It is said that the first 40 days post partum are crucial for both mother and the baby. Once this phase is over, it gets a bit easy. But ever wondered why they say so? Well for the little one, he has just stepped into the world. He is so pure that even bacterias (good or bad) are missing from his body. Adjusting in this new environment takes time. He sheds skin, looses weight, get used to air (he is used to the water world inside the mother's womb and much more.
For the mother on the other hand, her body's priority now changes. After 9 months of only focusing on the baby and its growth and nutrition, it can now focus back on the mother and replenish its reserves, help build the lost strength and get back to the normal way of life. It is now onto the mother to take care of herself as she takes care of the baby for if she will not look after herself, then no one else will. It sounds simple but it is not so. For only someone who has been in her place can understand what she is going through.
Here we list down some exercises that can be done post delivery (both c-sec and normal). We suggest you do it for the first 4 weeks post delivery (in case of a c-sec delivery follow it for 6 weeks) and then move to moderate exercise after consulting your doctor
Ankle Toe Pumps
To follow this exercise, lie down on your back with your legs straight, pull your feet inwards and hold for 5 seconds, and relax and repeat while pushing them outward. Repeat this 10 times, and you will feel your calf muscles strengthening after a few times.
To do this exercise, lie on your back with your legs straight and rotate your ankle first clockwise, and then anticlockwise. Repeat 10 times for each side. This exercise will help blood circulation and also reduce swelling.
To do this exercise, lie on your back with your legs straight, gently slide one leg up while inhaling, exhale and return to the starting position. Repeat this 10 times with each leg, and it will help strengthen your hips and legs.
To do this exercise, imagine you are trying to stop the flow of urine. By doing this, you are contracting the muscles in the pelvic floor. Hold for a slow count of three and then relax. Gradually take the count to 10. Ensure your bladder is empty when you do this exercise. This exercise helps in strengthening muscles that support your uterus, bladder, and bowel. Repeat the exercise 10 times, twice a day.
To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent, pull your belly button in and upwards towards your spine to tighten your abdominal muscles, and hold for three slow counts. Gradually increase to 10 counts. Repeat 10 times, twice a day. This exercise will help build your abdominal muscles.
To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and arms on the side, slowly raise your back and pelvis up, and hold for 3 slow counts. Gradually increase to 10 counts. This exercise will help strengthen your hip muscles and hamstrings, and also strengthen your core.
To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent, pull in your belly button and raise your pelvis, tighten your hip muscles as you tilt the pelvis forward, and hold for 5 seconds. Relax and exhale. Repeat it 10 times. This exercise helps in toning and strengthening your abdominal muscles and provides relief from backache.
Some Points to Remember!
While doing these exercises, make sure you keep your back straight and do not scoop. In case there is swelling in the legs or ankle, place pillows under your legs to elevate them. In case of a C-section delivery, donot lift heavy things at least 6 weeks after the delivery and be cautious not to strain yourself while doing these exercises. Remember to support your wound while exercising, coughing, sneezing, or laughing, using a pillow or towel.
While you might want to get back into shape or regain your strength at the earliest, remember that your body would give you cues from within if you are overdoing the exercise regime. Do only what make your body feel good and comfortable. Build your strength from within, so you can take care of yourself and your baby, so you can focus on his nutrition and overall well-being.