I start slow with this one. It’s really about assessing how new moms are feeling, as well as how active they were before and during pregnancy. Once they are feeling ready, as we all know, they can come back to work out. Body weight VS using weights (I believe) is the best place to start, using minimal equipment like Swiss Balls/Medicine Balls, etc…Continuing balance training (both during pregnancy and after) is also imperative. An exercise I love to give for homework is the “kiss baby push up.” While baby is resting on a blanket on the floor at home, Mom can do push ups and kiss baby’s forehead on the down. Fun for everyone!
Agreed. Slow and steady is key for post-partum. And like all exercise programs, getting your body back into shape is very individualized. Bodyweight exercises are a great place to start. Keeping the hips and core strong and stabilized throughout pregnancy and post-partum are a must. Doing so without crunches, sit-ups and the like can be tricky. Try focusing more on balance moves that require more muscles to be engaged. Even something as simple as walking is a great start. Grab the stroller and head to the park!
An often neglected aspect of fitness is the pelvic floor – especially important after having a baby! Christina Christie PT has an excellent program and tool for rehabilitating the pelvic floor that I’ve recently recommended to my daughter. Info at: http://www.pelvicsolutions.com
The American College of Sports Medicine suggest the following guidelines:
“Generally, exercise in the postpartum period may begin four to six weeks after delivery and with permission from a physician. Women who deliver via cesarean section may require more than six weeks after delivery to begin exercise. Deconditioning typically occurs during the initial postpartum period, so women should gradually increase exercise until prepregnancy physical fitness levels are achieved.”
A woman who has given birth for the most part falls within the population of “apparently healthy.”
Exercises that involve strengthening the musculature of the axial skeleton (a.k.a. the core) and then working on the musculature of the appendicular skeleton would be a good approach.
If you apply the principles of designing an exercise prescription as they apply to the components of total fitness in a progressive manner, the healthy postpartum client will get back into shape.