How soon can you start your postpartum exercise regime?

New mums Soha Ali Khan and Celina Jaitly have clearly gone back to their petite selves post their recent deliveries. Here's how you can too!

Just weeks after delivering their babies, new mums Soha Ali Khan and Celina Jaitly were back to making public appearances, looking almost the same as they did before.

It seemed as though no time had passed and the two gorgeous ladies looked just as petite as their pre-pregnancy self.

But while it's well-known that they are both fitness enthusiasts, most people were curious to know if they started their postpartum exercise routine, just a month into motherhood?

Well, the answer is simple.

Postpartum exercise: Ideally a six week rest is must

With more than six months into motherhood, a new mum is most certainly allowed to get back into exercise regime.

In fact, studies by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggest that a woman can resume exercise as soon as she gets a go ahead from her doctor or midwife, or as long as she feels up for it.

Although ideally, a new mum should take six weeks of rest in order to let the body heal itself naturally.

Another important aspect to keep in mind before starting any exercise is that if you have been regular with it during pregnancy, you may easily get into the routine postpartum. Just as Soha and Celina who were yoga enthusiasts and continued with prenatal exercises during their pregnancy.

Now the question is how do you get started and what exercises should you do first?

We spoke to celebrity fitness expert Vinod Channa to know all about postpartum exercises, irrespective of whether you had a vaginal or normal delivery or a cesarean section. Here are the key points you must remember.

#1 Begin with exercises such as walking and swimming

"There is no difference in the exercise regime irrespective of whether you had a c-section or a normal delivery. In both cases, a new mum can follow the same method of workout and begin with working on weaker muscles and joints first. Since most women face joint pain, back pain and neck problems during pregnancy, they should begin with exercises such as walking and swimming and gradually increase the intensity of the workout. This not only helps them losing weight faster but also helps the body become stronger and fitter," begins Channa.

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However, he adds that if you have had a c-section you must take a go-ahead from the doctor before getting into a routine or wait till you feel you are ready for your first brisk or long walk or swim. It's important to always listen to your body and not force your way into a weight loss regime.

#2 Avoid postpartum exercises that strain your abdomen

Now, the next question is - should you be more careful about your abdominal muscles when you begin your postpartum exercise? And the answer is, yes!

Post delivery many women develop diastasis recti, which is a gap between their abdominal muscles. This can happen during labour or even during pregnancy. And while it may not completely close up post delivery, it doesn't really cause any short or long-term harm to the body.

So the best way to not strain your abdominal muscles postpartum is avoid exercises such as crunches or sit-ups, especially during the first four to five months of delivery. Instead concentrate on simpler exercises and yoga to help your body gain its strength back. Remember, patience is key here.

Now the next most important question in everybody's mind is if postpartum exercise affects breastmilk.

#3 Stay clear of postpartum exercise that make your breasts sore

Postpartum exercise does not affect breastmilk production, albeit you keep yourself hydrated, drinks lots of fluids and eat healthy. But you might want to stay clear of exercises that make your breasts sore such as weights.

During exercise, remember to always wear a supportive bra so your breasts do not end up sagging. And also make sure that you feed your baby before you head out for your exercise. That way you will not end up feeling uncomfortable during your postpartum exercise regime.

In case you have large breasts, make sure to wear more than one sports bra to add that extra support.

Remember, the best postpartum exercise to lose weight quickly is a cardiovascular exercise. It gets your heart rate pumping and the best examples of such exercises are brisk walking, swimming, cycling and even running if you feel up for it. Also make sure to maintain a healthy diet filled with essential nutrients and minerals and keep yourself hydrated at all times.

As celebrity fitness expert Channa advises, "A proper healthy diet should be followed and it must include proteins, carbohydrates and essential fats along with other important nutrients. One should also say no to junk foods."

Also read: 9 ways to soothe painful leg cramps post delivery

(All images courtesy: Instagram)