Pilates workshop with child

My top advice for your Postpartum recovery .

I get asked all the time…

What can I do? and when can I do it?

Mostly with ladies asking quite too soon when they can begin exercising, and then the question of “what can I do to get myself my body back?”

After you have your baby and especially after your first baby, for some people it can be a huge shock to say the least, there can be a misconception that as soon as you have your baby your body will go back to the way it was previous to pregnancy.

Towards the end of your pregnancy it can become quite challenging for you, you can feel more tired, your heavier , swollen feet and ankles, you can start to get out of breath easier and you may just be down right uncomfortable and get to the stage of….

“GET THIS BABY OUT NOW PLEASE!!”

So therefore, your mindset can be I cannot wait till my baby is here and I can start to feel normal again, or like my old self. So when that does not happen instantly it can be a shock to a new mom ,who now also has a new little human to care for on top of it all and yes it can be frustrating,  and remember it is totally normal to feel like that. But if you take one thing from this post take this… the slower you take your postpartum recovery the faster you will recover!!!

Trust me, moving too quickly and too intensely can lead to an array of issues, it is so important that you take your time and allow your body to heal, to restore itself and to recover.  Think even about your uterus it needs to shrink back into place for one! Your ribs need to return to their normal positioning and that is just two things, every single bodily system ,from your respiratory to your skeletal system has changed and adapted and they will take time to return to what is their normal. Muscles that have become weak need to be woke up again and strengthened , and mobility may need to be regained once more… but they are minor to what is going on inside your body!

So, first and foremost you need this time to rest, recover, refuel and to bond with your baby.

Sleep when you can, eat good nutritious foods, hydrate and move mindfully and often, but with the intention of just moving the body rather than a punishment of I need to move to sweat and exercise!

So, back to the main question.. what can I do and what’s my top tips ?

A list of things that you can do that will be invaluable to you that you can start from the minute little baby arrives is….

  1. Breathing , check in with your breath, as it will have changed during the pregnancy and try to establish good breathing techniques again , this will help with overall health but more important it will allow your pelvic floor to be able to work as it does in sync with your diaphragm and allow that pelvic floor to be functional and to repair itself. Breathing good breaths into the lower lobes of the lungs and also exhaling good full breaths also. Avoid shallow breathing to your upper chest.
  2. Pelvic floor contractions, so just mindfully finding these again, focusing on them and then start with some slow contractions with your breath, relaxing the pelvic floor on the inbreath and contracting on the outbreath. Try to do maybe 6 slow reps to start and work up to 10 every hour or two or set it to something you will be doing often, so on a feed perhaps. starting to  do your PF work in a seated or lying down position and then progressing to a standing and a more functional move. You can then also add in some quick contractions pulsing and letting go to make it more challenging. Again start with 6 or what you can do correctly and working up to 10 reps.
Remember less if more, take your time to focus on your breathing , resting, refueling and being kind to yourself this is not only the foundations to getting back to your old self  but its the foundations to getting to a NEW BETTER SELF !!! 
 
As a side note , its recommended to wait 6 weeks post vaginal delivery before commencing a new pilates programs and between 10-12 post c section delivery. But really the most important thing is to start to nourish your body not punish it, and to get to know it again, listen to it and take advice from someone who is qualified in the area before commencing your new journey into more activity. 
 

Margaret

Margaret founder of mamalivewell is a registered and practicing Physical Therapist with a degree in applied health science. Advanced Pre and Post Pregnancy wellness practitioner and STOTT Pilates coach .

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Pilates workshop with child

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