Post-Pregnancy Exercises

Congratulations on your new baby! Now that you’ve started to recover fromlabor and birth, you may feel ready to do some post-pregnancy exercises.

The exercises described here are gentle and safe for most women. Once yourdoctor gives you the green light, you can start off with these basics.

Kegel Exercises

These internal squeezes help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Ifyou've just given birth, Kegels are helpful for improving bladder control,tightening the vagina, and healing the perineum.

How to do Kegel exercises

First, locate your pelvic floor muscles by trying to stop your flow ofurine while going to the bathroom. Now, contract those muscles. Hold thecontraction for three seconds and then relax for three seconds. Repeat 10times.

Pelvic Tilts

These exercises are effective for regaining abdominal strength andrealigning your pelvis after pregnancy. Picture your pelvis like a bucket:When your baby grew, the bucket tilted forward (called an anterior pelvictilt). Your goal now is 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 yourabdominals without squeezing your glutes (the big muscles in your butt).Tilt the pelvis back so the small of your back is pressed against thefloor. Hold for five seconds and repeat 10 times.

Shoulder Retractions

Targeting your shoulder blades — the scapulae — is a great way to improveyour posture. If you find yourself hunching over your new baby all thetime, doing these retractions regularly will help realign your shoulders.

How to do shoulder retractions

Sit or stand with your spine and head erect (your ears should be in linewith your shoulders). Squeeze your shoulder blades back and together as ifcracking a walnut between them. Hold for one second and release. Repeat 15times, three times per day.

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