the 4th trimester
During NBC4 New York’s health & fitness expo at MetLife Stadium yesterday, I got the stage for 30 minutes after Eli Manning opened the ceremonies. (Man, he’s got a baby face, and SO nice!) It was a true honor to be there.
My presentation focused on the “4 trimesters of fitness”. Obviously, exercise during pregnancy is a no-brainer. Benefits include healthier & smarter babies, less weight gain, more energy, less risk for gestational diabetes & preeclampsia and fewer pregnancy and labor complications.
But after childbirth (the “fourth trimester”), what can a new mother do to get her core back and how soon can she start? Can she do anything before her doctor gives her the ‘green light’ to exercise? My answer is “yes”. If a woman has had a normal vaginal delivery, she can begin getting her pelvic floor back on the day she gives birth. She should follow all of her doctor’s instructions, however, and proceed with caution, especially if she feels lightheaded or pain during exercise.
In the hospital or within the first week, a new mother can begin with some simple posture stretches and pelvic floor exercises:
After a couple weeks, if she feels up to it, a new mother can add a few more exercises to the mix:
- core engagement (draw navel to spine as though you’re zipping up tight skinny jeans)
- hip bridges
- 3, 10-second elbow planks
- kneeling hip flexor stretch
Once her doctor gives clearance, her body will be ready for a proper gym workout. She should be checked for diastasis recti (a separation of abdominal muscles), and ask her doctor specific questions about intensity levels and specific exercises to avoid or incorporate. Check my next blog posting for my favorite 3 postnatal exercises!