In one of the previous articles, I was writing about the importance of exercising during pregnancy. This time I am going to highlight the importance of training after pregnancy. Exercising is very important in the period after childbirth. There are questions that you might think about such as when to start, what kind of physical activity is appropriate…but before you start, having a permit from your doctor and having an educated personal trainer with experience is essential.
The period after childbirth can be divided into 3 periods:
1. First period – acute phase, 6-12 hours after childbirth.
2. Second period – a postpartum period that lasts 4-6 weeks after childbirth.
3. Third period – a postpartum period that lasts from the 6th week up to 1 year after childbirth.
During the postpartum period, huge hormonal changes are present. The level of estrogen and progesterone (primary female sex hormones) dramatically declines. A low level of those two hormones causes slowing down of metabolism, feeling of hunger increases which can lead to weight gain. Hair loss, hot flashes, night sweats, fewer interests in sex and vascular problems, abdominal wall problems, high blood pressure, lower back pain are also common.
One of the problems that can occur in postpartum recovery is the risk of depression. Depression occurs due to various factors, starting with hormonal changes, feeling of loss after delivery, fatigue, and exhaustion, decreased self-esteem due to body changes that occur during pregnancy, severe infant temperament, stress regarding the care of the newborn, etc.
Although exercising is generally the last thing a woman can think of after giving birth, it is necessary to inform women about how wrong this attitude is. In fact, regular physical activity after childbirth is one of the best things that a woman can do for herself and her health after childbirth.
When to start training after pregnancy?
The most appropriate time to start with training is 6 weeks after natural childbirth or 8 weeks after C – section). Notice that those periods can vary. Exercising in the postpartum period is recommended to improve mood, reduce stress, lose weight and prevent depression. It helps to keep blood pressure stable and it helps to release lower back pain. Also, exercise contributes to the recovery of those body parts of a woman who has undergone the greatest changes during pregnancy and after childbirth such as pelvic floor muscles, abdominal muscles, and back muscles.
Core exercises, corrective and Kegel exercises should be an integral part of postpartum recovery. Walking or other types of cardio activities can be involved. The physical activity program for women during this period should be carefully planned, individualized, and adjusted to the health of the woman in order to be physically and medically safe. For at least 3 months, try to avoid heavyweights, sit-ups, and high-intensity exercises. The appropriate level of physical activity depends on her medical history, fitness level, and the course of postpartum recovery.
Having a good personal trainer is of significant importance, so if you want to start exercising, choose wisely!! Also important, listen to your body—allow yourself to slow down, opt for modifications as needed and take extra time to recover.