If your facility offers prenatal or postpartum exercise classes, your instructors may be hungry for more information to share with class participants. Although there is information available about postpartum exercise, researchers , say that research is lacking in this area. At the American Medicine Meeting, they offered the following tips for postpartum exercise, but caution that new mothers must guide themselves in frequency, intensity, time and type of exercise:
• Walking, stretching and floor activities can be initiated safely from two days to two weeks after delivery.
• Instruct new mothers to use fatigue as a guide to modify or stop activities.
• Ensure that class participants are adequately hydrated.
• Advise new mothers to avoid dance or aerobic routines in the first few weeks following delivery, as they will have weakened abdominal muscles from their pregnancy.
• Encourage your newly pregnant members to adopt a healthy lifestyle, if they haven’t already. Beginning a pregnancy with a healthy lifestyle is optimum, because the healthy practices will carry a woman through her pregnancy.
• Moderate exercise after delivery will help to facilitate more rapid weight loss and decrease the risk of urinary incontinence.
• Postpartum exercise can result in an improved sense of well-being in new mothers. Hormones and other factors may contribute to this feeling of well-being, but exercise plays a prominent role, say the researchers. Exercise can also be helpful at warding off postpartum depression.