In this blog, I will be discussing four important things that you need to know before hitting the gym post baby. Recovering safely from birth should be your number one priority. How you recover in the early postpartum phase will set the stage for the rest of your recovery! We only get one body. We want it to be strong and capable to keep up with our children as they grow and become more active with every passing day!
Things you need to know before Hitting the Gym Post Baby
1) Your Six Week Check-Up is NOT the “All Clear” For Your Return To Exercise
Your postpartum body is not ready to pick up right where you left off at six weeks postpartum. It has been incorrectly normalized that you are cleared by your doctor to resume activities per normal at your six-week postpartum check-up. It has been translated to new mothers that it means you can immediately resume exercise after this appointment.
Many women perceive this as the “ok” to jump right back into what they were doing before pregnancy without taking into account the fact that they have not been working out at that same intensity for months. Even if they continued to train in their pregnancies or the enormous amount of stress that pregnancy and delivery have had on her body.
Being cleared at six weeks is simply saying that any injuries that were caused at birth are healing well. That your body is recovering the way it should. And that there are no life/death risks involved in your recovery.
Your doctor does not assess you for any injury to the musculature of the pelvic floor and generally will not diagnose prolapse or even diastasis recti (although, it is important to note that it is likely that you’ll still have diastasis recti at 6 weeks postpartum).
What to do instead of hitting the gym post baby (with the all-clear from your DR)
Instead of taking your doctors all clear as your ok to hit the gym again, consider seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist (PFPT) first. A PFPT will assess your pelvic floor for injury, prolapse, or diastasis recti. They’ll provide you with exercises to begin the rehabilitation of your pelvic floor after birth. It is also incredibly important that you make sure you are working with a coach that specializes in YOU. Aka a pre and postnatal certified coach!
A certified coach will help you implement your pelvic floor rehabilitation exercises into your daily exercises. To help keep your recovery on track and progressing forward at a safe and attainable pace as the intensity of your workouts and exercises begins to increase.
As you move through your postpartum recovery, naturally you will become stronger but it is so important to continue your pelvic floor recovery exercises and follow what your coach recommends and not push your recovering body too hard risking a possible injury. Postpartum recovery is a marathon, not a sprint.
2) Peeing When You Sneeze is NOT Normal After Birth
You probably have been told by a family member or friend that peeing your pants after pregnancy and birth is normal and should be expected! Then they will likely follow that statement up by telling you to just do a ton of Kegels all the time to help it not be so bad and tighten things back up down there.
But fortunately, this advice couldn’t be further from the truth!
What is happening is that those muscles simply need to be reconditioned and trained to function properly again after birth. If you pee when you sneeze that is a pressure problem, not a strength problem. And if you leak in your workouts that is an indicator from your body to stop that exercise, reassess and make adjustments to the movement immediately by either changing your breath work, load, or the movement entirely. By performing an excessive amount of Kegels you are doing the exact opposite of what you were trying to achieve. Kegeling and holding a kegel can create a tight- hypertonic, pelvic floor which means the pelvic floor is overactive and unable to function the way it is intended to.
Learning to understand what your body is telling you when you begin to leak or maybe have excessive pressure in a movement, might feel challenging at first. Training with a coach who specializes in postpartum exercise will help you learn to listen to your body! And you’ll make easy adjustments to your workouts to help diminish leaking or pain in your workouts and daily life!
3) There is No Postpartum Recovery Timeline
The bounce-back narrative is dangerous and is an unrealistic expectation for mothers. It is important to remember that it took over 9 months for your body to grow a baby. Things won’t “bounce back” in just a few short months.
Rebuilding strength and endurance will happen much faster when you start with a strong foundation. As a proud ‘’Type A’’ person myself, I totally get it that the foundational work feels ‘’boring’’ and unexciting. However, this work will help you avoid injuries and setbacks. And most importantly, it will help you navigate and manage pelvic floor symptoms you might encounter.
You will already know how to navigate new symptoms because you have the tools and knowledge from your postpartum coach to be able to modify quickly to allow you to keep moving towards your goals!
While I understand that you might not recognize the new body that you are living in now, please know that this is normal. I know that many moms want to lose the baby weight as fast as possible. Please remind yourself of everything that your body has done and gone through and walk this postpartum journey with confidence and grace.
Remember that ultimately everything that is gone super fast normally comes back super fast too. So allowing your body the grace and confidence in your postpartum recovery make space for a more permanent and successful recovery- one that was done comfortably with your mind, body, and soul.
4) Find A Coach that Specializes in YOU
Finding a coach who specializes in exactly what you are looking for in your postpartum recovery is essential.
Did you know that in most personal training certification programs the pre and postnatal population training modifications are taught in one module only? In the same module, they also teach how to coach senior citizens, people with diabetes, youth athletes, those with heart conditions and high blood pressure.
So, it is safe to say that there isn’t much depth on how to properly coach the pre and postnatal population in a regular personal training certification.
Pre and Postpartum Coaches
A pre and postpartum coach will know how to properly create a program just for you. Based on where in your postpartum journey you are.
You need a coach who specializes in YOU. They will be able to make the necessary adjustments to improve the mommy pooch, to manage your symptoms. (For example: are you peeing when you train? A pre and postnatal coach can help make the necessary modifications so that this doesn’t happen). And to safely work around possible injuries from birth and most importantly: help you achieve your goals.
Pre and postnatal coaches are very knowledgeable about pregnancy or birth-related injuries and rehabilitation. They will help you heal diastasis recti (aka the mommy pooch). You’ll lose weight, return to exercise postpartum, and get back to the things that you love doing safely and effectively!
As a mom myself, I know how adjusting to life as a new mom can feel overwhelming. Many women simply feel lost as they enter back into the gym with their new bodies. There is so much that women are not told about their postpartum body or how to safely heal and recover after birth.
I would love to be your guide and support system on this motherhood journey. Whether you just had a baby or your baby is already 10, but you’re still trying to get rid of the mommy pooch or trying to exercise without peeing; I can help you!
I know it’s not always easy to take that first step, especially with the holidays just around the corner. You’re not alone, and I’ve got your back. If you want to join my
“12 Week No Weight Gain Holiday Season Coaching”
Email [email protected] with the subject line “Holiday Coaching.” We can set up a time to talk about your goals and how I can help.
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