Sport after childbirth: where do we start?

Why is it important to return to sport after pregnancy? What advantages?

Some think about it quickly as soon as they come back from motherhood. For others it will take longer as sport is not or no longer in their priorities. But they all need it: Maintaining physical and sporting activity is important throughout life. to stay in good health. If this activity has naturally decreased during pregnancy, its intensity should gradually increase. “Physical and sporting activity after pregnancy is beneficial in several ways,” says Aurélie Araujo, a physiotherapist specializing in perinatal care, “it has been proven helps with weight loss certainly, and to keep the shape, but also that it prevents or reduces depressive signs after childbirth“. A great way to boost your self esteem too and take back control of that body that you haven’t really controlled in 9 months.

When should one resume physical activity or sport after childbirth?

On the other hand there is regulate to resume an activity in complete safety, at an ideal moment that does not rush the body: “There are 3 phases in this postpartum period”, the physiotherapist reminds: the immediate postpartum period, which lasts 0 to 6 weeks after birth (postnatal counseling until counseling), the secondary postpartum, 6 weeks to a year. And beyond a year after childbirth.” Resuming activity must be gradual, with light to medium intensityadapted to physiological changes and the deconditioning of the exertion caused by pregnancy.

From motherhood: Awareness of your body and breathing

Strictly speaking, it’s not about sport, but from the birthing bed it is possible to regain something of your body without coercion. Christelle Gaudin, a sports coach specializing in perinatal care, explains: “We can do exercises for this Become aware of your perineumand Work on your breathing lie down”.

3 weeks after birth: walking and swimming possible

Three weeks after the birth it’s not about resuming a “sport” (which will be possible from 6 weeks and with the consent of your doctor), but about the“basic” physical activity can be repeated: “We’re talking about here brisk walking but at a moderate pace climb stairsOr fromswim a little also at a moderate pace,” recalls Aurélie Araujo. Everything else has to wait for reinforcement.

After 6 weeks and perineal rehabilitation: the return of the impact

After rehabilitation of the perineum and green light from the specialistthe woman can expand her program to sports with ground contact (jumping, running, tennis for example…). All of the more intense training and strength training should still be done gradually, with little stress on the perineum at first increase in intensity over the weeks.

How often do you do sports?

Regarding the duration of the training and ideal units, the same recommendations apply as during pregnancy:

  • 150 to 180 minutes of activity Moderate-intensity exercise per week.
  • distributed over 3 days at least, although it is recommended to be active every day.
  • We prefer a 10-15 minute warm-up, 10-15 minute stretch.
  • We do not exceed 60 to 80 minutes of exercise, e.g Avoid hyperthermia.

When can you play sports again after a caesarean section?

It is normal to wait a little longer to return to activity after a cesarean. about 8 to 10 weeksbecause the time of tissue healing is also a bit longer. “Even for a mother who has had a cesarean, recovery is a little different as a small bump remains or often forms above the scar internal adhesionsthat we have to take into account,” explains Aurélie Araujo. “We’ll get along with them a little more hypopressive, Exercises aimed at loosening the adhesions a little more and Engage the lower muscle areas a little more“.

Which sport after caesarean section?

However, it is quite possible that women can gradually return to adapted sports after a caesarean section: Hiking, yoga, stretching, swimming…then to gradually regain endurance, increase the duration of intensity. The effect is added after completion of the perineal rehabilitation and in agreement with the person who performed the rehabilitation.

Can we exercise again while breastfeeding?

Rest assured, breastfeeding, even exclusive, is not an obstacle to resuming physical activity, whether gentle or intense. Carrying out an activity has none no effect on milk quality and quantity produced by the mother. On the other hand, for practical and convenience reasons, breastfeeding mothers must Wear a matching bra to his chest, which doesn’t overwhelm him too much. It can also ensure express milk before her session to assess the weight of the breast, which could bother her.

Is perineal rehabilitation essential to resuming sport?

Your gynecologist or midwife will prescribe during the postnatal consultation, which takes place 6-8 weeks after the birth perineal and abdominal rehabilitationand will give you the green light to continue an activity. Rehabilitation is indeed essential as it is necessary after childbirth Avoid anything that causes pressure in the stomach, and on the perineum. And find a good feeling, good control over his perineal area to avoid pressure.

What are the risks of recovering too quickly?

If you want to get back in shape and exercise after pregnancy, then be careful not to skip the steps above: “Birth for a woman is synonymous witha physiological sprain of the pelviswho has to wait at least 3 weeks to repair herself, not to mention perineal rehabilitation,” explains the physiotherapist. A rtaken too suddenly and not adapted Sport is not to be taken lightly and can cause various ailments:

  • Of Lower back pain
  • The increase on abdominal pressure.
  • L’weakening of the perineal area and organ suspension system.
  • incontinence urinary stress.
  • A prolapse (or sagging of organs) when the suspension system is too badly damaged.

What should we prioritize transforming or strengthening?

Before they even think about resuming their favorite Zumba class, the postpartum priority targets a very specific area: “During pregnancy, women experience a weakening of what is being called the “thoracic-lumbar-abdominal-pelvic chamber” what corresponds Abdomen, diaphragm, back muscles and perineum. But to find good stability on a physical level, that whole box needs to be re-muscled, not just the perineum. We are working on a synergy”, specifies the physiotherapist.

For the sports coach, in the exercises of muscle building It is also important to the young mother think about the joints who have suffered from muscle wasting, “before resuming sport, it is important to “recover” these joints, especially the knees, in order to relearn the movement.

When can you cycle again after pregnancy?

Are you used to getting around by bike and can’t wait to get started again? You will need a little patience. “Cycling is at risk of falling and can therefore not be one of the basic activities to be resumed from the first few weeks, except in the stationary variant,” explains the specialist. The new mother can still climb into the saddle 4 to 6 weeks after the birth, if the environment allows it: “The woman shouldn’t come and push with her stomach. But when it’s uphill and uphill, that happens.” On the other hand, on the flat, recovery is possible quite early”.

What exercises to avoid during this time?

We often hear that the new mother needs to avoid anything involving crunch-type abs after childbirth. But what are the recommendations?

It is important for the sports coach to observe certain rules, especially in the immediate period after the birth: 6 weeks agoand without abdominal and perineal rehabilitation, if the perineum is still fragile and the hormonal impregnation is still strong, we will do it Avoid abs and all shortening movements from the ribs to the hips. It is also a time when we Avoid carrying loads.

For the physiotherapist over 6 weekswe have to put what we hear into perspective: “We can do everything, even abs, as long as they’re done well. The hypopressive (abdominal muscles without pressure on the stomach) cannot do everything: it is not recommended for women with diastasis (a separation of the rectus muscles after pregnancy), for example. In the abdominal muscles we look for 3 components: Contraction, breathing and the belly going in. Without these 3 components, the exercise is not suitable.

Ditto for scissors movements: when there is good lumbar-pelvic stability, if any well coatedthat the abdomen and back do not move, then we can realize our scissors. Otherwise the exercise is not yet suitable and the pelvic floor muscles must be strengthened.

Should we call in a professional?

Even if the use of a personal coach is not a mandatory step, it is good to get advice from a professional so as not to start with inappropriate movements. “Unfortunately, there are few sports professionals who are trained in the right movement sequences,” regrets the sports coach. So, back to the gym, let’s go graduallyespecially with your joints that are not fully covered.

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