Daily walks have been my go-to postpartum.
I always like to remind mamas that once you are postpartum you are always postpartum and the idea that postpartum is just the first few weeks or months is a disservice to us all.
There are an increasing number of legitimate resources (will link a few below) to help moms recover post baby that have more to do than simply dropping the weight and getting back to their pre baby body.
It is important to consider restoring function of the pelvic floor, regaining strength, and helping moms return to everyday activities pain and symptom free.
Don’t think that just because you are not still in the early postpartum stages that it is too late to work fitness and activity back into your routine.
What about the mom 8 months post baby having back pain or feeling like she has zero core strength and stability?
What bout the mom 1 year post baby leaking on her runs?
This may be common, but this is not normal. This does not have to be the new normal.
I hope this piece will help all mamas return to fitness, whether they recently delivered or have a 4 year old, in a slow and sane path without putting so much pressure on themselves to return to a certain look or a certain type of exercise immediately.
Exercise considerations for moms post baby.
6 – week Dr. clearance
The 6 week clearance from our doctors is a misconception that the visit indicates that we can return to the exact activity (duration and intensity) that we were doing pre pregnancy.
I mean we can, but is that the smartest, most effective or sane way for moms to regain strength? Just because you can do something does it mean you should?
If you went in for a surgery you would have a progressive routine that would return you back to activity. You wouldn’t just sit around for 6 weeks and then go for a a run the next day.
Same for post baby. Just because you have not hit the 6 week mark doesn’t mean you can’t do a few gentle exercises to restore pelvic floor, core, and overall strength and just because you hit the 6 week mark doesn’t mean it is a good idea to go back to CrossFit full force.
There should be progressions to return to activity. Keep in mind that returning to fitness slowly will get your stronger and back to your goal quicker in the long run.
Consider function over aesthetics.
There is more to consider than just losing baby weight or fat. It took you 9 months to grow a baby and I it could take 9 months plus to return to where you were before. Consider that you body may be different now too and that is ok.
It is easy to get caught up in just losing the baby weight but like I mentioned above it is important to restore the health of your body to make sure it is functioning properly and supporting you in ways it needs to, not only if you want to be active but for motherhood itself.
If you have issues with your body, aches, pains or things that just feel off, go see a women’s health/pelvic floor physical therapist and don’t let anyone tell you that its just normal and the way it is now.
Start small but think big.
The best way to return to activity is to start small.
Build your foundation first. I linked a series of videos below from Physical Therapist Julie Wiebe
on breathing, alignment and pelvic floor health as this is not talked about post baby but so essential to women’s recovery.
Ease back into exercise by incorporating these principals. And no matter you choice of activity you will want to gradually build strength. I chose exercises like clams,bridges, squats, and band pulls early postpartum and once I felt stronger progressed by adding reps or weight.
Consider exercise selection and how you perform the movement.
Are high impact exercises like running and jumping best to start with?
Will full push ups put to much pressure on the abdomen?
Is alignment considered in overhead movements like shoulder presses and pull ups?
Are crunches the most effective exercise for core strength or are they being performed because
the misconception is they will flatten the stomach?
What is the purpose of the exercise you are doing?
Pay attention to other factors.
Start to re frame the way you think about exercise and your workouts.
Are your expectations that they should be a certain amount of time or a certain level of intensity?
How is your diet? Are you eating enough?
Are you nursing?
Are you sleeping average or terribly?
Do you have a strong support system to support your return to activity?
Who do you follow on social media and how are they subconsciously causing you to put pressure on yourself to achieve a certain look?
Do you compare yourself to other women and their body and how they are working out?
Start to think about how you can reframe your thoughts around your body, exercise, and where you are are postpartum. And check out the info below.
Here are some great resources from Julie Wiebe on how to regain core strength and pelvic floor function.