How soon can I start exercising after giving birth?

You know the expression – “Do what I say, not what I do?” That might be an appropriate expression for this post 🙂 Let’s just say, I am not good at “taking it easy” or “easing back into a routine”. As a result, my recovery was no as fast or smooth as it should have been. I delivered on a Thursday evening, rested on Friday, and was out taking my dog for a 1.5 mile brisk walk on Saturday. Probably not the best strategy, but I lived to tell about it 🙂 My advice to anyone else would be – take adequate time off after delivery and allow your body to heal! It will speed up your recovery time overall! Many health care providers recommend taking a full 6 weeks off after giving birth (and remember, I am not a doctor, so make sure to ask your OB/GYN for advice before you start to exercise). Every woman has a unique situation. Some are in fabulous shape right up until delivery, some are on bed rest. Some women have an easy labor and delivery, while others struggle or have a c-section. Learn what your own limitations are and don’t push it. Predict how much your body can handle, and cut the distance/time/intensity in half. Seriously – if you think you can walk 1 mile 2 weeks after delivery, only walk 1/2 a mile, and then see how you feel the next day!

Prior to labor and delivery, I had no idea what to expect for my post delivery recovery time. Physically (on the outside), I looked nearly back to my pre-pregnancy size within days of delivery, but my body needed time to heal on the inside, and I didn’t give it the adequate time immediately after delivery. 5 days after my daughter and I left the hospital, I had a nurse come to my house to check on Emma (my daughter). She casually asked how my recovery was going. I mentioned that I had been pretty active (walking, shopping, working on some side jobs, etc, etc). She gave me quite the lecture, and it caused me to re-think my eagerness to get back into my normal routine. After all, my body had just gone through quite the trauma.

After getting a lecture from the nurse, I made a very big effort to take it easy and allow my body to heal. A few short days made a huge difference. My bleeding stopped completely (after it had only been increasing because of too much activity in the week following delivery), and my energy level resumed to normal (even in spite of getting up at night to nurse). Now, I am feeling great, and so thankful that I took it easy for a few days. Next time around, I will take some time to relax immediately after delivery, and hope for a faster recovery time.

A few days ago I was able to start back with my morning walks with my dog and Emma. Today, I was able to run 1 mile and then walk 2 with my husband (11 days after delivery). I am going to continue to take it slow and monitor my health. I will increase my activity level in very small amounts until I build up to where I was before I delivered.

I really look forward to my daily morning walks with Emma and Quincy. We have been waking up at 6.30 every morning for a feeding, (and now that my body is up for it), some light exercise. I think the walks have helped Emma get into a morning routine, and I always feel more energized if I wake up at the same time every day. Getting her into a consistent (but still somewhat flexible) feeding, wake-time, and sleep routine has really helped in her night time sleep cycles – which makes me a very happy (and more healthy) mommy. 🙂

Best wishes!

Emma Grace

Emma Grace is 10 days old, and my body is up for some light exercise again 🙂

2 thoughts on “How soon can I start exercising after giving birth?

  1. Kara says:

    Love it! Same thing happened here…My bleeding increased and my doctor told me, “You just had surgery. You need NOT be doing anything, not even stairs.” For me though, I could’ve ruptured my internal stitches. (Gulp!) 😦
    Good for you on the routine. I found that my life was better when I knew when Jake was going to eat and nap. I could plan my day & loved it! Eventually, he woke up at the same time, etc. He’s been scheduled ever since & is now a great napper and sleeper. 🙂 You’re doing great, Amanda.
    You do what YOU think is best for Emma and it WILL be. You are HER mama. I made the mistake of asking too many people for advice and didn’t know what to do! Eventually, I let maternal instincts dictate and was more calm and happy.

    Can’t wait to see Emma!!!! 😉

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