Your baby has arrived and now bonding with your baby, resting and healing is your top priority. There is so much pressure on women to snap back immediately after having a baby. I want all women to delete that phrase from their vocabulary. Remember, everyone’s body and journey are different. Do not compare yourself to anyone else or rush yourself back into a fitness regime. Your approach back to working out is a process just like growing your baby. Nothing happens overnight, nor should you expect it to. That said, you can and will regain your strength and love what you see in the mirror but you must take the proper steps to get there.
Avoid: High impact exercises and forward flexion.
Everyone is different but your pelvic floor needs time to heal even if you have a cesarean. We want to make sure we avoid incontinence and rushing back to high impact exercises puts more load on those muscles. Incontinence is common but not something that should ever be normalized.
You also want to avoid forward flexion for at least three months or more. When you begin to add forward flexion back into your routine, make sure you engage your Kegels and feel the transverse abs engaging at the midline of the body before you curl forward. It’s also important to get checked for diastasis recti, which is a separation of the abdominals.1
The Routine: Abdominal Toning and Pelvic Floor Work
Your first step postpartum is to return back to your abdominal toning and pelvic floor work. That work can start a few weeks after you give birth. You want to make sure that you try to engage your core and pelvic floor muscles during your daily activities. Picking up, holding, and feeding your baby are perfect times to practice your Kegels and abdominal toning. Any time you bend down to lift something, I want you to squat and think: “Engage my transverse abs, my pelvic floor muscles, my glutes, and then stand up.” You must consciously think about activating your core and pelvic floor muscles, and you have to do the exercises postpartum to rebuild your strength.
The Routine: Cardio & Light Strength Training
Yoga, light strength training, and low-impact cardio, like walking, are all wonderful options to begin to incorporate once you are feeling healed and ready to begin working out.
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1 Diastasis recti: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Medlineplus.gov.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Perelel.