In this post, I’m giving you 7 Postpartum Fitness Tips For New Moms. These tips are going to help you recover faster and healthier postpartum. And fall back in love with yourself, while taking care of your new bundle of joy! You’ve just had a baby! YOU ARE AMAZING. Now let’s work together to recover.
7 Postpartum Fitness Tips For New Moms
It is no secret that after having a baby, so many moms want to have some “normalcy” back in their lives. For many, this includes resuming exercising and finding their new sense of self.
Today, I will share my top seven tips for new moms who are wanting to get back into fitness postpartum. Returning to fitness after having a baby is a lot more complex than mothers have been led to believe. Believe it or not, although birth is a very ‘’natural thing’’, it can sometimes leave a woman with a body that needs more rehabilitation than what has been shared by her health care provider.
This list is only seven tips but they will absolutely help to set you up for a safer, healthier, and better recovery postpartum. Even if you implement just one of the tips into your postpartum recovery!
1. See a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist
After being cleared by your OBGYN six weeks after birth, it is highly recommended to see a pelvic floor physical therapist. Birth and pregnancy do not get the attention they deserve. Recovery is plagued with so much misinformation and flat-out bad advice. Seeing a professional who specializes in recovery after pregnancy is extremely beneficial.
This is likely the first time hearing about physical therapy specifically for your vagina. Unfortunately, you have probably had only been given bad advice; like do Kegels all day long. Or drink wine to help you relax and to help alleviate the very real pain that you are experiencing during sex. Being told things like this by a professional is showing complete disregard for your overall health. Plus a lack of concern about a potentially very real injury to your pelvic floor that simply needs physical therapy to be resolved.
So what can be done?
You may have heard trigger words like diastasis recti or possibly even more intimidating words like prolapse. Or you’ve been told to expect to pee your pants for the rest of your life after having children! Which simply is not true.
A pelvic floor physical therapist will assess your postpartum body. They’ll check for diastasis recti and prolapse and help you understand your new postpartum body. And give you appropriate exercises to help your pelvic floor muscles heal from pregnancy and birth. They will also educate you on the function of the pelvic floor muscles.
There are many reasons to see pelvic floor therapists from managing prolapse symptoms, healing a diastasis recti without surgery, or to helping you improve your sex life postpartum.
2. Train with a Qualified Postpartum Coach
A qualified postpartum coach is someone who is certified to work with this specific population of women. This qualification would be something you look for in a coach when seeking a coach to guide you in your recovery postpartum. Your coach will know how to help you restore your core, heal a diastasis recti, improve prolapse symptoms and navigate issues with leaking pain or pressure in movement and exercise.
This specific type of coach is someone that you will likely see simultaneously with a pelvic floor physical therapist initially. The number of times you see a pelvic floor therapist can only be determined by the therapist themselves. A pelvic floor physical therapist helps to prepare your pelvic floor to begin to build strength and endurance in your exercises like running, jumping, or weightlifting; they help you get to know your new body, what your pelvic floor is doing and how to use the muscles correctly.
From physical therapy you’ll have learned:
- how to manage the intraabdominal pressure
- healed your diastasis recti to a point of good control
- know whether or not you have prolapse
- what grade and of what organ it is
- and strategies and exercises to manage the symptoms that may be present
All of this is valuable information to pass on to your coach.
You may “graduate” from pelvic floor physical therapy but wait! This still doesn’t mean you are ready to jump back into your old fitness routine! There will be no “jumping right back in” for a little while longer.
From physical therapy, a qualified coach will build off of what the physical therapist has done for you. Physical therapy has helped you to heal the internal function of your pelvic floor muscles. And now it’s time to bring it all together and start moving your body and rebuilding strength, by taking small and intentional steps towards your old workouts.
How your coach will help you
A coach will be working with you to improve your work capacity and learn how to control your intra-abdominal pressure through appropriate breath strategies, in order to preserve and strengthen the function of your pelvic floor. This probably all sounds like a whole lot of fancy words.
Basically, your coach is helping your vagina and stomach muscles get stronger gradually over time. This is to effectively keep all your internal organs in place, shrink your belly and close the gap between your abs. Plus help you to not pee your pants all day long or during exercise.
As you become stronger and your work capacity, endurance, and strength improve. Your coach will continue advancing your workouts by adding more intensity or heavier lifts, or jumping and running during which you may experience some pelvic floor dysfunctions- leaking, pain, or pressure. Be sure that if this occurs you are telling your coach immediately. This will be a turning point in your recovery where it is time to introduce different breath strategies and for you, really start to learn the work capacity and strength of your own pelvic floor.
Your coach is more than capable of helping you move forward in your recovery, the presentation of pelvic floor dysfunction will no longer feel like a stumbling block but a stepping stone to a stronger you.
Working with a postpartum coach is a foundational step to getting you back into the things you like to do, whatever that might be; run marathons, Olympic lift, karate, or chase your children around without peeing your pants- essentially just feel better as you move through your everyday life with your family.
