Fighting postpartum depression after giving birth can be quite challenging, especially if you’ve had a difficult delivery. However, slowly and gradually resuming your exercise routine will provide you with numerous health benefits.
Before starting to exercise again, here are several important things you need to know.
The best time to start
How soon a new mom can go back to her routine depends on several factors. If you’ve been generally active during pregnancy and had a normal, problem-free labour, you’ll be ready to start exercising quite soon.
On the other hand, women recovering from a caesarean might need more time before they start working out again. Typically, most women can start doing pelvic floor exercises (Kegels) soon after giving birth. If you feel ready and energized, you can start with slow, gentle exercises at first. If you’ve had a difficult labour, you should listen to your body and consult with your doctor to get their professional opinion.
The most appropriate exercises for fighting postpartum depression
Apart from pelvic floor exercises, walking is a simple, low-impact aerobic activity that will help you gradually get back into your fitness routine. Not only will frequent, relaxed walks outside provide you with gentle exercise, but they’ll also minimize your risk of getting and fighting postpartum depression.
Spending more time outside will contribute to your general well-being. Walking is also a suitable form of exercise for women with C-sections because it prevents blood clots and promotes healing.
You can also gently squeeze your abdominal muscles in order to gradually strengthen them.
Another possible solution is taking an exercise class for new moms. However, make sure to check whether a person teaching the class is a postpartum exercise specialist.
Traditional sit-ups and crunches should be avoided because they can put too much pressure on your abdominal muscles. Under no circumstances should you try a rigorous workout routine immediately after delivery.
The importance of the right equipment
Feeling comfortable during your exercise is of the utmost importance. Therefore, you need to get appropriate workout clothes.
You should wear supportive fitness bras to minimize the soreness of your breasts. If your breasts still feel sore, two sports bras might provide you with additional support.
Furthermore, you should also wear loose fitting, comfortable maternity sweatpants that will provide your sensitive body with the right support. Close fitting sweatpants can be too tight around your stomach, putting it under too much pressure.
Exercising and breastfeeding
Some women are concerned whether their workout will affect their abilities to breastfeed their babies.
As long as you stay properly hydrated, exercise won’t have any significant effect on your breast milk. However, you should avoid exercises that may cause your breasts to sore. As already mentioned, you should wear breastfeeding activewear that will properly support your breasts.
The signs you’re doing too much too soon
As already mentioned, you need to ease your way into your exercise routine. If you put your body under too much physical stress, you may notice some of the following signs: you can start bleeding again even though the bleeding has previously stopped, your vaginal discharge can become redder and start flowing more heavily and you may experience pain during any type of exercise.
If you notice any of these signs, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Furthermore, if you feel extremely exhausted after a workout, your muscles feel shaky and they need more time to recover and your heart rate is increased by more than 10 beats per minute in the morning, you should reduce the intensity of your workout and take more time to rest. (The Risks of Chronic Fatigue).
Being physically active after delivery may promote your healing process and protect you against postpartum depression. However, make sure to start with simple, low-impact exercises until you fully recover.