Katharina Quack Lötscher, the doctor who heads the PEBS* (healthy mums and kids) project, explains what you need to know when you want to start sport again after childbirth.
How soon after the birth can you start exercising or resume normal training?
Remember the first six weeks after birth are often called “confinement”. This doesn’t mean you actually have to be confined to your bed, but you should go easy on yourself. During this period light strolls in the open air are perfectly adequate. Shortly after the birth, it’s important to carefully reactivate your pelvic floor muscles, and avoid putting too much strain on them. At buggyfit.ch, training for women who had a normal birth starts after around six to eight weeks. After a caesarean we recommend waiting eight weeks.
What’s the quickest way of getting rid of the excess pounds after childbirth?
The body puts by certain reserves of fat for breastfeeding, and there’s no need to do intensive treatments or overexercise to get back to your normal weight as quickly as possible. Breaking down fat can be a problem, especially when you’re breastfeeding, as the fat is also where toxins are stored. If it gets broken down very quickly these toxins can be released and get into the child’s milk. You’re on track if you lose around 500 grams a week. That shouldn’t be a problem with regular exercise and the right diet.
At what point can you go jogging with your baby in a stroller? On what type of surface?
Here, too, you should avoid being too extreme. Walking pace on even ground definitely shouldn’t be a problem for your baby. From the age of three months it can hold its head itself, which leads to the stabilisation of the back muscles. From that point uneven ground should also be less of a problem.
*Advice on preventive nutritional and exercise during pregnancy up to a year after birth