3. Prioritize Rest over a Workout
As a new mom, you are tired. You are likely getting up a few or a million times at night. Along with being up all night, you are now doing literally everything for a tiny human. Your workload has doubled.
While it is important to maintain a routine and consistency in your workouts, your body will not benefit from a workout if you are tired. It cannot function to its full potential if you are constantly working out sleep-deprived. This can actually set you back in your recovery. A fatigued body cannot get stronger without proper rest and it is prone to injury.
Pregnancy is a marathon, therefore postpartum recovery should be viewed the same. Pregnancy is a 9-month ordeal where your body is under constant load. It is literally rearranging organs and growing daily for your baby. Then you give birth which is another massive impact on your pelvic floor whether it was a vaginal or a C-section birth.
Both need a tremendous amount of healing and time to rest and recover. Viewing birth and pregnancy as an injury to the body can help shift the mindset around the timeline of recovery. And it will allow your body the grace to prioritize rest over intense workouts. This will yield far greater results in the long run instead of pushing your body before it is ready or healed adequately.
4. Build Workouts into your Daily Routine
On this journey of getting to know your new body postpartum, you are also learning how to balance being a new mother. With a new baby, your free time is no longer yours. Your old routine is gone and now you have to figure out how to work out with a little one in tow.
More often than not your children will interrupt your workout. Instead, simply including them in the workout might be the ticket to hitting your move goal for the week. We also know that your body responds better to a mix of different levels of intensity throughout the week instead of high-intensity workouts all of the time.
Movement is movement.
A leisurely hour walk in the park with your new baby 100% still counts as a workout.
5. Fuel your Body Well
Just as rest and balanced workouts are important; ensuring that you are eating enough food and not restricting yourself, will allow your body to lose weight more easily. Yo-yo dieting is called that for a reason. Many see a huge amount of weight loss initially. Then the second they come off of the diet, they immediately gain the weight back. Oftentimes they gain even more weight than when they started.
Our bodies like homeostasis. Everything our body does is to protect us and ensure that we have enough fuel to keep our internal organs functioning properly and to store fat in case we go through a period without food again- much like what happens on a restrictive diet. Dieting stresses our bodies out. When our body is stressed, it will more readily hold onto fat and make it harder to lose weight.
Your body is always working for you; honoring your body by feeding it well, not depriving it or punishing it, will allow the body to be free of unnecessary stress. Especially now as a new mother, you are already under a huge amount of external stress caring for an infant. You don’t need to add more to your day.
6. Have Goals
Having goals ensures that you have a reason for your workouts and it allows your coach to help you set a safe and attainable timeline to reach your goals postpartum.
Many women feel that signing up for something like a 5k after having a baby will help them get into shape and get their body back after birth, fast. There are many things that need to be achieved in your recovery process before jumping back into running. Without any sort of intentional rehabilitation to the pelvic floor muscles or progressively introducing running can potentially cause injury.
Have realistic goals and a certified postpartum coach to help you get there safely will allow for the safest recovery possible postpartum. How you recover now in your postpartum will help shape what the rest of your fitness journey looks like from here on out.
If you rush recovery or weight loss early postpartum and you injure yourself, there will be an even longer road of recovery for you and one that will not be as easy. Slow is fast. Meaning, it might look slow initially, but building a foundation is crucial if you want the rest of the house (your body) to last and remain strong for many more years to come. You must do the restorative, foundational work first.
7. Be Gentle With Yourself
You have a brand new body now. A body that you must get to know and a body that needs a lot of attention and recovery. It might take time for you to understand what your new body needs. Your body will look different and it will also take time for it to start to resemble what it was before pregnancy and that’s ok. This is something that should be expected, instead of society pushing the “bounce back” culture on mothers.
Healing physically is just half of your recovery. There will be a huge mental shift as well. Knowing the why behind your workouts and getting to know who you are now, is a must. You now have a tiny human that you love more than life itself. This will cause your priorities to shift a little bit. It causes your goals to be more centered around being the healthiest you can be, not only for yourself but for your baby too.
Be gentle with yourself in what that outlet will look like now as a mother. It will help to keep a positive perspective when your workouts post-baby look a little different now than they did before baby!
Have fun! Part of your recovery as a new mom is rebuilding your relationship with your body, and learning a whole new healing and recovery process that will support you for the rest of your life!
Heyyy mama! Already worried about the Holidays fast approaching? You’re not alone. That’s exactly why I’ve put together the 5 Weeks Super Shred! I’ll be going through this 5-week program with you! This means we’ll be able to hold each other accountable the whole time! Don’t wait, join today for exclusive early bird pricing! JOIN HERE.
P.S. Postpartum moms… Every workout in this program is going to have exercise modifications for you. (And, even if you’re not recently postpartum but have Diastasis recti and/or pelvic floor issues… we got you covered too!)
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