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Returning to Fitness Postpartum

I get it, you can't wait to fit into your favorite pair of jeans and not feel like a Pinguin waddling around. I been there and trust me I know that feeling, but take a moment, do not rush back into a fitness routine just yet. Remember, you had a baby, your body has gone though some amazing things in the last 9 months, it grew a baby and has stretched to make room for it. Not only has your body physically changes but emotionally and mentally you are going though a lot, so give yourself some grace mama.


It is wise to ease back into your fitness routine, and not just jump back into your old exercises even if you were active throughout your pregnancy like I was.




After 3rd

The fourth trimester is the term given for the first 3 months postpartum. This is a time for mom to bond with baby, for mom to heal from birthing their babies into the world. It is not the time, in my opinion, to focus on snapping back. Trust me you will be disappointed like I was and its not worth the tears and angst. You are going though a lot at this time, hormones are fluctuating, you are trying to bond with baby, your boobs hurt from nursing, you are sleep deprived, and a shower is a luxury now and days. So adding on another task, will only cause unnecessary stress to an already taxed out mom.


Now I am not saying you need to stay in bed and watch Netflix all day long, unless that's the Doctor's orders. But I am saying its not wise to go out there and start training for a sport or go back to your old pilates, cross fitness, running routine just yet. Instead, talk to your doctor about what exercises they recommend for your postpartum window and when you can return to a physical routine. My doctor suggested walking at first with a loved one and starting small by going a few blocks. Eventually I worked my way up to a few miles but I did not rush it. For someone who is a body builder, walking was a new change of scene and was actually quite peaceful. I found it was a nice way to bond with baby.


Postpartum Exercise

Every women's bodies are different and will recover differently from birth. Your doctor might give you the all clear at your postpartum visit or might suggest you take it slow, Listen to them and listen to your body. Exercise, and those skinny jeans will be there when you are ready but rushing back too soon can cause more damage than good. I suggest you talk to your doctor before starting any postpartum exercise routine, if you have a C-section or abdominal separation please notify the instructor/ trainer so they can adjust exercises as needed)


Things to consider when returning to exercise:


Lose joints

Your joints are going to be loose, and might hear some cracking, that is due to the hormone relaxin which loosens your joints to make room for baby.


Pelvic Floor Weakened

Your pelvic floor went though a lot to support and birth baby and you might have a weekend floor. talk to your doctor about your pelvic floor muscles and see if you need to do certain exercises to strengthened them. Your doctor might recommend you visit a pelvic floor specialist.


Core muscles

Your abs might take longer to strengthen than you think. They been under a lot of strain over the last few months and you might have some small degree of Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation) that is worsen by doing crunches or any abdominal exercises that contracts the mid section. When you see your doctor ask them to see if you have it. When returning to exercise, if you do have it please notify any instructor/ trainer so they can adjust your routine.


Energy

Well if you have not had a baby yet, let me tell you, you will be lacking energy. Sleep will be interrupted at night by baby cry for food and a diaper change or just snuggles with mom. I was so sleep deprived that I was a walking zombie. If this is you, I suggest spending just a few moments outside. That helped me calm down, and reset my carcasium rhythms a bit. Also, asking family to help with baby so you can nap/ sleep is very beneficial. With that said, you might not have the energy to do lengthy, high intensity workouts so stick to short and sweet ones, that are maybe low impact.


Time

Yeah, this is a big one. You might not have the time to do a long workout. I had to come to the realization hat a 30 min workout is all I can do while baby naps. Plus it was all I had energy for. Longer workouts involved walking with baby for 45 min by having him strapped to me or in the baby carriage.


Milk Supply

Many moms find it somewhat difficulty to maintain milk supply while exercising and its a valid concern. One of the keys to maintaining milk supply is drinking lots of water. Keep in mind when you exercise you need to add water to that count as you will sweat out some of that precious water supply needed to produce liquid gold. To prevent milk supply reduction while exercising, stay hydrated.


End note:

Mamma, give yourself grace and do not worry about "bouncing back". It will take time to get back to feeling somewhat normal again, in the meantime enjoy these precious moments with baby.




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