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Getting Back to Exercise after Having a Baby: Do’s and Don’ts

You might be raring to get back into marathon running, or just wanting to get off the sofa and do something about your ‘mummy tummy’.  Either way, it is advisable to be sensible and to mind yourself.  You still have increased levels of one of the pregnancy hormones, relaxin in your body up to 6 months post-partum, or longer if you are breastfeeding.  Your ligaments are still looser than normal, and hence you are at increased risk of muscle strains and torn ligaments. Getting back to exercise after having a baby needs a lot of planning and patience too.

do'sDo…start slowly and listen to your body.  Your fitness level may well be at a low base level when you start back.  This is a time to start getting active again, not to set up any goals for personal bests.

don'tsDon’t…do high impact exercise such as running or star jumps until 6 months post-partum, or longer if you are still breastfeeding, because of the increased levels of the hormone relaxin. You don’t want to risk a long term injury such as a torn cruciate ligament through being impatient.  There are other ways to add intensity to your workout.  Try taking a post-natal exercise class to get ideas about how to do this.

do'sDo…use exercise as an opportunity to meet like-minded people.  Join up with other new mums for friendship, support and to keep your fitness goals on track.

don'tsDon’t …over-stretch at the end of a session.  That extra relaxin in your body means you can pull muscles more easily than usual.

do'sDo…choose a class or activity that is truly baby-friendly.  If you have a lot of family support and can work out regularly without your baby, then that’s great – go ahead and join the gym.  Otherwise, be realistic and pick something where your baby can come too, otherwise you will probably end up quitting sooner rather than later.

don'tsDon’t…forget about your pelvic floor.  Try bouncing on the bed or sneezing.  If there is any leakage, you will find it beneficial in the long term to do those pelvic floor exercises.  Doing high impact exercise before your pelvic floor is ready will do it harm, not good.

do'sDo…get your tummy checked for ‘diastasis recti’ – where the outer tummy muscles (rectus abdominus) are separated.  This is fairly common after pregnancy and will resolve with appropriate exercise, but there are lots of common exercises you should avoid.  Don’t increase the separation by doing abdominal ‘crunches’.  Instead, work on strengthening your inner tummy muscles (transverse abdominus, or TvA).

don'tsDon’t…set unrealistic goals for getting fit again.  You may get demoralised through having a low base level of fitness, fewer opportunities to exercise and any post-natal complications.  Why not try something new instead, so you are not able to make direct comparisons with where you were at before.  Try setting goals such as ‘3 sessions of exercise this week’ as opposed to ‘running 10k in under 60 minutes’.

And lastly,

do'sDo…enjoy getting active again!  Revel in the endorphins!  Feel confident in your body!  Feel great about making the effort!  Your body and mind will both thank you for it.

Hilary Hooks

I am a qualified post-natal fitness instructor and feel passionately about helping mums to get active again through safe, appropriate exercise.




Informal Sling Meet Meath. All welcome

sling meet Dublin 15

1/10/14 at my house in Dunboyne, Co. Meath

sling meet is like a coffee morning with other parents/ mums-to-be, but everyone brings their slings along, and there is a babywearing consultant present with a stock of slings for you to try.   If you have a new baby and you are interested in buying a sling but don’t know where to start, this meet-up is for you!  It’s also great for parents of older babies who are looking for some new ideas with e.g. back carries or woven wraps, or moving from a regular size carrier to a toddler or pre-school carrier.

I also run a sling library, so all the slings below are available to rent:  €7.50 per sling for two weeks.  This way you can try them and see what suits you best before you go out and buy one.

Admission:  free

There’s no need to book.  Just come along.

Sling Meet Details

The sling meets take place at my house  on the first Wednesday of the month from 2-4pm.
Address:  The Bungalow, Castlefarm, Dunboyne, Co. Meath.  Google map.  The house is in a small country lane, almost opposite a small factory for the Dunboyne Reel Factory.  For printable directions, email Hilary.

  • Wednesday 3/9/14
  • Wednesday  1/10/14
  • Wednesday 5/11/14
Sling Meet Meath

Sling Meet Meath

Our Sling Library

Ring slings

  • Storchenweige (gathered shoulder)

Woven Wraps

  • Didymos medium woven wrap (size 5)
  • Little Frog long woven wrap (size 6) – BWI

Stretchy Wraps

  • Je porte mon bebe
  • Moby
  • Boba – BWI

Mei Tai

  • Hop tye (regular size)
  • Neobulle (regular size)
  • Melkaj (standrad size) – BWI
  • Melkaj (toddler size)

Soft Structured Carriers

  • Manduca (soft structured carrier)
  • Manduca (soft structured carrier) – BWI
  • Patapum (soft structured carrier)
  • Fraulein Hubsch (half buckle/ half mei tai)
  • Ergo classic with infant insert
  • Boba 3G with infant insert
  • Connecta – BWI
  • Kibi

More information about our slings
More information about babywearing

No need to book.  Just drop in.  For more information: contact Hilary:
087 917 2939

Sling Meet Dublin 15 Details

Wednesday 6th August from 2-4pm
25 College Gate, Castleknock, Dublin 15