Fitness After Baby
After the fog starts to lift and you and your sweet babe start to get into a bit of a routine, you might start to think about getting back into activity.
Whether you are missing exercise with every muscle fibre of your body, or just looking to get up and moving a bit more, it is good to know how to return to movement safely.
The web can be extremely confusing when it comes to postpartum exercise. There is a lot of messaging around ‘getting your pre-baby body back’ & how to lose the ‘mummy tummy’ etc. On the flip side there are the posts about how crunches, planks, and high impact exercises should never be done postpartum because of the possibility to create or worsen an abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti) or pelvic organ prolapse.
I am of the belief that there is no such thing as a 'bad exercise'. Each women is so unique and each of her pregnancies & postpartum experiences will create a new set of circumstances to consider when it comes to exercising.
Doctors will say “listen to your body” and “ease back into it”. But your body has gone through such an incredible change in the past year. You may not even recognize it if this is your first postpartum (or sometimes after your 2nd, or 3rd). So what are you supposed to be listening for? And what does ease back into it even mean? If you were doing Crossfit before you had your baby can you get back into that as long as you scale the weights back a bit? Or returning to running by starting out with a slower 5k? Should you spend the next year doing slow walks around the block? This will be different for everyone. (Frustrating answer, I know!)
So how do you return to exercise after having a baby?
The questions that I teach my clients allow them to take some of the power back into their routines.
1. What types of movement would make you feel good right now?
2. Do you have any pain?
3. Do you feel any pressure/bulging in your pelvic floor or core?
4. Are you having any leaking?
5. What is the purpose of this activity?
6. Does this exercise or activity leave you feeling drained or energized?
Exercise can be a mental release for moms. A chance to get outside for some fresh air and movement can really help to calm your mind and break up the napping, nursing, crying cycle that can sometimes hit. Even better if you can get out with a friend for some adult conversation.
If you feel any PAIN, PRESSURE or PEEING (leaking of any type or amount) then stop your activity and take a break. Take a moment to try to figure out why it is happening, is your posture off, are you pushing too hard, do you need to rehab your pelvic floor or core a bit more.
Why are you doing a certain exercise or activity? Are you focused on losing the baby weight, or trying to get back to certain strength goal, or do you miss the community at the gym? Sometimes our ego can push us a bit further than our body is ready to go.
Does the activity leave you feeling drained, sore, exhausted? Then it may not be the best for you right now when baby isn’t sleeping through the night and you don’t have the luxury of being sore all day from a tough leg day. You want to focus on activities that boost up your energy, not take from it.
You are a busy mom. You have a little one (or ones) that rely on you, your body is healing, and you may not be getting enough rest. There may not be any one ‘bad exercise’, but is that exercise good for you right now? I promise you will get back to it, but you want to put in place the foundational blocks to ensure success in the future.
I highly recommend seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist if that is a possibility for you right now. They can help you to assess your current state and help give you tools to rehab your body and prepare it for the activity you wish to get back to.
And there are several pre & postnatal certified personal trainers in Calgary (like myself), that are happy to help you out. We are here to discuss your current fitness, symptoms, and goals to help come up with a plan that will work around your life right now. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. I would be happy to chat.
Renee Groenland, Pre & Postnatal Personal Trainer with Strelle Wellness