Postpartum Exercise for New Parents

Simple postpartum exercise will make breastfeeding and parenting more comfortable. Simple things like stretching for a few minutes in the day improves your posture and energy. Make this easy and let your body rest to recover in the early weeks.

Your body has both a passive and an active system to move fluids. Your lymphatic system is passive. That means when you simply breath deeply or stretch your muscles, you move lymphatic fluid. That drain wastes and excess fluid, which is important for your immune system. Shoulder rolls and arm circles work are especially good for mastitis or plugged ducts.  Check out this link: an exercise for your breast health.

Your blood circulation is an active system because your heart is continually pumping blood throughout your body. Slow to vigorous walking is good for both active and passive systems.

When you move, your body releases endorphins. (Endogenous Morphines… a naturally occurring substance in the body, acts like a pain reliever). A brief stretch before bed helps you relax. That makes your precious sleep time more effective.

Tired, new parents tend to slouch (especially with a looser belly and heavier breasts). Good posture helps you breathe, digest, feel better. To gradually build your core muscles, here are two simple exercises. These should feel good. Stop if it is painful.

Lower back (upper drawing)
Lie on your side, hip and shoulders aligned.
Clasp your thigh behind the knee. Slowly bring your thigh up to your chest.
Hold for a count of 10. Stretch slowly.

Core muscles (bottom drawing)
Lie with your back against the floor, your shoulders and neck relaxed.
Lift your legs to a ‘tabletop’ position. Press both hands on your knees.
Push your thighs towards your body Push your hands against your knees.
Keep your back flat against the floor, feel how it engages your belly muscles?
Hold for a count of 10. Relax. Repeat.

Really, in the first weeks, you should make rest your priority so your body can recover.  Yoga or Pilates are good to realign and strengthen your body. Check with your midwife or doctor…. usually six weeks postpartum is okay. As you feel stronger in your core and back, you can enjoy moving and exploring your new horizons as a parent.

two exercises for core muscles

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