Getting through nine months of pregnancy and hours of labor until delivery of a baby can be a real stress on your body. Looking after yourself during your childbearing years will help you remain fit for an active life of your own. Your body may need five to six months to fully recover following the birth of your baby but gentle exercises after pregnancy can help improve your circulation, strengthen your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, prevent backache and postural problems and ultimately help you regain your pre-pregnancy figure.
Whether you have a normal vaginal delivery or caesarian delivery, you should start your exercises as soon as possible - within 24 to 48 hours to achieve the best results. You might need to exercise your abdominal muscles to help regain your figure and prevent backache and also pelvic floor muscle exercises to reduce the risks of future incontinence and prolapse problems.
You should start with the following exercises immediately after delivery:
Moving your ankles up and down briskly also known as ankle pumping can improve circulation in your feet and legs, reducing swelling and tiredness in your legs and help prevent varicose veins and deep venous thrombosis.
Deep breathing exercises can help you relax and lose any phlegm especially if you had caesarian under general anesthesia or if you are immobile. Inhaling deep breaths from the nose and sighing out through the mouth is the best approach. Remember that coughing hard might cause harm to your stitches so just support your stitches with your hand or pillow if you need to cough.
Strong pelvic muscles are essential for preventing leakage of urine, controlling bowel movements and preventing future problems like a prolapsed womb. Pelvic floor muscles are stretched during pregnancy and childbirth and it is important to regain their strength again. You might be reluctant to bother your pelvic muscles due to discomfort stitches and swelling. You just need to contract and hold them for some time (5-10 seconds) and then relax. Perform them whenever you can, as much as you can and your pelvic muscles will be healed in no time.
Your abdominal muscles are the perfect corset, during pregnancy abdominal muscles soften and stretch to accommodate the growing baby which is totally natural. However, you need gentle tummy exercises to prevent overstretching and regaining your figure. The best way to exercise your deepest abdominal muscles is tummy tucking and holding it for some time. You should also perform knee rolling and gentle crunching to strengthen these muscles.
Walk and swim to build up your strength and endurance after childbirth. You can add vigorous exercises and sports gradually as you become more fit and healthy.
What do after Caesarian Birth?
Complications during pregnancy can cause a mother to forego a natural birth and instead have a C-section to deliver the baby. Whether the Caesarian is elective or done in an emergency because of the circumstances during pregnancy or labor, recovery from a caesarian birth can be a difficult process. Newly mothers can struggle from the after effects of c-section, but to start with the recovery process, you just need to take things easy and rest as much as possible. No matter how fit you feel or motivated you are for the recovery, you just went through a surgery that not only had incisions but also damaged your muscles.
You also might need to focus on having light liquid diets in the start to avoid bloating, abdominal distention and easy passage of gas. You also don’t want constipation to be a part of your recovery, so walk as much as you can, starting with a few steps and increasing gradually. Although there is no shame in using a stool softener after delivery.
Take care of your incisions and check for signs of infections. You may need to use a pillow or your hand to support your stitches during coughing, standing and walking. Move around to avoid aches and stiffness, also avoid heavy lifting for a while, it may cause extra stress on your incisions. Most importantly, don’t push yourself too hard, recovery time may be a bit long but you can help your body recover as smoothly as possible. Take all the time you need, take help if necessary and focus on being healthy slow and steadily.
Childbirth is a beautiful moment. If you are planning to conceive or you are looking for a well-experienced gynecologist, HospitALL can connect you with the best gynecologist in your area. We have well-reputed and experienced gynecologists on our panel. You can book an appointment with any gynecologist through our website and mobile app from anywhere and anytime.