- After having a normal delivery, Ritah Namukwaya thought losing weight would be a walk in the park. “I always told myself after two weeks of delivery, I would easily get back into shape and would be able to fit into my clothes but things did not go the way I had planned. My doctor advised me to wait eight weeks before starting exercise,” says Namukwaya.
After child birth, many mothers will add weight. Apart from helping get rid of this weight, regular exercise after childbirth offers a number of health benefits.
After having a normal delivery, Ritah Namukwaya thought losing weight would be a walk in the park. “I always told myself after two weeks of delivery, I would easily get back into shape and would be able to fit into my clothes but things did not go the way I had planned. My doctor advised me to wait eight weeks before starting exercise,” says Namukwaya.
According to Zaituni Nampijja, a midwife at Nakasero medical centre, after birth, your life as a new mother is very delicate and care should be taken before beginning an exercise routine. “Talk to your doctor, especially if you delivered by c-section,” she says.
Take slow walks to start
Walking is a great way you can ease back into physical activity.
“This is good for the c-section mothers who are advised to stay away from most exercises as Stella Kakande, a c-section mother, explains. Although my legs were swollen as I left hospital, doctor advised me to take on simple walks around home.
He advised me to wait six weeks before attempting other exercises,” she says
Will exercise affect my ability to breastfeed?
Dr Allan Akankwatsa of Uganda Cares says exercise will not affect your ability to breastfeed as long as you drink plenty of water and other fluids.
She, however, cautions against exercises that make your breasts sore or tender.
Wear a supportive sports bra while working out, and try to nurse your baby before you exercise so your breasts won’t feel uncomfortably full.
If your breasts feel sore during workouts, try wearing two fitness bras for extra support.
Physical signs you are doing too much
See your doctor or midwife in case of the following;
• Your vaginal discharge becomes redder and starts to flow more heavily.
• Bleeding restarts after you thought it had stopped.
• You experience pain of any kind during exercise, whether it’s joint, muscle, or birth-related.
Slow down or take a break if:
• You feel exhausted instead of refreshed.
• Your muscles feel sore for an unusually long time after a workout, affecting your ability to support your body as you move. Your muscles may also feel shaky when in use.
1. Laying on your back:
The pelvic floor becomes weak during pregnancy and strengthening it after birth is important. “Start by lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat. This will involve tensing and flexing your pelvic floor muscles as well as tightening your vaginal muscles says Nampijja.
To do this you will need to tighten your muscles holding them firm for about ten seconds. Do this repeatedly eight times a day. This can also be done a few days after giving birth but not for mothers who have undergone a C- section.
Here all muscles are at work including the legs, tummy, arms and gluts. However when to start swimming will depend on a number of factors such as your fitness and the type of birth one had. A c-section requires a longer recovery.
“Provided one has stitches they are not advised to exercise until advised otherwise by a doctor.”
3. Push ups:
You will need these for strengthening your upper body muscles. Start on all fours with knees directly below your hips and hands slightly more than the shoulder width a part.
This will tighten your abdminal muscles and help in fighting tummy fat.