Exercise after pregnancy
Firstly, your ligaments and joints are much more supple at the moment. This will make it easier for you to injure yourself than before, just by stretching or twisting too much. It is very important not to join in with any exercise or sport which includes rapid twisting or change of direction until you are confident that your body is well enough to do so. Some pregnancy hormones relating to our ligaments and joints can still be found in our bodies up to six months after giving birth.
Secondly, your abdominal muscles may well have seperated. If this is the case and you start doing crunches and mountain climbers right now, your mummy tummy will get worse, not better. Unfortunately, this is often when the experts get called in. But we don’t want to fix it after, we want to help you to ensure that it doesn’t happen! Checking for muscle separation, or diastasis recti is very important before you commence any exercise.
It is best to have a professional check this, but here is a guide if you are wanting to have a check yourself.,....
Firstly, lie down on your back, with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
Put two to three fingers just below and/or just above your belly button, with the palm of your hand facing you.
Raise your head and shoulders off of the floor slowly, breathing out slowly as you do so.
You should feel the two sides on the rectus abdominis closing together on your fingers. If the gap is larger than three fingers, then the diastasis recti is excessive and even more care must be taken as doming may well occur.
Thirdly, your pelvic floor can be weakened, to the point where you are scared to laugh. Are you still doing those pelvic floor exercises? I remember when I was pregnant and they told me about pelvic floor exercises - how pointless did they seem. Then after my pregnancy, I remember wondering what on earth these silly exercises could do. I was used to doing so much more. I am telling you now, from experience myself and through training many others, they are so so so so important! And the best thing about them is that you can usually do them from just a day or two after giving birth, and you never need to stop! They will help later on in life too!
Finally, your posture is likely to be a mess. This needs fixing, as if you try to do some exercises which you may feel rather comfortable with, you are likely to do them with the wrong stance and posture and are more likely to injure yourself. Your pelvic may have tipped forward, or backwards. Your lower back would be arched. Your shoulders are likely to roll forward. Your body has been carrying a baby for 9 months, in your tummy. At a time when as we have said above, your ligaments and joints have been more supple and have been prone to moving more easily and over stretching, your weight has all gone to your stomach - pulling on your body so much. It may not seem like your posture has changed much, but have a good look in the mirror, be critical and assess how different it is.
Do get your post natal check (around six weeks postpartum) and if you feel it wasn’t thorough enough, go back.
Do check for muscle separation
Do pelvic floor exercises - lots
Do get advice and approval from your doctor or midwife before commencing exercise
Do seek advice from a fitness professional, experienced with ante/post natal training
Do work on that posture
Do get a good sports bra - remember your shape and size has most likely changed
Most importantly - Do love yourself and give yourself time.
Do not do any exercise (apart from gentle walking and pelvic floor exercises) before your six week check
Do not do any vigorous exercise to begin with
Don’t stop those pelvic floor exercises!
Don’t do anything that involves twisting and turning to begin with
Don’t forget what your body has been through - keep loving it
Don’t do crunches, planks, twists and turns until a fitness professional has advised that it is ok to do so.
Do not do any exercise that hurts. If it hurts, stop and seek advice.
Don’t lift heavy weights (can risk prolapse).
And most importantly - do NOT compare yourself to others. This is your journey, not theirs! If one day, you are too tired because the baby kept you up all night, just write it off as another day - don’t beat yourself up over it.
If you are wanting to get back into exercise and are still a little unsure, please do get in touch with us. Don’t go it alone if you're unsure. We are here to help!
So, you have just had a baby, or maybe it was a good few months ago, and you are thinking about getting back to some exercise. That’s great! Please, please, please do your research first though. So many women ruin their bodies after having a baby, by simply trying to improve them and it is so sad. There is just not enough information out there for new mothers. Here is where we are trying to help!
First things first, whilst you are reading this, crack on with your pelvic floor exercises! This is so important, and right now, if you're taking the time to read this, you can be doing those too! I know they seem a little boring, but honestly they are the magic that we all need!
There’s quite a bit to cover and it is really really important that you do the right things for your body at the moment. By having a baby, your body has just been through it’s own trauma. If you’re looking at your body and feeling a little rubbish about it, please remember what it has just done for you and how ultimately magical it is! I know that can be very hard, but it will be worth it.
Ok so, your back muscles and core abdominal muscles will be weaker than before. This is where some people think that they will just do a thousand crunches and planks - please DON’T do this - at all. Not Yet. There are a few reasons and we will cover them.