How To Get Back To Your Workout Routine After Giving Birth 

A woman’s body goes through a wide range of physical changes throughout pregnancy. Though the miracle of life is reason enough to celebrate and embrace these changes, some women hope to return to their original physique as quickly as possible. Once the baby is born and the mother recovers from childbirth, many moms contemplate getting back into a fitness routine. Here are some tips for mothers who want to establish a workout routine after giving birth.

How to Get Back to Your Workout Routine After Giving Birth
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that we only work with companies and individuals that we trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

What To Consider 

On average, women gain about 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. Even if you are still taking yoga or exercise classes during pregnancy, you’re still likely to experience the common symptoms of being pregnant, including weight gain, abdominal extension, breast enlargement and warped posture. Regardless of how fit you might have felt before pregnancy, most moms experience atrophied muscles, poor posture, aches and general fatigue long after the baby is born. 

Generally, it takes 40 weeks to form the pregnant body and grow a baby. Because of the complex transformations you experience during pregnancy, it is unrealistic to expect your body to bounce back quickly. Depending on different factors — such as age, labor and lifestyle — it could take another 40 weeks (or longer) to return to your prenatal physique. Here are a few tips to consider if you choose to implement a workout routine after giving birth. 

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Starting a Post-Pregnancy Fitness Plan 

For most women who undergo an uncomplicated delivery, it’s usually okay to resume regular physical activity a few days after giving birth. Regular exercise after pregnancy can help strengthen the soft abdominals and boost energy levels while relieving stress, promoting sleep and reducing the risk of postpartum depression. If you’re ready to focus on physical health, consider these tips. 

Start slow and steady.

Even if you went to the gym six days a week before giving birth, exerting too much force on your post-labor body can present complications. If the labor involved a C-section, it would be wise to wait until the first post-operative check to make sure the skin has closed completely. Starting slow usually involves a walking routine to make sure nothing bleeds, pulls or hurts. The priority should be a safe recovery for your uterus

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Establish a feeding routine first. 

Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle feed, your milk supply and feeding cycle could contribute to some of your “baby weight.” Though some of the pounds might be lost as fluids are released during the first few days after labor, the rest of the weight is typically lost over time. If weight loss is your goal, remember that if you do breastfeed, you will likely need at least 500 more calories per day than before the birth. 

Evaluate the muscle groups. 

It will certainly be nice to reunite with your favorite gym, but don’t expect your muscles and joints to work the same way as before. Your pelvic floor might be weak and unable to take any intra-abdominal pressure. Additionally, the rectus abdominals may have separated in order to carry the baby. Consult a doctor or physical therapist to help draw the abdominals back together and strengthen your muscles. 

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Experiment with exercise. 

Exercises that may have worked before pregnancy may not work post-partum. There are many forms of physical activity that are gentle and ideal for a new mother’s body. Try various exercises that won’t strain any sensitive areas or risk infections on healing wounds. Brisk walking, swimming, light weightlifting and yoga are great to start incorporating into your workout routine after giving birth.

Don’t neglect nutrition.

As your body readjusts without the baby, make sure it’s still getting the food and vitamins that it needs. Losing weight is often a challenge with or without pregnancy, so be conscious of the transformations that can happen. Hydration is also a key component of health, especially if you are breastfeeding. Hormones may also be changing, which can influence your appetite and metabolism.

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Having a baby is no easy task, especially if you’re a new mother. Don’t give up or feel discouraged if the weight sticks around longer than expected. Seek support from your partner and loved ones if exercise is a priority for you. The most important thing to remember is that rest is crucial. Even a few moments of rest post-workout might help with relaxation and muscle restoration. Exercise may not be easy, but it can provide benefits for you and your newborn.


Author Bio

Dan Borucki is an ISSA Personal Trainer at Apogee Fitness, a group fitness facility. He has more than 20 years of experience in the industry and holds various certifications in fitness and nutrition. 

 

How to Improve Your Pelvic Health During Pregnancy

Bladder control, sexual dysfunction, pelvic and lower back pain are common symptoms of pelvic health issues.  But pelvic health shouldn’t be something we think of only when there’s a problem.   Being proactive about pelvic health can help to avoid many long term problems. For expectant mothers, working on improving pelvic health during pregnancy can not only help during labor and delivery, but also in the postpartum period. 

Find out more about the Train4Birth program from Dr. Monika Patel DPT, CSCS and how you can improve your pelvic health during pregnancy.

How to Improve Your Pelvic Health During Pregnancy
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.
How to Improve Your Pelvic Health During Pregnancy

When my employers first asked me to specialize in pelvic health, well, I wasn’t so sure.  At the time, I’d just finished my year-long orthopedic fellowship through the Institute of Advanced Musculoskeletal Treatments (IAMT) with some of the top manual therapists in the country.

All these thoughts and reservations went through my head- I didn’t want to specialize “too soon.” I’d just finished with 4 years of intensive learning and I wanted a “break.” I didn’t want the “emotional strain” I’d heard about when working in this field. I didn’t know exactly what it would involve. And, I was really super-super shy about anything remotely reproductive related and didn’t think I had the courage to talk to people about it.

So, I politely declined for 2 years and continued on with my mostly orthopedic caseload.

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Until, I felt a pull.

Do you ever have those moments where something just keeps re-occurring in your life until, finally, you listen?  

