Whilst exercising postnatally is incredibly safe for most of us, there are a few safety considerations we should keep in mind. Remember that for those of you in the early stages of parenthood, there is a lot you can do – but you have also just carried a baby for 9/10 months, and birthed them, so we need to be mindful of this when we exercise.
Usually how your body feels is your biggest clue. Many of the signs you might be overdoing it will come from how your body feels or behaves.
A few things to consider when exercising postnatally:
- Wear a supportive sports bra, especially if you are breastfeeding. This will make exercising postnatally more comfortable and protect the integrity of the breasts.
- Stay hydrated. As parents we can find our needs aren’t always met, but please do ensure you drink water before/during/after your workouts.
- Listen to your body. Exercising postnatally shouldn’t hurt, so if it does scale the intensity back, go back to the previous phase, or get in touch HERE.
- Please don’t do any pelvic floor work with a catheter in situ. Wait until this has been removed before starting The Bump Plan.
A few warning signs that you need to stop exercising and speak to a health professional as soon as possible are:
- Very heavy bleeding, like soaking through more than one pad in an hour or noticing large blood clots. Bleeding in the first 2-6 weeks postnatally is normal, but if you notice it gets heavier or changes colour after your workouts it may mean you need to scale back the intensity of your workouts.
- A red or swollen leg that feels warm or painful when you touch it.
- A bad headache that doesn’t get better after taking medication, or a bad headache that affects your vision.
- A fever of 100.4 F or higher.
- An incision that isn’t healing.
Please call 999 (or your countries emergency number) immediately if you experience:
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
Rare but serious postnatal conditions:
Whilst not directly fitness-related it’s important you know the symptoms of both Postpartum Haemorrhage and DVT, both which are very rare but very serious, and know to call your countries emergency number as soon as possible.
Postpartum haemorrhage (also called PPH) is when a woman has heavy, uncontrolled bleeding after giving birth. It’s a serious but rare condition. It usually happens within 1 day of giving birth, but it can happen up to 12 weeks after having a baby. About 1 to 5 in 100 women who have a baby (1 to 5 percent) have PPH.
- Heavy bleeding from the vagina that doesn’t slow or stop
- Drop in blood pressure or signs of shock. Signs of low blood pressure and shock include blurry vision; having chills, clammy skin or a really fast heartbeat; feeling confused, dizzy, sleepy or weak; or feeling like you’re going to faint.
- Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) or throwing up
- Pale skin
- Swelling and pain around the vagina or perineum. The perineum is the area between the vagina and rectum.
Deep Vein Thrombosis:
A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein of the leg, calf or pelvis. Whilst DVT is still rare during pregnancy and after birth, it is more common in this period than at other stages of your life.
- A heavy or painful feeling in the leg (a lot of people say that it feels like a really bad pulled muscle that doesn’t go away)
- Tenderness, warmth and/or redness in the calf or thigh
- Slight to severe swelling
Please note that whilst these conditions may seem scary, they are rare, but knowledge is power. Do get in touch if you have any questions or concerns, and enjoy exercising safely!