- Immediately - Start your daily pelvic floor routine. The hospital, your obstetrician or midwife will provide you with information on pelvic floor exercises to do in hospital and beyond. Follow these closely and ask questions if you are unsure. These include exercises on how to get in and out of bed, go to the toilet, and lift baby. Follow them all.
- Weeks 0-2 - During this time you should be building up to three sets of pelvic floor exercises per day. Aim for 10 long holds and 10 short pulse holds per set. If you find them difficult, start with fewer and build up. Relaxing your pelvic floor between each hold is just as important as the lift itself. Don't hold your breath! During this time you should also be assessed (by your midwife or physiotherapist) for diastasis recti (abdominal separation).There are gentle exercises you can do to strengthen your transverse abdominis and a women's health physiotherapist can assist with these. They may also recommend wearing a splint or abdominal support wear. Avoid crunches or other abdominal strengthening unless guided by your physiotherapist. Applying pressure to the abdominal muscles incorrectly can make abdominal separation worse.
- Weeks 2-4 - Commence short walks. Start with 10 minutes and gradually build to 20 minutes. Continue with pelvic floor and core strength exercises.
- Weeks 4-6 - Maintain your pelvic floor, core strengthening and walking routine. Don't rush things.
- The first six weeks after birth should be focused on rest, recovery and bonding with your baby. Exercise during this period is to lay a foundation for future exercise and should be healing and enjoyable. Do not worry about weight loss at this stage.
- Remember, the six week mark is a general guideline for when women can commence a more structured workout. For some people this will be longer and for some (especially those who trained prior to pregnancy) this may be a little earlier.
- Always listen to your body and ensure that your exercises accommodate your weakest point. For example, if you have abdominal separation, ensure the exercises you choose don't put strain on that area. You may need the assistance of a specialist personal trainer or physiotherapist to help you determine which exercises are safe for your particular area of weakness.
- If you experience any pain, dizziness, increase in bleeding or nausea, stop exercise. Build exercise duration and intensity slowly.
Participating in Go Mum! Group Fitness classes will also educate you on safe exercise techniques and support you to be the healthiest and happiest version of you that you can be.