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Experts Corner

Fitness

When Can I Start Exercising Again?
By Lisa Stone, ACE

Q. How soon after delivery will I begin to feel "normal" again (assuming no C-section)? Is it safe to begin exercising a week after delivery (or is that just wishful thinking from a first time mom?). I know most books I've read say to wait six weeks, but I know I'll be eager to get back into it sooner!

A. There are so many factors that will determine how soon you can resume exercising after your baby is born. If you exercise throughout your pregnancy, have an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, your bleeding slows considerably or stops, and you feel up to it, then you can probably return to exercise two to four weeks postpartum with your caregiver's approval. That's not to say that you will necessarily FEEL like exercising that soon. You may be exhausted, mentally and physically, and want to wait a little longer.

If, on the other hand, you aren't working out now, you have a difficult labor and delivery (including c-section), or you're just feeling lousy postpartum, then give yourself at least six weeks to slowly work your way into an exercise program.

All that aside, you can begin doing isometric abdominal and pelvic floor exercises immediately after delivery to speed up the healing process. You can also begin walking at a very moderate pace as soon as your caregiver gives you the okay.

In either case, look for a postpartum exercise class taught by a certified instructor.

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