There’s a lot of information about how to exercise when you’re expecting. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) presents guidelines every year that we abide by with our women clients that are expecting. We align with these guidelines over the nine months and work hand-in-hand with the medical team to ensure we stay with their parameters.
What’s lacking is the information for postpartum (post-natal) fitness. If you did an internet search for books on prenatal exercise and for postpartum exercise, hands down you’d come up with thousands of titles for prenatal but for postpartum exercise it’s very limited. So, it is important that you find someone that has not only been through it — has gotten their bodies back into shape – but also is a certified personal trainer who knows what they’re doing. We don’t want women coming in immediately after birth to exercise. You need clearance from your doctor — typically 6-8 weeks after birth or more depending on the style of birth and any complications that may have occurred.
We work out a schedule that works for the mother and child, as well as the father and child because the father will also get out of shape during this time. It’s not just postpartum for the mother, but also for the father.
ACOG and other associations have shown that exercise can give off hormones that make you feel good and help reduce depression. Exercise can help combat depression, not by itself, but sometimes it can. With postpartum depression exercise is one thing that will help get mothers out of the house and often have them working out with other new moms in a group setting where they can share the joy and pain and commiserate about their new life that has been turned upside down. By doing so they’re in a group that is supportive working with others that have been through a similar experience — either young parents or parents of children that have gone through the same experience.
We’re not suggesting exercise alone to deal with postpartum depression, but exercise is certainly one of those key things that helps reduce its onset, and can help combat it.