Provo Recreation Center – Fridays @ 11:00AM
Sponsored in part by Timpanogos Regional Medical Center
Important Class Safety Information:
- Participants must be cleared by their doctor to exercise before attending this class.
- Babies must stay in their stroller or car seat while parent/guardian is exercising and cannot be worn or held while exercising.
- If an infant needs to be removed from their car seat or stroller, the parent/guardian must move to the back of the room before taking infant out of the car seat. You are welcome to feed your baby during class. Diaper changes must be done outside of the classroom.
- Parent/Guardian must take the child with them if they leave the room.
Questions to ask your doctor before attending:
- Am I cleared for exercise?
- Do I have Diastasis Recti?
- Are there any movements I should avoid doing?
- The best way to ensure your spot in class is to make a reservation on the Provo Rec App or over the phone at (801) 852-6600. You can also check for additional class dates and times.
- There is child watch available for children 6 months to 8 years old. You can make a reservation using the Provo Recreation Center App for up to two hours while you work out! The cost is $2 per hour for first child and $1 per hour for each additional child. We also have monthly passes available.
Frequently Asked Questions answered by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
What are some of the benefits of exercise for postpartum women?
- It helps strengthen and tone abdominal muscles.
- It improves cardiovascular fitness.
- It boosts energy.
- It may be useful in preventing postpartum depression.
- It promotes better sleep.
- It relieves stress.
How much should I exercise after having a baby?
- After being cleared for exercise by your doctor, you should get aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.
What is aerobic activity?
- An aerobic activity is one in which you move large muscles of the body (like those in the legs and arms) in a rhythmic way.
What is moderate-intensity activity?
- Moderate intensity means you are moving enough to raise your heart rate and start sweating. You can still talk normally, but you cannot sing. Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities include brisk walking and riding a bike on a level surface. You can choose to divide the 150 minutes into 30-minute workouts on 5 days of the week or into smaller 10-minute sessions throughout each day. For example, you could go for three 10-minute walks each day.
What is vigorous-intensity activity?
- A vigorous-intensity activity is one in which it is hard to talk without pausing for breath. If you followed a vigorous-intensity exercise program before pregnancy, it may be possible to return to your regular workouts soon after the baby is born. Be sure to get your health care professional's approval.
What are muscle-strengthening workouts and how often should I do them?
- This type of exercise works the body’s major muscle groups, such as the legs, arms, and hips. Examples include yoga, Pilates, lifting weights, sit-ups, and push-ups. There also are special exercises (called Kegel exercises) that help tone the muscles of the pelvic floor. Muscle-strengthening activities should be done in addition to your aerobic activity on at least 2 days per week.
When can I start exercising after pregnancy?
- If you had a healthy pregnancy and a normal vaginal delivery, it is usually safe to begin very low intensity exercise a few days after giving birth—or as soon as you feel ready. These exercises may include walking and pelvic floor movements. If you had a cesarean birth or other complications, ask your health care professional when it is safe to begin exercising again.
What are some guidelines I can follow when I begin exercising after birth?
- Aim to stay active for 20–30 minutes a day. When you first start exercising after childbirth, try simple postpartum exercises that help strengthen major muscle groups, including abdominal and back muscles. Gradually add moderate-intensity exercise. Remember, even 10 minutes of exercise benefits your body. If you exercised vigorously before pregnancy or you are a competitive athlete, you can work up to vigorous-intensity activity. Stop exercising if you feel pain.
What are some ways to start exercising?
- When you are ready to start exercising, walking is a great way to get back in shape. Walking outside has an added bonus because you can push your baby in a stroller. There are special strollers made for this kind of activity, but using a regular stroller is fine. Another good way to get daily exercise is by joining an exercise class. Working out with a group and socializing with group members can help keep you motivated.
How can I stay motivated once I start exercising?
- You may already have a great exercise tool in your pocket. Smart phone apps for exercise and fitness can help you stay motivated, keep track of your progress, and connect you with others with the same exercise goals. Many apps are free or cost very little.
How should I prepare for my workout?
- Wear loose-fitting clothing that will help keep you cool.
- If you are breastfeeding, feed your baby or express your milk before your workout to avoid any discomfort that may come from engorged breasts.
- Wear a bra that fits well and gives plenty of support to protect your breasts.
- Have a bottle of water handy and take several sips during your workout.
Nutrition: Continue taking your prenatal vitamin for a year after childbirth. Avoid caffeine, sweets, and processed carbs. Eat at least 3 servings of protein and 5 fruits or vegetables every day. You can remember this using your hand: each serving of protein should be about the size of your hand, have a fruit or veggie for each finger.
Omega-3s: Fish oils are proven to prevent and treat anxiety and depression in new moms. Up to 3000mg of combined EPA and DHA are proven safe during and after pregnancy.
Walk/Exercise: Daily gentle exercise like walking outside or yoga/stretching can significantly improve mood. Go slowly and listen to your body.
Baby Breaks: Try to get regularly schedule breaks with your child(ren) in the care of others. Ideally, get at least 2 hours at a time, 3 days a week. If this is not possible, just take as long of a break as you can: make a snack, call a friend, read, or paint your toes. Don’t spend the time tidying, doing laundry, or using a digital device – these don’t count as a mental break!
