Slowly but Surely: Postpartum Activity
- The whole process of pregnancy and birth takes a toil on your body, so its a good idea to take things on slowly afterwards.
- When it comes to normal tasks like exercise, baths, and sex, you'll need to listen to your body and your provider.
- Once you fully recover, these activities will be much more safe and hopefully, become part of your self-care routine!
Let’s be real. What comes after having your baby can be a mixed bag. On one hand, there’s the thrill and excitement of welcoming your bundle of joy into the world. On the other hand, you’ll now have to find time for yourself and your wellbeing. Whether you were active before pregnancy or looking to try something new, it’s important to ease into activity slowly. Your postpartum, which can last up to 12 months after delivery, is a time to get comfortable practicing kindness and patience with your body and mind.
First, you should check with your provider to make sure you are healing well and can safely start activities like exercise, bubble baths, and sex. This is especially important if you had a C-section during delivery. A piece of general advice is to see your provider 4 to 6 weeks after you give birth to discuss your concerns about getting back into your normal activities. You can also check out Pickles and Ice Cream Georgia’s® videos and blog posts to learn more about recovering from a C-section and postpartum recovery.
You’ll want to start with exercise that won’t make you sweat too much. Low-impact and low intensity exercises are a great way to get in a workout that isn’t too hard on your body.2 Start with something like the following:
- Pelvic Tilt Exercises: Example
- Kegel Exercises: Example
- Light Yoga: Example
- Tailored Fitness Classes: OhBabyFitness
Below are a few benefits of taking 30 minutes a day to do some exercise and feel good about your body’s recovery!
- Strengthen your abs
- Boost your energy
- Cope with baby blues or postpartum depression
- Make you sleep better
- Relieve stress
- Keep up a healthy body weight
While exercise is important, you should focus on finding activities that you enjoy and get you moving. Simply, going for walks with your baby can be a great way to bond and stay active.
There’s a reason why people think of bubble baths when they think of relaxation. Research shows that your stress can lessen from a hot bath.³ However after giving birth, you’ll want to be careful before you take a dip in your tub. Ask your health provider first to make sure that you are properly healed and will not be at risk for infection from a bath. Here are some ways you can upgrade your bath for self-care when it’s safe:
- Get a trusted person to watch your baby and/or your other children
- Add a bath bomb or fizz for a bubble bath
- Add Epsom salt to the bath to help with soreness
- Light your favorite scented candle
- Listen to a playlist of your favorite songs
- Start that book you’ve been wanting to read
- Write in a notebook to reflect on your day
- Do breathing exercises to practice mindfulness
You and your partner might also be wondering when it will finally be safe to have sex again. Again, it depends how your body is recovering. Not every person heals the same; it’s better to wait until after your first postpartum appointment with your provider’s approval.
If you do start having sex again, go slow and pay attention to any pain you might feel. If you notice any of the POSTBIRTH warning signs, be sure to contact your provider or 911.
Massages and cuddling can also help you and your partner stay intimate if penetration is uncomfortable. This could also be a good time to explore other non-sex options with your partner to stay intimate while you heal.
Much of your postpartum thoughts can be easily be organized using our free, downloadable Postpartum Care Plan Toolkit. As always, the Pickles & Ice Cream Team is here to support you as you navigate your journey into motherhood no matter where you are!
- Biological and Psychosocial Predictors of Postpartum Depression: Systematic Review and Call for Integration, Annual Review of Clinical Psychology
- Exercise After Pregnancy, ACOG
- The Thermal Effects of Water Immersion on Health Outcomes: An Integrative Review, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
- Sex after pregnancy: Set your own timeline, Mayo Clinic