Are you and new Mum and keen to return to running, the local boot camp, CrossFit or gym class ?
The pressure to return to “pre-baby size” is very prevalent in the media and fitness industry. Plus I am often as this question by many Mama’s – when can I return to “what I did before ?”
Well Mama or mama-to-be let me start by saying YES you will return to “what you did before” however you need a PROGRESSIVE strategy. Just like my clients Sarah who returned to CrossFit and 5 kids and Cath who returned to running.
Pregnancy and recovery is temporary but damage to your changing or healing body can be long term !
During pregnancy a woman’s body goes through incredible and rapid physiological, hormonal and mental changes – to bring a new little human into the world.
At your 6 week post birth medical check these changes don’t just magically disappear !
- The hormone relaxin which is responsible for soften ligaments and muscles in preparation for child birth can still be present up to 8 months postpartum and even longer if breastfeeding.
FACT :I have had many clients come to me with sprained ankles, wrists and hip injuries at 3 to 12 months postpartum as they have decided to “jump” back into exercise unaware that the relaxin in their system presents a greater risk of injury. Their bodies were not ready for high impact, plyometric or heavy weighted exercises as the joints and muscles were strong enough for these kinds of movements.
- Regardless, if you have had a c-section or vaginal birth, the weight of your baby by the third trimester on your pelvic floor (while you walk) is the equivalent of a 95 kg man continually jumping on a trampoline…got the visual – yikes !
FACT: Like any other muscle in your body, your pelvic floor (the foundation of your core) needs time to heal, rehab and re-strengthen. You wouldn’t go running on a sprained ankle until it had healed would you ? If you body is giving you information such as leaking, heaviness, bulging down below or abdominal coning don’t ignore it. Movements such as skipping, running, jump squats, planks or burpees could result in severe diastasis recti and/or a prolapse. If you are not sure if you body is ready please see a Women’s Health Physio for full pelvic assessment (highly recommended at 12-15 weeks postpartum)
- Is your trainer, coach, mummy blogger or social media influencer certified in pregnancy and postpartum exercise? NOW I am not here to discredit anyone supporting and promoting health and wellness, I think that is awesome. But I am here to empower you about the choices you can make to serve body in the best way possible !
FACT: Most personal trainers and fitness instructors are educated about every muscle in the body EXCEPT the deep core and pelvic floor. I can personally attest to this as after 10 years in the fitness industry, I was not aware of the importance of these muscles for a woman’s safety and well-being until I became pregnant myself trained with renowned physiotherapists to become certified in pregnancy and postpartum fitness. Learn more
Just like the saying says…you don’t know until you DON’T KNOW !
Please do your own due diligence and check with whoever is offering you a PT session, Gym class, Baby Boot Camp, or prescribing exercises on social media if they are qualified to do so.
I say to many of my clients and followers, a RED FLAG can be before you do a workout there is no pre-screening or questions asked about your birth, pelvic floor, hip pain or diastatis recti. (This should be asked if you had your baby 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years ago yep you are postnatal forever here’s why ).
How can someone prescribe movements to a changing, recovering body if as a coach they are not aware of these variables ?
Trust your instincts and body – if it doesn’t feel right speak up or don’t do the movement.
I completely understand as a new Mum that you are probably super keen to get right back into exercise or join a boot camp, however please also do a little ego check. Especially, if you are a bit of fitness fanatic like me. Think of postnatal exercise like pre-season training for a professional athlete. Athletes don’t just throw themselves into training full throttle (and on minimal sleep) then hope for the best.
They approach their training with a safe, effective and proven strategy.
This HERE is a good place to start !
If you have any other questions
Reach out in my Facebook Community #BFABSQUAD
Dahlas Fletcher is one of Australia’s most respected and successful certified and experienced Pregnancy and Female Fitness Trainers. Her goal is to help you be the happiest, most fabulous version of yourself, inside and out.