It was like that with pelvic health in my career. I decided to listen to what my employers had to say about how my skills might match the field they patiently had in store for me. There are so many times that we have to make decisions for ourselves or our families that we aren’t always sure of, that it felt almost nice to have a professional track with mentorship and guidance presented promisingly.

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So, I decided to shadow a pelvic health therapist and was really amazed at all she knew and what she could help people with that literally no other healthcare provider could. Even midwives and OBGYNs don’t necessarily know the pelvic floor musculature by name or how movement or pregnancy truly affects the pelvis.

The therapist I shadowed did an internal mobilization of a soccer player’s coccyx that had gotten dislocated with a harsh fall. That teenager was unable to walk in the clinic herself without a wheelchair, never mind play her favorite sport, and was able to walk out of the clinic, independently, and pain-free following the 2 minute mobilization.

I was hooked.

As soon as my year long-training commenced, I was able to help people who’d had incontinence for 20+ years.  I helped people who had stopped going out to have dinner with friends for fear they’d laugh too hard and leak regain confidence, control, and strength and actually join a supper club.

I was able to help men who’d been catheterized after prostate cancer regain their ability to pee again independently (which is linked to pride).

I was able to help a mother who had sustained a grade 3 tear during delivery of her baby heal postpartum without a trace.

And, just as my employers predicted, I loved it.

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It felt refreshing, rather than daunting, to talk about the things less talked about and topics often ignored for far too long in the medical world.  So, I decided to delve into another yearlong program in pelvic health. The pelvis really is such a keystone to the entire body’s musculoskeletal system that it started to seem negligent to ignore approaching any and all patients with this knowledge.

Sure enough, not only did the people I could serve expand, but the rate at which I was able to get anyone with, for example, low back pain better greatly improved. The body is so interlinked and if you, our your healthcare team, ignore the pelvis, that’s like running a race without ever tying your shoes.

What Does a Pelvic Health Physical Therapist Do?

You might wonder what else a pelvic health physical therapist knows or could help you with. Here’s a quick glimpse:

    • How to help prevent, identify, and treat the three (really four) main kinds of incontinence: stress, urge, frequency and/or a mixture of any of the above.
    • How to help protect and activate the 4 muscles that make up the deep core so that they all work together with good and almost subconscious coordination to avoid.
    • How to palpate all the ligaments and the 35 muscles that attach to the sacrum.
    • How to palpate and check function of all 3 layers of the pelvic floor.
    • How to assess the pelvic floor for internal trigger points.
    • How to teach people good bowel, bladder, and sexual function habits.
    • How to care for the pudendal nerve, the nerve that extends out from the sacrum and is in charge of innervating bowel and bladder structures.
    • How to make pregnancy, both pre and post partum, a much less fear-based experience.

Gosh, and so much more.

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When it comes to postpartum care, countries like France literally subsidize what they call “perineal re-education”. (There’s a great essay by write Claire Lundberg called “The French Government Wants to Tone my Vagina”) because they know that even if women feel okay after birth, the inhibition of their pelvic health during pregnancy can cause (expensive and timely) issues down the road. So, it’s better for the overall healthcare system to preventatively invest in helping women heal properly postpartum than it is to wait until they are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s when gravity + pelvic floor sleepiness has already taken its toll and it’s much harder to fix.

I would take it a step further when it comes to preventative healthcare, and say that all women should have the opportunity for their body to be assessed for potential risk factors for ANY musculoskeletal condition from an early age…(but, that’s another blog topic).

Improving Pelvic Health During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a sweet spot in women’s’ healthcare journey. It’s a time where women are often extra motivated to create healthy lifestyle habits and change. It can also feel really empowering to care for yourself while pregnant.  All expectant mothers should work on improving their pelvic health during pregnancy.

This is exactly why Train4Birth, the deep core exercises + education+ accountability/support program was born. It’s essentially the equivalent of having a PT (virtually) by your side throughout your entire pregnancy for $188 dollars. That’s a tremendous value –when the average cost of incontinence in the US is approximately $900 per person annually.

Plus, when it comes to resource management:
1) It can be easier to afford pelvic health care before you take (usually un-paid) maternity leave.

2) The cost of Train4Birth, which includes the information usually covered in about four in-person PT sessions, which would be about $600, is 1/3 of that cost.

3) It’s VERY hard to find time for self-care with a newborn. With the ability you start Train4Birth starting at any stage of your pregnancy gives you a jump start.

4) Plus, if you are all “tuned up” and the healthiest version of yourself going into labor, you’re less likely to experience instrument assisted birth or complications you have to deal with down the road.

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There are a lot of premade pregnancy recovery programs out there, but, because all of our bodies are unique and what helps us truly recover will depend on a deep understanding of your individual movement history, your anatomy, and your specific connective tissue I’m a bit leery of any program that doesn’t also include a listening ear.

Regardless of how you decide to care for your body, mind, and soul, I just want to encourage all women that the pelvic floor and deep core is an essential part of our health. To care for your pelvic floor is to care for both your present day and future self.


Author Bio

Dr. Monika Patel is a mom + DPT + fitness pro + environmentalist + lover of all things peanut butter. I love making people’s Birth-Days extra special and have to reign in my tendency to dream about RV life. I love to hear people’s stories. I don’t love to cook. My car usually has crumbs on the bottom of the floor. And I hope to make even just a tiny dent in improving the world.  

Feel free to reach out with questions or thoughts at connect@train4birth.com