Best Way to Exercise during Postpartum Period

Try the following exercises after getting approval from your OB/GYN provider. Wear loose clothing, a supportive bra, and have plenty of water nearby for frequent drinks. You should warm up with some walk­ing and cool down with gentle stretches. If anything hurts, stop doing it and talk with yourOBprovider. Don’t do too much your first few times. You may get sore and not want to do them again.

  •  Leg stretches. Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Make sure your lower back is not arched away from the floor, but gently making contact with it. Tilt your pelvis to be sure it touches the floor. Slide one leg out until it’s straight, and then return it to its bent leg position. Sliding the leg out will make the back arch slightly. Try to work against this. Repeat on the other leg and work to increase your repetitions. As you get stronger, you may also slide the leg out one or two inches above the ground. Be sure your lower back is flat against the floor. Repeat several times with each leg.
Exercise during Postpartum Period Best Way to Exercise during Postpartum Period
  •  Pelvic tilt. On your hands and knees, with your back straight, work to tilt your pelvis forward so your lower back feels rounded, like a cat arching. At the same time, tighten your thigh and but­tocks muscles and pull your pubic bone forward toward your head instead of parallel to the floor. It’s best to be exhaling while you tilt your pelvis and inhaling as you return to the flat-backed posi­tion. This exercise works your hips, thighs, and abdominal mus­cles. Start off with 5 to 10 of these and increase your number of repetitions gradually.
  •  Curls. This is a progressive exercise. As you get stronger, you gradually work toward the more difficult curls. (As you start, put your hands on your abdomen to remind yourself to pull your stomach in. This keeps you from stretching the gap between your two abdominal muscles.) On your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, lift your head as you exhale. Hold for a moment and lower your head to the floor. When you can do these easily, lift farther, taking your shoulders off the floor; and then, when you can easily do this, lift your upper body off the floor. You reach forward with your arms to lift you higher. Increase the number of repetitions as you get stronger.
  •  Kegels, or pelvic-floor muscle exercises. In any comfortable posi­tion, contract your muscles in the lower pelvic area—the mus­cles you would use to stop a flow of urine. Hold for as long as 10 seconds and slowly release. Do 10 to 20 of these several times a day. It may be easier to remember to do these just after you go to the bathroom.
  •  Shoulder shrug. Your upper back may get sore from curving your shoulders in during nursing or from holding your baby. Try to sit or stand upright. While nursing, place a bed pillow on your lap for the baby to lie on to minimize curving your shoulders in or arching your back. To ease upper body soreness, lift your shoul­ders toward your ears and let them drop gently, exhaling as you do. Repeat this several times. Then alternate shoulders.
  •  Shoulder circles. Lift your shoulders toward your ears and con­sciously circle them toward your back. Remember to breathe into the stretch. Do several circles, and repeat the circles in the oppo­site direction with the shoulders coming forward. Then alternate each shoulder forward and backward.
  •  Arm circles. Lift your arms straight out from your sides at shoul­der height and make small circles forward and then back. Do this several times.
  •  Back, thigh, and arm stretch. Standing straight, lace your fingers together behind your back. Squeeze the muscles around your shoulder blades and open up your chest. You can also bend over at the waist very slowly, with knees bent, and pull your arms up toward the ceiling to get a better stretch. This widens your chest and stretches your upper back muscles. Do several repetitions.

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