Many women want a postpartum workout plan so they can safely lose the “baby weight”. While I’m all for working out, you don’t want to be too aggressive in trying to get your pre-pregnancy figure back. You created a human and literally birthed a miracle. That’s awesome enough!!
Second, if you try to race to get your figure back, your milk supply will likely suffer, your bone structure will suffer, and you’ll be fighting your own hormones. This will also increase your likelihood of postpartum depression.
Exercise and Postpartum Depression
With that said, helping mothers overcome postpartum depression and making sure they have all the support they need is crucial for the mother as well as the baby.
Exercise is an invaluable and readily available tool that a mother can use to overcome the baby blues and postpartum depression.
If there is a tool that can help with a symptom picture, that doesn’t have a host of negative side effects, we want to put it to work.
A study published in Perspectives in Psychiatric Care in 2020, looked at a 4 week exercise routine for postnatal women and found that it was effective or successful in decreasing depressive symptoms in the post partum period.
Another systemic review found 16 papers demonstrating that a regular exercise routine decreased negative emotions, feelings of uncertainty, fear, anxiety, depression and sadness.
And no you don’t have to go to a Zumba class or Crossfit 5 days per week. Simply pushing your child in stroller around town can be enough to decrease the likelihood of depressive symptoms.
Postpartum Workout Plan
If you’re not pregnant yet, but planning to get pregnant, start your exercise routine now. It will never be easier than right now.
- If you are pregnant, start it right now, it will not be easier when the baby is outside your womb.
- If you just had a vaginal birth in the last week. Chill, let your body heal.
- If you are past the first week and are not having any bleeding issues, then start to go for leisurely walks. Ideally, you would continue this as long as your body is responding well until you hit about the four week mark post partum.
Feel free to pick up the pace as needed until you hit the 12 week mark. This can seem like a long time for the avid exerciser, but those who go out hot and jump back into the weight room quickly, are likely to end up with a prolapsed uterus later on in life, urinary difficulties and hip and pelvic issues.
Consider gradually working yourself into a more aggressive routine with body weight movements, brisk walking, cycling, rowing, step ups, Pilates, yoga positions, holds and wall sits. Once your movement patterns feel strong, start adding back in your strength training with weights.
If this all sounds too complicated, make the one move to start walking each day for 30 minutes.
The act of walking increases levels of a protein call brain derived neurotrophic factor and the volume of your hippocampus.
You will notice improved self perception (how you perceive yourself to be), a better mood and increased productivity. Sounds like what we all need right?
If you are pregnant, watch this video on Essentials for Pregnancy, these are my wife’s 5 must-haves during pregnancy.
What kind of postpartum workout plan are you following? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Poyatos-León, Raquel et al. “Effects of exercise-based interventions on postpartum depression: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Birth (Berkeley, Calif.) vol. 44,3 (2017): 200-208. doi:10.1111/birt.12294
Özkan, Semiha Aydın et al. “The effectiveness of an exercise intervention in reducing the severity of postpartum depression: A randomized controlled trial.” Perspectives in psychiatric care vol. 56,4 (2020): 844-850. doi:10.1111/ppc.12500