Postpartum Exercise -Safely Strengthening Your Core
Recently had a baby? At FitMama, we’re committed to helping new moms hit their fitness goals and get back in shape. Here, we’ll cover everything from the right time to start and the right moves to make, to postpartum Dos and Don’ts – everything you need to counteract common fitness struggles post pregnancy.
The first 8 weeks are vital for healing. You want to ensure the best recovery for your deep inner core, which involves taking adequate rest after delivering your baby. Regardless of whether you had a vaginal birth or a c-section, it’s important to take rest postpartum.
Depending on whether you had surgery, tears, stitches and more, you will know what is best for your body and good for you. The key is to listen to your body. Every person is different, so just because someone else is doing something doesn’t mean you should.
It’s a personal choice, but by taking extra care in the first 8 weeks pp, you can avoid a lifetime of consequences such as incontinence, prolapse, back pain and more. These affect long-term quality of life more than you can know when you are in the tired daze of being a new mom.
Enjoy sleep, rest and relaxation for the first 2-3 months, along with core rehab. Know you are doing the absolute best for the present and future of your core – the true foundation of your entire body!
DR can be felt as no tension along the midline of the abs, as it is a thinning of the connective tissue called the linea alba. This thinning was a very important part of you being able to carry a growing human in your abdomen and must be taken very seriously. It has a doming appearance and you can literally feel a gap with your fingers between the rectus abdominis (the “6-pack” muscles we usually refer to as abs).
Engaging in core breath multiple times a day, with particular focus on the Transversusabdominis (TVA) closing together, makes an impact towards bringing the rectus abdominis back together.
Exercise should have no adverse effect on breast feeding unless you are doing it to extremes and not compensating through eating adequately. If you are dieting, restricting food, or limiting yourself, and then over-exercising, you’re setting yourself up for problems. Info on breastfeeding and nutrition .
The best way to lose weight postpartum is a combination of healthy eating (as per my nutrition blog post) and consistent, regular exercise.
For the first 2-3 months postpartum, core rehab is the focus and once you are past the first 2 weeks, it’s important to start walking. Start out by going for short walks and then increase your effort as you begin to feel stronger.
Exercise has many added benefits for your mental health as well. It’s important that you get outside the house, get some fresh air, meet up with friends and take your baby out and about once you are ready for it.
Walking, core breathing and core rehab, breastfeeding if you can and getting as much sleep as possible are the key to pp weight loss. Taking naps and allowing your body to recover from not only pregnancy and birth but also from the constant waking up at night and the many demands of being a new mom.
Be sure to listen to your body and know that this is just a phase of your life. If you respect that and give your body and mind the time to recover, you will thank yourself for it later!
Your Keep-for-Reference Timeline:
Once you are postpartum, you are always postpartum. It’s never too late to begin core rehab. If you are currently doing cross fit, boot camps, fitness classes or other, I urge you to take a step back, go through a concentrated rehab program like the “FitMama Strengthen Your Roots Program”, and then begin to increase slowly to get your body used to it again.
I recommend that you don’t start running until well after a year, unless you have done a good core rehab program and have gotten the ok from your pelvic health physiotherapist.