.Postnatal fitness is something that is often not given a second thought during pregnancy. Most new moms think they will be back in their favorite leggings in no time.
However, the reality of just how difficult postnatal fitness can be may hit you pretty quick once your pregnancy is over, when you realize that being active again might not be as easy as you thought. But there are a few things you can do to ease back into fitness.
As someone who has been active my whole life, I assumed I would be ready to get back into fitness as early as a week after giving birth. I didn’t really gain any weight during pregnancy, so I thought as soon as my daughter was born I would be back to normal. Oh, how wrong I was!
Reality quickly struck me that it would take more time than initially anticipated to ease myself back into fitness. First of all, I had a brand new baby, therefore I was exhausted and an emotional wreck most of the time.
Secondly, my abdominals had severely separated during pregnancy and it was going to take time and work for them to knit back together.
There are a lot of different factors that affect your ability to be active after pregnancy. But before even considering any of these, it is important to be patient and realistic about what you want to do.
Here are three tips to ease yourself back into fitness after pregnancy.
#1 Wait for Your Bleeding to Stop
It’s easy to assume that after you have a baby you will only bleed for a few days. I myself was surprised at the reality of how long you can actually continue bleeding for after your baby is born.
Moreover, it’s important to listen to your body. You may think that the bleeding has subsided, yet too much physical activity can make it return with a vengeance.
This doesn’t mean you have to stay at home for six weeks doing nothing. You can get out for a gentle walk with your baby, which incidentally is a great way to get yourself moving again.
But diving straight into postnatal yoga and pushing yourself too hard can actually make it more difficult for you to fully recover.
#2 Watch Out for Diastasis
Many, many women suffer from some degree of diastasis recti or separation of the abdominal muscles. This is usually in the six pack abs or rectus abdominis. This affects a lot of women to some degree; you can tell because when you crunch your abs, they dome up.
Personally, I had this really badly and it was very painful in the later months of pregnancy. Some women will even need to seek physiotherapy in order to help their muscles knit back together.
But remembering how important your core is when it comes to working out, it’s essential to make sure you don’t overdo it until your muscles are fully healed.
#3 Work on Your Pelvic Floor
Everyone knows they are supposed to do it, but so many women don’t! Making sure your pelvic floor muscles are supported, especially after giving birth, is vital.
If your pelvic floor is not strong, working out (in particular abdominal workouts) can put too much pressure on your pelvic floor muscles and can prevent healing or worse, cause prolapse.
Seriously ladies, do your kegel exercises.
In my own experience, I was incredibly naive about how long being active again would realistically take me.
It takes 40 weeks for your body to reach full pregnancy status. It is important to remember that it can take just as long for everything to return to normal. Plus, your body may never be the same as it was pre-baby. But that’s OK, as you have the best reward in return.
Use these tips to get slowly back into your fitness. You may miss being active, but both your mind and your body need time to recover. At some point, you will be back to your workouts and begin to get your body back.