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Postnatal Series: Exercise After Six Weeks

In this series Merrithew Master Instructor Trainer Laureen Dubeau takes a look at postnatal fitness through the lens of STOTT PILATES®.

Once the post-natal exercise program has begun, slow progressions can be made to increase the challenge of the workout. Far beyond six weeks, fatigue may continue to be an issue, particularly if there are older children in the family. Prone exercises (on the stomach) should be avoided as long as breastfeeding is occurring as there may be pain and discomfort. Continue focusing on stability of the joints rather than increasing range of motion, as the hormone relaxin is still in the system making the joints more mobile than normal. This will be the case until breastfeeding has stopped.

Considerations:

  • Energy levels may still be low
  • Mastitis (an infection of the breast) may cause pain in the breasts
  • Work on stabilizing the joints
  • Increases in difficulty should be very gradual so as to not overly tax the body

Exercise: Squat with Heel Lifts

Starting Position:

Standing with feet hip-distance apart, toes pointing forward, arms long by sides.

Movement 1:

  • Breathe in and squat, bending knees and tipping torso forward so the spine is in the same alignment as the lower leg
  • Breathe out and press into the heels, straightening legs and body
  • Repeat 10 times 
  • Then breathe in and squat, stay in squat
  • Breathe out to lift one heel, breathe in to lower heel
  • Breathe out to lift opposite heel, breathe in to lower
  • Continue lifting and lowering heels in the squat 10 times
  • Breathe out and press into the heels, straightening legs and body

Additional Exercise Options:

Roll Over Prep & Full, Kneeling Mermaid on Stability Chair, Butterfly on Cadillac