Postpartum Exercise: What Moms Need to Know

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The last time Channel 13 met with personal trainer Irene McCormick, Erin Kiernan was in her third trimester and wanting tips about what types of workouts are best after having a baby.

McCormick says that mothers should wait between 4 and 6 weeks after giving birth before starting an exercise program.

It’s probably not a surprise that most exercises McCormick recommends focus on the core, but she also recommends compound moves that utilize squats and lunges.

“The posterior kinetic chain is so important in postpartum -- so glutes, your back, hamstrings,” McCormick said.

Even though it’s fine to start exercising as soon as your doctor gives the OK, McCormick said women need to pay attention to their bodies and understand that some moves may be a bad idea.

“The high impact is so important to acknowledge and to honor. Do not do that. So much is loose and not stable. You can create a lot of problems for yourself,” she said. “Low back issues, pelvic instability, hip issues. Things you probably didn’t notice before because they weren’t an issue.”

So stick to lower-impact cardio. When you’re lifting, gradually increase the weight.

Don’t feel discouraged – the good news is that new moms don’t have to spend hours at the gym.

“The research is showing that three to four 10-minute bouts of exercise are better for you than one sustained bout of 60 minutes or more,” McCormick said. “That 10-minute bout needs to be a high enough intensity that you actually feel like you’re working out.”

Finally, be kind to yourself and have realistic expectations.

“I tell clients who are postpartum -- please don’t get frustrated with your body for at least a year, at least 12 months,” McCormick said.

Follow Erin Kiernan on Facebook to keep up with her life as a new mom.