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PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDELINES FOR WOMEN IN POSTPARTUM PERIOD

Remember that physical activity adapted according to your ability and severity of your condition is always safe.

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Everyone should be physically active to derive health benefits. Being physically active not only improves one’s overall health and fitness but also reduces the risk of several diseases. However, some people have conditions that raise special issues about the type and amount of physical activities they should undertake. This section provides guidance for healthy women who are in postpartum period – the immediate period after a woman has recently given birth to a baby.

Physical activities for women in postpartum period

A woman in postpartum period, unless has medical reasons to avoid physical activity, should begin or continue moderate-intensity activities. If a woman is beginning physical activity in the postpartum period, she should increase the amount gradually overtime.

If you are a woman in postpartum period and are already highly active, you should continue your physical activity. If you are a woman in postpartum period and are not highly active, you should do at least 2 hour and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. Preferably, this 2 hour and 30 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week.

Brisk walking, bicycle riding, housework, yard work and playing softball fall under the category of moderately intense activities that can be performed by a woman in postpartum period. Bicycle riding can be stationary bike riding or road bike riding. Household activities like sweeping, mopping, mowing a lawn and games that require such as throwing and catching are regarded as moderate-intensity physical activities. Remember that any physical activity is better than none and substantial health benefits are associated with a physical activity.

Specific health benefits for a woman in postpartum period when performing moderate-intensity physical activities:

Improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness
Improvement in mood
Maintenance of weight
Achievement of weight loss when combined with caloric restriction

Guidelines for safe physical activities for a woman in postpartum period

Avoid exercises involving lying on the back
Avoid contact sports and collision sports such as soccer, basketball and horseback riding
Choose physical activities in accordance with your current fitness level
Increase physical activity gradually over time
Protect yourself by using appropriate gear and sports equipment
Look for safe environment to perform physical activities
If you are a woman with chronic conditions and symptoms, you should always consult a health care provider about types and amounts of appropriate activity for you.

Please note that physical activity has no adverse effect on breast milk volume and breast milk composition.

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