Baby is here and you're starting to get some extra energy, but is it the right time to hit the gym? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has all you need to know about exercise after pregnancy. Here are some of their answers to frequently asked questions.
When can I start exercising after pregnancy?
If you had a healthy pregnancy and a normal vaginal delivery, you should be able to start exercising again soon after the baby is born. Usually, it is safe to begin exercising a few days after giving birth—or as soon as you feel ready. If you had a cesarean delivery or other complications, ask your health care provider when it is safe to begin exercising again.
How much should I exercise after I have a baby?
After having a baby, it is recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Moderate intensity means you are moving enough to raise your heart rate and start sweating. Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities include brisk walking and riding a bike on a level surface.
What are some guidelines I can follow when I begin exercising after pregnancy?
Aim to stay active for 20–30 minutes a day. When you first start exercising after childbirth, try simple postpartum exercises that help strengthen major muscle groups, including abdominal and back muscles. Gradually add moderate-intensity exercise. Remember, even 10 minutes of exercise benefits your body. If you exercised vigorously before pregnancy or you are a competitive athlete, you can work up to vigorous-intensity activity. Stop exercising if you feel pain.
What are muscle-strengthening workouts and how often should I do them?
This type of exercise works the body’s major muscle groups, such as the legs, arms, and hips. Examples include yoga, Pilates, lifting weights, sit-ups, and push-ups. There also are special Kegel exercises that help tone the muscles of the pelvic floor. Muscle-strengthening activities should be done in addition to your aerobic activity on at least 2 days a week.