The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
Read more »
What changes: A weak pelvic floor may make incontinence issues more apparent when performing high-impact moves such as Zumba, says Gia Fruscione, DPT, doctor of physical therapy in Hamilton, NJ.
Most doctors recommend avoiding strenuous exercise for six weeks postpartum to allow the abdominal and pelvic muscles to heal. Plus, Zumba’s side-to-side and pelvic motion moves make it especially strenuous on the very joints that are stretched and affected by pregnancy.
How it affects your workout: Stick with lower-impact workouts for the first six weeks postpartum. In the meantime practice core and pelvic floor strengthening exercises, says Fruscione. “Performing exercises that reactivate and strengthen your pelvic floor can help with incontinence (i.e. Kegels).”
What changes: Lifting heavy weights should be avoided for six weeks, as this increases pressure within the abdomen, says Kirschner. “This increases the risk of pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence.”
How it affects your workout: In some cases abdominal exercises may be contraindicated. “Unless you’ve had a C-section, abdominal exercises are usually fine, but keep in mind your abs will fatigue very quickly since they’ve been on hiatus for at least six months,” says Dr. Wiener.
Planks and other core exercises are best as they target the pelvic floor and transverse abdominis (the main core stabilizing muscle).
We love this New Mom Circuit-Style Workout >>
What changes: Almost every woman will be somewhat swollen in the genital area for a couple of weeks after delivery, says Wiener. “It may be quite uncomfortable to cycle until about one month after delivery. If you received stitches at your delivery, you will need to avoid riding a bike until your obstetrician clears you for it at your six- week postpartum visit.”
How it affects your workout: After your doctor gives you the go-ahead, consider a wider bike seat or one with extra cushion or padding. Seat with a hole or slit cut out of the also relieves pressure on tender areas
Remember: Always check with your doctor before starting any postnatal fitness program; you’ll need to wait at least six weeks after having a Cesarean section.