Michelle Bridges
Photo shoot today for my new Autumn range of @m_b_active for @bigwaustralia ! Facebook/Michelle Bridges

Was “The Biggest Loser” trainer Michelle Bridges irresponsible when she appeared on the reality show in December after giving birth to son Axel and sharing post-birth exercises considered strenuous? Health experts think so and warned mothers who have just given birth not to follow her.

Bridges, an Australian personal trainer, exercised while pregnant and now jogs 32 minutes and walks 24 minutes, which health professionals believe are not advisable for women who just gave birth. Kirsten Joyner, owner of Pilates for Life, says that impact exercises, such as jogging, must not be promoted as exercise for women with new babies.

She explains, “Running and impact sports with a weak and recovering pelvic floor runs the risk of pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence problems. Strenuous exercise post-natally can also decrease milk supply,” quotes News.com.au.

Meanwhile, Sydney’s Women in Focus Physiotherapy centre takes issue with Bridges’ recommendation to cut the length of workout after birth because the real issue is not the length, but the type of exercise. The clinic point out that the trainer’s reduced 20-minute workout includes 12 minutes of jogging which is considered “irresponsible” and not recommended by health professionals.

In fact, a regular exercise programme soon after giving birth is good for overall health and helps cut the risk of post-partum depression. Several exercises recommended for new mums include walking; deep belly breathing with abdominal contractions; head lifts, shoulder lifts and curl-ups; kneeling pelvic tilt; kegels; and workouts for baby and mum.

Babycenter cites the advice of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that while it is okay to gradually resume exercises as soon as the new mum feels up to it, it is best to wait for the six-week post-partum check-up. Light exercises, such as walking, modified push-ups and stretching, are okay within days of giving birth if the woman had exercised throughout her pregnancy.