A friend of mine recently asked for some advice on good post natal exercises to do. Although it is hard to generalise, here are some tips that will apply to most pregnant women, and those who have recently given birth:

1. During the 1st 3 months of pregnancy, make sure you do not go overboard with strenuous exercise where you are struggling to find your breathe. There is an increased risk of miscarriage if the womb becomes overheated, so I would stick to resistance exercises, keeping the workouts around 40 minutes in length, with 90-120 secs rest between sets.

2. After 3 months has passed, you can largley resume your normal routine – EXCEPT – avoid exercises where you lie on your back.

3. You will probably find that exercises such as back squats (or anything where a bar will load the spine) become quite uncomfortable. I think squats are a great pregnancy exercise, so rather than remove them completely, switch to an exercise such as a dumbbell squat where you viagra from canada hold dumbbells beside the body.

4. Once you have given birth, it depends on what type of birth you had – natural or c-section when deciding when to resume. If you were doing regular exercise throughout your pregnancy, then you may be able to resume low level exercises, such as horse stance versions, after 2 weeks. If you had a c-section, then you need to have more time off to allow the scarring to heal. After 6 weeks, a horse stance horizontal would be a great first exercise to start, as it will recruit your core and gluteal muscles without placing too much load.

5. Running would be one of the LAST things I advise you to resume. Your pelvic area will become quite loose and flexible during pregnancy, and will continue to be relatively unstable in the weeks following birth. I usually work for at least 3-4 weeks on strength exercises before allowing my clients to resume running.

6. Because of the demanding physical nature of raising a small child, you shouldn’t avoid doing ‘big’ exercises that load the muscles and joints. Here is a sample programme that I used with a client 6-8 weeks after she gave birth to her 3rd child. I kept it rather short (35-40 minutes), mixing both strength exercises with CV exercises that were not too demanding. I took into account that her sleep patterns were still disrupted, and she had 2 other young children to take care of. She trained with me up until 8 months into pregnancy: