Congratulations on your new baby! While your doctor may want you to wait to begin traditional exercise; he/she will probably support you doing the following exercises soon after birth. Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
These exercises are gentle and safe and will help you restore the strength and posture that was lost during pregnancy. While they may seem too basic to an experienced exerciser, they are essential at any level. Master these and you will be ready when your doctor clears you for exercise.
KegelsThese aren't just for pregnancy! In fact, all women should do Kegels every day! Kegels are exercises that help tighten and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Your pelvic floor muscles attach from your pubic bone to your tail bone and act kind of like a sling holding everything up in place.
There are many ways to Kegel. To locate your pelvic floor muscles, try to stop your flow of urine while going to the bathroom. Once you have realized the muscle needed, you can Kegel. Contract your pelvic floor muscles. Hold for three seconds and then relax for three seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Other versions include changing the tempo and the level of contraction. While kegels won't change the look of your body, they are essential for improving your strength at the innermost level. You can expect to see results of less urinary leakage, greater sexual satisfaction and reduced problems as you get older.
Scapular RetractionsThese are a great exercise to improve posture. If you find yourself hunching over your new baby all the time, this exercise will help bring your shoulders back!
Sit or stand with spine tall and head pulled back in alignment (ears should be in line with shoulders). Squeeze shoulder blades back and together as if cracking a walnut between them. Hold for a second and release. You can also do this exercise with your baby in a front back carrier. Repeat 15 times, 3 times per day.
Pelvic TiltsThese are essential for regaining abdominal strength and re-aligning your pelvis. Picture your pelvic like a bucket. When your baby grew, the bucket tilted forward (called an anterior pelvic tilt). Exaggerate it now and you will see that your tummy pooches out in this position and it puts pressure on your low back. You will not only like the way your stomach looks as a result of pelvic tilts; you will also like the way you feel.
Lay down on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Draw in your abdominals without squeezing your glutes. Use your muscles to tilt the pelvis back so the small of your back is pressed against the floor. Envision the bucket tilting back if that helps you. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.