Adult Time: No one is built to be alone with children 24/7. Find someone, a partner, a family member, or friend, who you can talk to regularly. You can combine this with a Baby Break or a Walk/Exercise!
Liquids: Drink 2 large pitchers of water every day (about 75oz). Dehydration can trigger symptoms of anxiety and fuzzy thinking.
Laughter: Do something you know you love (watching a funny movie, talking with a good friend, or tickling your children). Take time for silliness and laughter. If you find it difficult to connect to this aspect of yourself, it’s time to reach out for professional help.
Spirituality: Whatever this means for you. Go on a walk in nature, pray, meditate, ask for help from a spiritual leader, and connect with YOU.
If you feel that you are not yourself, and these tips are not helping you, you may benefit from some other forms of help. Please reach out!
Kegel exercises: A how-to guide for women
Why Kegel exercises matter
- Many factors can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, including pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, aging, excessive straining from constipation or chronic coughing, and being overweight.
You might benefit from doing Kegel exercises if you:
- Leak a few drops of urine while sneezing, laughing or coughing (stress incontinence)
- Have a strong, sudden urge to urinate just before losing a large amount of urine (urinary urge incontinence)
- Leak stool (fecal incontinence)
Kegel exercises can also be done during pregnancy or after childbirth to try to improve your symptoms.
- Kegel exercises are less helpful for women who have severe urine leakage when they sneeze, cough or laugh. Also, Kegel exercises aren't helpful for women who unexpectedly leak small amounts of urine due to a full bladder (overflow incontinence).
To get started:
- Find the right muscles. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream. Once you've identified your pelvic floor muscles you can do the exercises in any position, although you might find it easiest to do them lying down at first.
- Perfect your technique. To do Kegels, imagine you are sitting on a marble and tighten your pelvic muscles as if you're lifting the marble. Try it for three seconds at a time, then relax for a count of three.
- Maintain your focus. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.
- Repeat three times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions a day.
- Don't make a habit of using Kegel exercises to start and stop your urine stream. Doing Kegel exercises while emptying your bladder can actually lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder - which increases the risk of urinary tract infection.
When to do your Kegels
- Make Kegel exercises part of your daily routine. You can do Kegel exercises discreetly just about any time, whether you're sitting at your desk or relaxing on the couch.
When to expect results
- If you do Kegel exercises regularly, you can expect results — such as less frequent urine leakage — within about a few weeks to a few months. For continued benefits, make Kegel exercises a permanent part of your daily routine.
- Diastasis recti is the partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis, or “six-pack” muscles, which meet at the midline of your stomach. Diastasis recti is very common during and following pregnancy. This is because the uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen to accommodate your growing baby.
- If you experience any extreme abdominal, back, or pelvic pain, see your doctor right away.
- After delivery, the most noticeable symptom is a bulge or “pooch” in your belly area. Even though you’re no longer pregnant, it might look like you still are.
- Here’s how to self-check yourself for diastasis recti after childbirth:
1. Lie on your back, legs bent, feet flat on the floor.
2. Raise your shoulders up off the floor slightly, supporting your head with one hand, and look down at your belly.
3. Move your other hand above and below your bellybutton, and all along your midline ab muscles. See if you can fit any fingers in the gaps between your muscles.
4. If you feel a gap, or separation of one to two finger lengths, you likely have a moderate case of diastasis recti. After a few weeks postpartum, the gap will start to narrow as your muscles regain strength.
What are the causes?
- Excessive inner-abdominal pressure causes diastasis recti. During pregnancy, your abdominal muscles and connective tissues are stretched out from your expanding uterus. They’re helped along by the pregnancy hormones relaxin and estrogen. Pushing during delivery can also lead to diastasis recti. Experiencing some abdominal separation during and following pregnancy is expected.
How is it treated?
- Most women will experience some abdominal separation during pregnancy. This can weaken your core and lead to back or pelvic pain.
- Take care to do the following:
o Avoid any heavy lifting or further straining of your abdominal muscles until after you deliver.
o Practice good posture.
o Support your lower back when sitting with a towel or pillow placed behind you.
o Bend your knees, roll, and support yourself with your arm when getting in or out of bed, or standing up off the floor.
- For some women, diastasis recti may correct itself after delivery as the ab muscles regain strength. If you’re still experiencing symptoms or separation eight weeks postpartum, exercises may help.
- Postpartum treatment for diastasis recti usually involves pelvic floor and deep stomach muscle exercises. Always check with your doctor and get their approval before you start exercising after delivery.
Abdominal Activity to try:
Pelvic tilt. Try the pelvic tilt a few times a day to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly. Hold for up to 10 seconds. Repeat five times and work up to 10 to 20 repetitions.
Things to avoid
- Avoid traditional crunches, sit-ups, and planks postpartum until your abdomen is healed from diastasis recti. These exercises can make the condition worse.
You should also avoid:
- Any strenuous exercises where your ab muscles are bulging out
- Holding your baby on one hip, if it’s painful
- Lifting or carrying heavy loads
- Coughing without supporting your ab muscles