No Pain, All Gain - FitMama

No Pain, All Gain

No Pain, All Gain

I talk to tons of FitMamas everyday and the one thing I find to be the most popular among the new mom crowd is the desire to “get back their body” really, really fast.

This concept needs some serious rethinking in my opinion.

Your body is fully intact, and unbelievably miraculous for going through and doing the things that it’s done, yes? What you want to think about instead is “How can I restore this system that is my body to a more optimal place?”

Today I am going to explain a bit more about what rehab is and why we need to do it.

Why do we need to rehab? First of all because you just had a baby. Imagine the size of your babies head. That came out of your vagina, through your pelvic floor, which is a muscle group of the deep inner core. Damage was done. Even if you had a c-section, you are not exempt from pelvic floor dysfunction and issues that can lie within the deep inner core

Issues like incontinence. Back pain. Prolapse. Painful sex.

It is one of the most common issues that postpartum women have with the deep inner core though and it can be helped. Incontinence is any time you pee that you don’t want to, whether it be laughing, sneezing, jumping, running, it doesn’t matter. There are also different types of incontinence which we won’t go into, but the key thing is that you don’t want it.

Back pain is another major symptom of pregnancy and postpartum. It is most times a symptom of a weak or dysfunctional deep inner core.

Prolapse is a situation where one of your organs actually falls through your pelvic floor. It’s very uncomfortable, sometimes painful and can feel like a little bit or a lot of a heaviness down there. It’s really common, especially in women who return to vigorous exercise too soon after having a baby, and don’t have the right muscle tone, or connection from the brain to the core to appropriately help in that situation.

My biggest recommendation when you are postpartum and you feel the need to sneeze or cough, sit down. That chair will help you in actually supporting your pelvic floor.

Statistics say that these are the top three most common side effects of the postpartum period.  They need to be focused upon though so that they don’t stay for the duration of your life. Even if you don’t have these symptoms right now, they can creep up on your later in life too.

The rehabbing process is super vital.

When it comes to rehab, there are three things for you to consider so that you can create the most effective rehab routine for you.

  1. Retrain – How am I going to retrain the muscles of the deep inner core to work properly? The fact is that our brain connection to our deep inner core changes it’s functional patterns when we are pregnant. During this time there is tons of pressure inside, the baby needs more and more space as it grows. The way that your pelvic floor usually anticipates movement doesn’t work in the same fashion when pregnant. Postpartum those systems continue to work like it has a baby inside because it’s been doing that for the past 10 months. This is why we need to retrain this system and it’s connections so that it returns to working properly.

    A test you can do is put your hand on your lower belly and cough while you’re sitting down. Is your lower belly going in or going out when you cough? A properly functioning core moves in when you cough. This will allow you to know if you muscles have been retrained.

  2. Reframe – While retraining, we have to reframe our mindset. What does it mean to workout? What does it mean to do ab workouts? We have to have a clear understanding of these terms that are in really common use, but we really don’t fully understand what they mean for the most part. People often ask me after they have a baby, “When am I going to get back to my ab workouts?” What do you mean exactly by that? What are your goals? If it’s to have a flatter belly, fit into your clothes, have better sex then “ab workouts” might not be the best route to those goals. So reframe your mindset, your idea of what it means to workout in general, and what it means to workout at this time. This journey that you are taking as a new mom is amazing and beautiful and when you can start to reframe what your expectations are in a way that empowers you, you will be feeling great. I currently have an injury in my back and it causes me a lot of pain and it’s changed how I do things. I really had to go through an intense reframing process of what it means to workout, what does it mean for me to move my body or exercise? This is an evolving question. What does it mean for you? With my back injury I could still go to the gym, do my breathing, rehab and walk everyday, but I wasn’t doing all the things that I used to love doing like bootcamps and marathons because that’s wasn’t where I was at. When you get into this reframing, it really allows you to change the perspective with which you approach things.
  3. Regain – Regain that strength. When you have a baby inside you, even if you workout the whole time, there are things that change. Your body goes through a process. You had a labour and delivery that got that baby out, so now it’s time to regain strength in the areas that are most important to you at this time. It’s all about phases, and we don’t suggest the same things for all the postpartum phases. You are not going to be doing the same things at 6 weeks postpartum as you would be at 1 year postpartum or 5 years, or 25 years. It’s about realizing that there are times and places and when you can regain strength by reframing and retraining, it starts to get to this place of true rehabilitation.

When we think about our core, the part that had all of this stuff happen to it during pregnancy, as the foundation of our house, maybe going back to bootcamp or stroller fit right after having a baby might not be the right time. They are not really ideal to do immediately postpartum. This is a really key time for rehabilitation. Retraining, reframing and regaining are the three vital aspects of the rehab process.

Remember, no pain ALL GAIN. None of things that you are doing for rehab should cause you pain, or bleeding, or any side effects whatsoever other than feeling good, more empowered, fantastic.

Let us know how we can help you on your FitMama journey!

See you online!


Love Jen

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