you should and shouldn’t do. Ideally, if you can get an instructor who is experienced and knowledgeable about the post-partum body, you’re also good to go. If you have to work out at home, postnatal workout DVDs are a good bet as they give more consideration towards the post-partum body when developing exercise programs. However, it is important to make sure you check the credentials of the DVD as some are better than others. Make sure that the DVDs you are specially for post-partum mothers and not simply exercises thrown together which have little relevance to post-partum mothers. There are also some DVD exercises developed for mother and baby so you can even work out with your baby.
So I was going to get started on my own personal “get fit again” exercise program, but after reading through that extensive list of “things you shouldn’t do when you have separated rectus abdominis” I got a little concerned. Most of the DVD work outs I have aren’t exactly appropriate as they focus a little too intently on working out the abdominals doing many exercises that involve moves I should be avoiding. As for the stuff I’ve been reading on the internet, I’m not exactly convinced either. The last thing I need right now is a hernia so perhaps it’s back to Fitfor2 for me where there is someone experienced can tell what to do and what not to do. Don’t worry, when I know what exercises those are, I’ll let you know too.