FAQs » Post Natal Questions
Why are we advised to wait for at least 6 weeks (or 8-10 weeks for a C/ Section) after having our baby. I kept active during my pregnancy thanks to the brilliant advice on your website and I'm now 4 weeks post natal. I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight and feel ready to hit the gym again!! But every bit of info says I must wait 6 week. Can you tell me why? Andrea
Hi Andrea and many thanks for you positive feedback about BloomingFit.
You are correct in that the RCOG (Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists) recommend that post natal mums should wait at least 6 weeks (8-10 post C section) before commencing exercise following giving birth. However it is not often explained WHY?? It isn’t just a random number; or just an excuse to keep mums sat on the sofa breastfeeding!!
The main reason is physical. Following the birth of the baby the placenta is also ‘delivered’. The placenta weighs on average 10% of the baby’s birth weight approx. 25cm diameter and is attached by finger like projections deeply embedded into the uterus muscle wall. When it detaches and is ‘delivered’, the site where the placenta was attached is like a massive open wound inside your uterus. This is why you continue to bleed following delivery for up to some weeks. As the uterus ‘shrinks’ back down to its previous size, the blood vessels of this wound are compressed and bleeding is slowed and eventually the site were the placenta was attached is completely healed over. However this takes many weeks, hence the recommendation to wait for at least 6 weeks as this has been the guideline time for you to heal internally.
Many women who have remained active during pregnancy understandably may feel ‘ready’ to begin exercising sooner However the placental wound site is on the inside and can’t be seen and therefore many women risk excessive bleeding and poor healing if they return to exercise too quickly.
But there is good news…..
The first 2 weeks will probably be a ‘blur’ and the thought or inclination to exercise will be the furthest thought from your mind!!!
The fitter and more active prior to and during pregnancy will mean you will return to fitness much quicker. But this needs to be built up gradually and sensibly.
At www.bloomingfit.com there is lots of info about post natal exercise and how to begin. The priority exercises are pelvic floor and posture and these can begin straight away after the birth. It may seem frustrating Andrea but it is important to allow your body to heal from the inside, to strengthen those muscle most affected first (pelvic floor muscle and core muscles) in order for your body to be fit and strong to build up to full fitness again.
In the later stages (weeks 3-6 post natal) it’s absolutely fine to go out for a gentle /moderately paced walk and a great excuse for you and your baby to get some fresh air and gentle activity.Then at 6 weeks perhaps joining a special post natal exercise class where you can meet other mums, take along your baby and exercise too is a great idea. See if there is a BloomingFit mother & baby class in your area.