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17 July 2019, 12:25 | Updated: 18 July 2019, 08:29
Hannah explains to us how postpartum yoga can help release tension, calm anxiety and rebuild pelvic floor and abdominal muscles.
While new mums might no longer have morning sickness to contend with, there are plenty of other physical demands that come with having a newborn baby.
Luckily, yoga expert Hannah Barrett (aka @yoga_girl_london) is here with some of the most effective moves to help with all those aches and pains, as well as providing some much-needed self love.
“Practising yoga can reduce stress and anxiety through mindful movement, meditation and the breath,” Hannah tells us.
She adds: “It will also Improve mobility of joints and stretch muscles commonly tightened through carrying and holding your newborn, particularly in the upper and lower back.”
Yoga is a form of exercise which originated in India about 5,000 years ago and focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing.
The main components of yoga are made up of a series of movements which flow into one another and are designed to increase core strength.
It’s no surprise that a lot of mums will be intimidated by hitting the mat for the first time, especially considering what their bodies have been through over the last nine months.
But Hannah insists just ten minute routines every day can strengthen the muscles which have been under pressure - such as the stomach and bum - which will help the body to cope with the physical demands of looking after a baby.
“Yoga uses slow controlled movements engaging lots of muscles keeping them under tension as you perform the flow,” she says, adding: “This will build definition and strength.”
As well as the physical benefits, Yoga can also be used as a relaxation technique during the vital first few months after welcoming your new baby.
She tells us: “The physical part is only one area, learning to be present and mindful helps to lower anxiety and stress.
“It gives you so many tools to use in life to help keep you strong inside.”
While hitting the gym might not be on any new parent’s radar, it’s also an incredibly versatile and flexible form of exercise for busy mums.
Not only can it be done at home in just a few minutes, but mum and baby classes are a great way to gently get back to exercise and bond with your baby.
It goes without saying that getting back into exercise can vary from person to person, but there are exercises new mums can do straight after giving birth.
Rather than exerting your body, these moves simply focus on re-engaging the pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles which is so important postpartum.
Hannah says: “In the first six weeks it’s important to have relative rest and nurture you and your baby.
“However, this doesn’t stop you from keeping active such as walking with your baby, re-engaging your pelvic floor and deep abdominal exercises.”
There are some exercises which mums shouldn’t do straight after giving birth, including those which really increase pressure on the abdominals such as planks and sit ups.
“The main advice is to avoid anything which causes bulging or doming of the stomach muscles as this means you’re not engaging the correct core muscles or anything which causes pain or unusual symptoms,” Hannah says.
She adds: “Take your time. It takes a good couple of months for muscles to build so results won’t happen overnight.”
If someone has had a c-section, it’s also important to avoid moves which involve extending backwards, because this will stretch the wound which generally needs at least six weeks to heal.
When it comes to yoga classes, Hannah recommends waiting until six weeks postpartum to allow for tissue healing, and once your GP has given you the sign off to exercise.
Hannah spoke to Heart at Savage Garden.
Hannah Barrett: Yoga Instructor, Author and Postnatal Health & Fitness Specialist. Strength Through Yoga is available for £39.99 at www.yogagirllondon.com.