Many brand-new mothers have experienced that recovery after delivery is improved by exercise.
- Firstly, exercising improves your general fitness level, which has often decreased in the period of rest right after delivery, partly because of the delivery itself and because of the sleepless nights after. So, exercising gives you more energy!
- In addition, exercising facilitates the loss of pregnancy weight. Women who exercise retain less weight.
- Exercise and breastfeeding are a healthy combination. Exercise improves circulation, which in its turn improves breastmilk production. So, you don't have to be afraid of decreased breastmilk production if you start exercising. If you're feeling good, your production will be more likely to increase rather than decrease. Exercising also doesn't have any influence on the quality of your breastmilk.
- Women who exercise generally have a stronger pelvic floor than women who don't exercise. Besides this, women who specifically train their pelvic floor have less pelvic floor related problems, like urine incontinence, and see a quicker recovery of the pelvic floor after delivery. These advantages of the pelvic floor aren't only visible on the short term, the advantages are still visible one year after delivery.
- Next, to pelvic floor related problems, another common complaint women experience after delivery is a diastasis or the space that has appeared between your rectus abdominal muscles. This will partly recover spontaneously, but a diastasis that is still present on year after delivery won't recover by itself. Responsibly training the core is very important for the recovery process. If you pay attention to this during exercise, recovery will go faster and more easily.
Next, to all the physical advantages, there are also mental advantages of exercising in general and exercising after pregnancy. Research shows that women who exercise weekly:
- have better psycho-social wellbeing
- have an increased positive mood
- experience less anxiety
Regular physical activity also has an effect on the prevention and treatment of postnatal depression. Furthermore, active women have said to have more energy after exercising.
Did you know that there are new activity guidelines by the UK chief medical officers that emphasise the importance of physical activities for postnatal women as well? According to these guidelines every women who gave birth should aim to be active 2.5hours a week for a better recovery, physically as well as to maintain mental health. Find the detailed guidelines here:
UK activity guidelines for postnatal women page 34
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*This article is based on 17 externally conducted scientific research papers and on our own research which surveyed 487 members.
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