The baby is here - now your body can and should recover from pregnancy and birth. It has done a tremendous job in the last nine months. Hormones loosened your organs and your muscles so that your baby could grow and come into the world. Your pelvic floor, abdomen and uterus have been stretched and stressed a lot. In order to strengthen the affected muscles again and to prevent possible problems after birth, such as blood clots, bladder weakness and back pain, there are postnatal exercises and other postnatal classes. They are usually guided by a midwife or a physiotherapist. Sometimes they also take place in fitness or yoga studios. It's best to ask your midwife what services are available. If there is nothing suitable in your area, then your midwife can teach you the most important exercises.
As early as one week to ten days after giving birth, you can start very gently with postpartum gymnastics. These are gentle exercises that support the restitution of the uterus, tone your abdominal muscles and activate your pelvic floor muscles. You can slowly go for short walks again and climb a few stairs. Postpartum gymnastics stimulate circulation and blood flow. This will help your body recover all around. Breastfeeding, by the way, also helps your uterus to get back to normal.
About six to eight weeks after your birth, you will have your final gynaecological check-up. If it is determined that your birth injuries have healed well and you are not in pain, you can start a postnatal class. There you will learn many exercises that will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, your abdominal muscles and your back muscles. You can even bring your baby to some of these classes. If there is no more room in the postnatal class, your midwife can teach you exercises that you can do at home. In any case, talk to your doctor or midwife before you start exercising again. This is especially true for abdominal exercises, strength training and running.
In certain cases you can ask your doctor to prescribe additional pelvic floor training as physiotherapy after a postnatal class. This is recommended, for example, if you have back pain or if you have bladder problems after childbirth and lose urine uncontrollably. Physiotherapy is also useful if the connective tissue in your abdominal cavity is so weakened that you are having problems due to a lowering of the uterus or bladder. Such problems of prolapse can be treated with special training, which is exactly adapted to you and your body and during which you are individually supervised by a physiotherapist.
If you gave birth via c-section, there are a few extra things to keep in mind. For one thing, you shouldn't start postnatal exercises until a little later. Unless your doctor says otherwise, you can start about twelve weeks after birth. Simple postpartum gymnastics exercises are allowed until then. You shouldn't do any exercises that work your abs, though. Your midwife can show you exercises that are also possible after a caesarean section. If your caesarean wound has healed well after about twelve weeks and your doctor has no reservations, then you can attend a normal postnatal class. If you experience pain during training or certain exercises, it is better to skip them.
Most health insurance covers the costs for at least ten hours of postnatal gymnastics and other postnatal classes. As a rule, the prerequisite for this is that you start the course by the fourth month after giving birth and complete it at the latest before the ninth month thereafter.