After you have a baby, your body might feel completely different. You’ve just created another human! You might feel like a completely different person. You have to re-train your body to move in ways that used to be so simple for you. You are recovering not only from having a baby but from the pregnancy itself. Your body changes and you aren’t quite sure what to do about it.  You also have many things that get in the way of taking time out of your day to exercise and spend time on yourself.  The challenges of being a new mom can make it difficult to find the time to exercise.  Fatigue and sleep disturbance are common following childbirth and can decrease a mom’s motivation to get moving.  Newborn sleep and feeding schedules in addition to balancing family responsibilities and work schedules can be overwhelming and can affect a mom’s desire to get moving.  In some women this can lead to depression and there are numerous studies that suggest that childbearing may be a contributor to obesity.

Regular exercise following childbirth is important and has multiple health benefits.  The possible benefits of exercise in the postpartum period may include preventing obesity, promoting aerobic fitness and strength, optimizing bone health and improving mood or self-esteem.

Improving aerobic fitness and strength can improve a mother’s ability to care for her child or children.  Optimizing bone health can help to increase bone mineral density and possibly prevent lactation-associated bone loss in breastfeeding mothers.  Exercising can help to improve mood and self-esteem which may help to decrease the risk of getting postpartum depression and anxiety.  Another benefit of postpartum exercise is that the mother’s participation in regular exercise following childbirth may encourage regular physical activity habits in her children.

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