I’ll jump straight into it. The answer is “yes!”, “of course!”. However, don’t be too eager to get back to your exercising routine in a couple of weeks after birth. And here’s why:
- your body has to fully recover after birth first
- you may get hurt (because your body is way weaker than it was pre-pregnancy)
- your milk supply may drop significantly and, believe me, this is the last thing you want! (8 ways to increase your milk supply)
- your energy levels may drop, too, thus you’ll be even more exhausted (how to get rid of postpartum fatigue)
- if you have any untreated vitamin and mineral deficiencies, exercise may worsen your physical condition. And we want it to work the other way around. (doctor’s tips on faster physical recovery after childbirth).
So consulting a specialist (an OB and a physician) is the #1 priority before you start any physical activity. I would also recommend to do a blood work as well.
When you do get back to your exercising routine, be sure to monitor how you feel and immediately stop training if you feel bad/tired/exhausted after training.
When Can a Nursing Mother Start Doing Exercise?
The doctors say the time of starting exercise depends on the postpartum condition:
- If you had a vaginal delivery and without any interventions and complications, then the recovery period will last for up to 6 weeks;
- If a baby was born via a Cesarean section, the recovery period will last for about 2 months. It is forbidden to do sport during this period.
- If you have diastasis recti, you have to repair your abs first, since any regular exercises on your abs and core will worsen the appearance this condition. (In this article you will find step-by-step instructions on how to check yourself for diastasis recti and exercises you can do to make it heal).
What Sport to Choose?
The specialists recommend nursing mothers to do sports up to 3 times a week for 30-50 minutes.
Let’s have a look at some sports that are optimal for a nursing mother:
- Fitness is aimed at strengthening the general condition of the body. It includes general exercises aimed at developing strength, endurance, good coordination of movements;
- Jogging can improve your mood, relieve postpartum depression, normalize sleep and strengthen all the muscles of the body;
- Swimming is more effective than fitness. Doing aqua aerobics while breastfeeding will strengthen the back muscles during the postpartum period, will improve your mood and increase immunity.
- Yoga normalizes emotional state, positively affects your sleeping cycle. Special exercises will strengthen the back muscles, tighten the muscles of the core.
Rules to follow
Doing any sport, you should remember that you are a nursing mother and thus should follow some rules.
- Be sure to drink enough water while doing exercises, as feeding requires additional fluid, as well as physical activity. You should be careful in this matter to avoid dehydration.
- Choose exercises that won’t hurt your breast. Otherwise, it can lead to decrease in lactation, breast pain and even inflammation of the tissues of the mammary glands (mastitis).
- Be sure to wear special bras with wide straps or sports tops for good breast support and prevention of breast sagging.
- Sport shouldn’t exhaust you, because your milk supply directly depends on your physical state.
- Have a shower. Remember that sweat can’t remain on the skin for too long, because it can change the taste of your milk and lead to breast refusal.