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Post Natal Exercises

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The following exercises and advice will help you get back in shape after you have had a baby. They are also appropriate if you have a had a ceasarian section. Remember to start gently and progress slowly.

It is essential to look after your pelvic floor muscles as strengthening them can prevent you developing incontinence problems. Keeping them in tone can help to avoid bladder and womb prolapse in later life. initially exercising them could help reduce discomfort and swelling so it is advisable you start them gently the day after you have given birth. Once you have identified the muscles you should continue to exercise them daily for the rest of your life.

Stomach Exercises

You should start to tone up your stomach muscles as soon as you feel well enough. Start with the deep muscles (Level 1) as they reduce the strain on yor back and pelvic floor. Once they are strong you can progress to working the outer muscles (Level 2).

Level 1

This exercises the deepest muscles of the stomach, which acts like a corset. It stabilises the spine and pelvis, helps flatten your stomach and draws in your waist line.

Starting position

For the first 6 weeks you should exercise in a comfortable position, with a pillow between your knees. You may choose to lie on your side. alterternatively you may lie on your back with a pillow under your head, your knees bent and feet flat on your floor bed.

  • Let your tummy sag, breath in gently  
  • As you breath out, gently draw in the lower part of your stomach, squeezing your pelvic floor muscles as well  
  • Let go slowly  

Level 2

Once your are comfortable exercising the deep muscles you can progress to Level 2 of the programme.

The Pelvic Tilt

  • Lie in the position shown and perform the deep stomach exercises.  
  • Gently squeeze your pelvic floor and buttocks, tilt your pelvis up and flatten your back on the floor or bed  
  • Hold this position for a maximum of 10 seconds  
  • Release slowly  

The Head Lift

  • Perform a pelvic tilt 
  • Squeeze you pelvic floor muscles 
  • Lift your head only 
  • Hold for a few seconds 
  • Release gently 
  • Rest for a few seconds 

 How to progress the exercise

Once you feel confident with the head lift, you can progress be

  • Prolonging the hold, up to a maximum of 10 seconds-keep breathing! 
  • Raising your head and shoulders 

Remember to

  • Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as you do the exercise 
  • Do not continue if your stomach bulges while your exercise  
  • Do not exercise if you feel tired or unwell 
  • It may take several weeks before you progress to Level 2 - this is nothing to worry about. 

Caring for your back

It is vital that you take good care of your back as it is particularly vulnerable at this time. This is because your stomach muscles have been stretched during pregnancy and are providing less support for your back. See ourback strengthening exercisesfor more information