Exercise & Your Postpartum Body

The first six weeks after you have a baby are full of a lot of things. There is a new person that you have to take care of, very little sleep, recovering from your birth, and adjusting to a whole new way of living. Often times, around weeks 3 or 4, things start leveling out: Maybe your bleeding has slowed down and you are starting to feel pretty good. But your doctor told you not to jump back into your normal activities until 6 weeks! Why is it so important to take it slow for so long when you are starting to feel back to yourself?

When you are pregnant, your connective tissues "relax", it can take several weeks to several months for those tissues to regain their strength and tension, meaning, right after you have a baby you might be more likely to injure yourself. Additionally, it is important to give your body time to adjust to all the space it is not used to having as your organs move back into place. When your placenta is delivered, the wound it leaves behind is the size of a dinner plate; It takes time for a wound of that size to heal! Being too active prior to 6 weeks can also cause an increase in bleeding, risk of infection, and even mastitis. Here are some tips to help you know when your body is ready for exercise:

1. Listen to your doctor.

It's true, not everyone is built the same or recovers the same, and 6 weeks might not be the right timeline for YOU, but it is important during the postpartum period to keep your doctor aware of new activities. If you are planning to start a workout routine prior to your 6 week checkup, a quick call to your medical provider can keep your body safe.

2. Listen to your body.

You might feel great and be anxious to take a jog around the block, but if you start to feel tired or hurt, or you notice an increase in your bleeding, your body might be telling you that you are overdoing it. Take a few days and ease back into your exercise before continuing.

Before you jump back on the yoga mat, give yourself some grace. Your body is recovering from the greatest workout it has ever had: pregnancy!