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Don't Skip Your Workout After Delivery

After youíve delivered your new bundle of joy, you may be anxious to get to work on getting your body back to its pre-pregnant condition. While you should be realistic in your expectations of how long it will take, thereís no reason not to begin moderate exercise as soon as your doctor says itís okay to do so. Even if you arenít particularly anxious to regain your pre-pregnancy figure, exercising after delivery will help you feel better and build the stamina youíll need to take care of a newborn baby.

If you delivered vaginally, you may be cleared to resume moderate exercise within a few weeks after your delivery. On the other hand, if you delivered your baby via Caesarean section, youíll need to talk with your doctor about what kind of exercises you can do and when. After all, a Caesarean section is major abdominal surgery and you need to make sure you donít put unnecessary stress on your healing incision.

One of the first exercises you should begin doing after delivery are Kegel exercises for the muscles in your pelvic floor. These are safe for you to do no matter how you delivered your baby. Even if you had an episiotomy or a tear, these exercises will help you heal. These exercises also help improve muscle tone, which helps to prevent incontinence and makes sexual activity more pleasurable Ė when your doctor says itís safe to resume, of course. If you did have an episiotomy or tear, avoid squatting or sitting with your legs far apart until youíve completely healed.

To build up your stamina, you should also consider gentle exercises, such as walking or swimming. Even at a young age, your baby will enjoy going on walks with you. You can use a sling to carry your baby with you, a stroller or any other form of child carrier. Even if you just walk to the mailbox and back, you and your baby will certainly enjoy the fresh air and the activity.

In addition, when youíre pregnant, your abdominal muscles have to accommodate your growing uterus. In all women they stretch and thin, and in about one-third of women, the muscles separate completely. This condition is known as diastasis recti Ė your doctor can help you determine if youíve experienced this. If your muscles did separate, youíll want to perform abdominal exercises to help the muscles reattach.

One simple exercise is to like on the floor on your back on top of a long towel. Wrap the towel up over your body, crossing the ends over each other and holding them in the opposite hands. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. As you slowly curl up in a crunch, pull on the ends of the towel, encouraging your abdominal muscles to meet in the center of your body. Even if you didnít experience diastasis recti, this exercise is a good one to help you regain your abdominal muscle tone.