The right sport after pregnancy

Martine Bernier

Health journalist, editor-in-chief

August 25, 2021

It is a good idea to supplement your diet with some exercise, as long as you are patient about it. If you want to do sports to get back into shape after childbirth, you must not do so until you have finished your pelvic floor rehabilitation.

Otherwise, you risk damaging the pelvic floor, which is already heavily stressed by the birth. This muscle must first be strengthened before “normal” sports can be practiced again. In Switzerland, many gynecologists prescribe pelvic floor training, which should be done in the two months following the birth. Check with your doctor in case he has forgotten.

When the rehabilitation is finished and the postnatal examination confirms that everything is okay, you can start again with a gentle sport activity, taking into account the instructions of your doctor. Eight to ten weeks after the birth you can start walking, swimming, some water gymnastics or yoga again, but without overdoing it and forcing anything. If you have pain in the pelvic floor, shift down a gear immediately! Refrain from any high-impact movements that could affect organs and tissues. Avoid jumping, horseback riding, and anything that could endanger your still-weakened body. Allow time to recover and regain your mobility before resuming your previous exercise schedule. If you are unsure about returning to exercise, ask your doctor or physical therapist for advice. If you suffer from incontinence, it is not yet advisable to exercise to avoid further weakening of the sphincter muscles. Here, too, you can remedy the situation with rehabilitation. Six to eight months after the birth of your baby, there is nothing to stop you from doing endurance sports. Nordic walking, jogging or swimming over long distances are recommended.

Abdominal exercises will help you get a firm stomach again. Just like gymnastics, you can add stepping, jogging or jumping rope back into your exercise schedule after you have strengthened your muscles and loosened up your joints. Avoid elevators and take the stairs in your daily life, don’t miss any opportunity for exercise! And don’t believe the assumption that exercise is not recommended during breastfeeding, because there is no basis for it. To feel good while exercising, it is only recommended that you give your baby your breast before exercising!

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