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Looser ligaments, a shifting center of gravity and other physical changes that occur with pregnancy will change the way your body responds to exercise. Such changes may cause back pain and other issues if you immediately return to your prior workouts.
“Special circumstances such as a C-section, vaginal stitches, hemorrhoids, etc. would prohibit you from most exercises and heavy lifting and require your doctor’s clearance,” says Codi Wiener, MD, OB/GYN at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women in Houston, TX.
Remember: Always check with your doctor before returning to your exercise routine.
Keep in mind the following tips to get back in shape safely:
What changes: Looser ligaments due to hormonal changes and a forward pelvic tilt results in flattening of the feet and an increased lower spine curve, says Jonathan Kirschner, MD, assistant professor of Interventional Spine and Sports Medicine in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mt. Sinai, NY.
How it affects your workout: These changes may lead to lower back pain, says Kirschner. “Give yourself time to heal, usually around six weeks—longer if multiple births or a C-section.” Strengthen your core muscles before you return to running, start slow and use a shorter stride.
Related: Regain your core strength with our Ab Rehab workout
What changes: Hormonal changes make muscles and joints more flexible. Testing their limits can lead to ligament tears and even dislocation, says Kirschner.
How it affects your workout: You may want to hold off on power yoga for a bit. Gentle yoga postpartum is fine, particularly poses that strengthen the hip, buttock and core abdominal muscles, says Kirschner. Avoid extremes of motion or lying on your belly.
Related: We also really love mommy-baby yoga