6-Weeks Postpartum. Now What?
So you just got the “green light” from your healthcare provider to work out … woo hoo! But now what? Do you go and sign up for the next 12-week summer bootcamp in your neighbourhood or get on your bedroom floor to hammer out 1000 crunches? My hope is that you don’t do that. The purpose of this post is to give you a few quick tips to help you ease back into your regular fitness routine in the best way possible.
This is me 6 weeks postpartum. My body is softer and my skin is looser; sure, I'm excited to get back to my fitness routine but it's because I want to feel strong again ... not because I'm dying for a 6-pack. Plus, I just made a beautiful little human which took 39 weeks to bake, so I'm in no rush whatsoever. Although this week my OB told me my "recovery was quick" and that I was allowed to get back to the gym, I am still following my own advice about taking it slow and easing back into it.
1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Regardless of the 8-week progress pic you just came across of a “fit mom” on instgram, this is not a race. Take. It. Slow. For goodness sakes, you just had a marathon of a labour and I’m sure the delivery was one heck of a workout! With that said, take it easy and start with walks, which is what I've been doing a lot more of. I'm also letting Harper do the workout for the both of us :)
2. Your Body is Your Temple
Watch for bleeding because even though it has decreased, some mothers find that after adding more activity into their day, the bleeding starts up again. If this is the case, it could be a sign that your body needs more time to heal.
3. Praise Thy Pelvic Floor
Right now isn’t the time to sign up for a burpee or abs challenge. Instead start with focusing on breathing techniques that can help engage your pelvic floor muscles. If you’re not exactly sure how to do this, you can speak to your Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist who can work with you on cues to activate your pelvic floor muscles.
4. See a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
If you haven’t already, book an appointment with your pelvic floor physiotherapist! They are the experts and can help assess the function of your pelvic floor, mobilize any scar tissue and safely help you ease your way back to your regular fitness routine. It just doesn’t stop here either; I always like to mention that seeing a PFPT should continue to be part of your overall health and wellness regime.
5. Keep Calm and Relax(in)
Relaxin is the hormone that is responsible for softening your ligaments and joints during pregnancy and childbirth. It can actually stay in your body months after you give birth and in fact, the levels never go back to what they were pre-babe. With that said, be mindful of the activities you choose because you could still be experiencing unstable joints and a loose pelvis.
6. Bottoms Up
Especially for mamas who are nursing, it’s important to always stay hydrated with lots of water. It will support a healthy milk supply and plus, dehydration can make you tired … and you don’t need to be more tired than you already are!
7. R&R: Rest and Recovery
Truly allow yourself proper time to heal after having a baby and also give yourself permission to rest when you have a few moments of down time. To assist in your postpartum recovery, your abdomen needs support while the tissues start to realign. The first 8 weeks are crucial. I personally recommend the Bellies Inc. Ab System to help you heal inside out.
As I already mentioned, I am eager to get back to working out again, but I am allowing myself time to heal. I am also seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist. I’m doing a lot of walking when I can and will start to introduce some exercises that I can do at home, such as the bridge pose and clam. Lastly, I will be doing some lifting of baby Noa and of course, that’s my favourite kind of workout of all!