29th March 2016

When it comes to health and fitness many new mothers often have the same concerns post baby.

From wondering when you can get back to more vigorous exercise, to exercising after a C Section and how exercise affects breast milk supply, as trainers we are often asked the same questions all the time.

We know that there will be lots of you lovely mums out there tentatively thinking about a return to exercise and possibly with a question or two about it on your mind.

So, this week we are sharing our most asked questions and giving some advice from the Jelly Belly trainers in response.

We also have lots of info on our site so feel free to browse and do get in touch with us if you need to know something that we haven’t covered.

Q: When can I start running?

A: With any activity including jogging or running. The key questions a woman should ask herself when doing an activity are:

Is my core strong?

By core this also includes your pelvic floor muscles. So, you should have good core activation so you should not get back pain or major bulging or abdominal pain. With the pelvic floor muscles you should not feel lot of pressure or experience any leakage from the front or back passage.

Is my pelvis stable?
If you have a lot of joint laxity as a consequence of the hormones in your body or have experienced Pelvic Girdle Pain it is essential that you strengthen the muscles first before participating in an activity that is high impact and can aggravate the joints.
You may even need to ensure that your pelvis is aligned first. Myofascia therapists, Physiotherapists or Chiropractors can assist with this.
How do I start?
Start with low impact walking and increase your time and speed gradually. When you are able to this with a strong core then you can progress to interval training. Start with a slow speed for a short period then increase speed slightly and then reduce the speed. Always use feedback on how you feel to assess how you should progress.
Q: How quickly should my abdominals close post pregnancy?
A: This is completely individual. Our aim is to create strength in the linea alba (the soft tissue that connects the abdominal walls) not close it. If you have a strong “bridge” you then have form and function. This can take anything from weeks to months depending on the exercises you do. It’s all about creating the right load so that the linea alba is stimulated, not forced beyond it’s limit. Start from the inside out working on your core and pelvic floor first which in turn will allow the linea alba to strengthen.
Q: Will exercise affect my milk supply if breastfeeding?
A: As long as you stay hydrated and eat as normal, then no.
Q: When can I start exercising post c-section?
A: again, this is individual. Everyone heals at different rates so it’s best to listen to your body and only start when you feel comfortable to. We encourage women to have their 6 week check first and ensure that the incision is healing well. Movement can be great for blood circulation and promotes healing so long as the intensity is low e.g. walking, gentle stretches etc. Build your exercise up gradually keeping the intensity and impact low.
Q: What is the best way to lose weight and tone up?
First of all, don’t rush. Losing weight too quickly means there is a good chance it will creep back on again.
Start slowly after baby. Take lots of walks with the buggy to begin with and build from there.
Don’t overestimate what you can do as you ease back in. Many women set unrealistic goals and then feel downhearted when they can’t quite achieve them. So, whatever exercise you choose, 10 or 15 minutes to begin with is fine. Starting small and building up is the key to sticking with it.
Working out for 30 minutes a day will mean you burn fat. Think about doing postnatal specific classes or finding a postnatal specialist trainer.
Healthy eating is also crucial to weight loss so be sure to keep the treats to a minimum.
Most importantly, take things easy. If something doesn’t feel right or if you’re struggling, stop, slow down, take a break. Choose low impact exercises to begin with.
Most asked fitness questions by new mums - Jelly Belly PT