Newly postpartum mamas are asking these questions and they deserve access to information that they can trust.
I remember being eager to return to exercise after the birth of my daughter. I had an unplanned C-section and, aside from light and short walks, I didn’t do too much the first six weeks. I was waiting for that “magical” six week check up, where you get the green light.
At six weeks, my midwife told me everything looked great and the usual “use lots of lubricant since you’re breastfeeding”. Still, I couldn’t ignore the gut feeling that I needed to see a pelvic floor physical therapist (PFPT). At the time I didn’t have the knowledge or education to articulate why seeing a PFPT was a really good idea. However, I just knew that growing and birthing a human was a big deal and felt like blindly going back to the gym was not my best move.
There’s a whole other story when it comes to my first round of physical therapy, my failed start back to running, and my second round of physical therapy. Feel free to read more about those!
Because of my own journey (and the push from an incredible peer), I decided to pursue and complete my pregnancy and postpartum corrective exercise specialist certification. Knowing what I know now, I can give quite a bit more insight into when you should start back to exercise and how you should do it.
When and how you return to exercise has several variables, i.e. your pregnancy, birth experience, types of exercise you enjoy/want to return to etc. That’s just naming a few things.
There are some key things that every mama needs to know and practice on their postpartum healing journey and return to exercise. Whether you’re six weeks, six months, or six years postpartum, the following items are key to establish for your long term health.
- Diaphragmatic breathing. Without wandering in the weeds, I’ll just say that breathing is a big deal. After hosting a baby in your uterus for nine months (and taking up a lot of space) we can assume that your breathing patterns need some retraining.
- Connecting with your pelvic floor. You need to know how to activate your pelvic floor muscles with the right amount of tension for the task at hand. If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, tight, or overactive, this could be problematic later.
- When you’re within those first 6-8 weeks, breathing and connecting with your pelvic floor is a great place to get started! As you’re ready, gentle mobility and movements are great to add in. This is something I would recommend doing with the help of a trained coach and/or pelvic floor physical therapist. For the record, I strongly recommend seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist after your 6 week check up.
There’s so much more I could say about each of these things, but instead of trying to cram it into a blog post, I’m going to do something much better than that. I’m going to be opening up a postpartum coaching program very soon! I’ll be sharing more about it on my social media and my next blog post.
In the meantime, if you want to make sure you don’t miss an update on this program, join my postpartum coaching interest list!
As always if you have any questions, please contact me! I can hardly wait to share some of the amazing things that will be coming your way soon.