Congratulations on your new baby! Now that you've recovered from labour and the birth, you may feel ready to do some post-pregnancy exercises.
The exercises described here are gentle and safe for most women. Once your doctor gives you the green light, you can start off with these basics:
What are pelvic exercises?
These internal squeezes help to strengthen your pelvic-floor muscles. If you've just given birth, they are helpful for improving bladder control, tightening the vagina and healing the perineum.
How to do pelvic exercises
First, locate your pelvic-floor muscles by trying to stop your flow of urine while going to the toilet. Now, contract those muscles. Hold the contraction for three seconds and then relax for three seconds. Repeat 10 times.
What are pelvic tilts?
These exercises are effective for regaining abdominal strength and realigning your pelvis after pregnancy. Picture your pelvis like a bucket: When your baby grew, the bucket tilted forward (called an anterior pelvic tilt). Your goal now is to get your pelvis back into a neutral position.
How to do pelvic tilts?
Lie down on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Draw in your abdominals without squeezing your glutes (the big muscles in your butt). Tilt the pelvis back so the small of your back is pressed against the floor. Hold for five seconds and repeat 10 times.
Realigning your shoulders
Targeting your shoulder blades – the scapulae – is a great way to improve your posture. If you find yourself hunching over your new baby all the time, doing these retractions regularly will help realign your shoulders.
What to do
Sit or stand with your spine and head erect (your ears should be in line with your shoulders). Squeeze your shoulder blades back and together as if cracking a walnut between them. Hold for one second and release. Repeat 15 times, three times per day.