Welcome to Part 1 of ‘The Safe Return to Exercise Series’ which is all about understanding your post-natal body.
Before we even discuss exercise, it is important for you to understand some of the changes that may have occurred to your body during pregnancy and birth. How these changes can not only impact your return to exercise but also how you function and feel on a day to day basis.
Even if you don’t plan to start an exercise programme or return to your pre pregnancy activities you need to know that being a mum is a PHYSICALLY DEMANDING job! So that said, everyone should read this series so that they can fully understand their post-natal body and take the necessary steps to help their body heal and function just as it was designed to do.
You can’t build a house on Poor Foundations
Well you can, but it won’t stay standing for long! The same principle applies to your body. If your foundations (i.e. your core and pelvic floor are weak), then carrying out the activities that come as part of being a mum (lifting, twisting, pushing, pulling) or commencing an exercise programme is only going to lead to many more problems months or years down the line.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR BIRTH STORY
It is important that you understand your birth story. For some, it is very straight forward, for some it can be difficult with many complications along the way. It is important that you understand exactly what happened during the birth. This will not only help you emotionally if you feel angry or upset because things didn’t go the way you planned, but it will also help you understand the physical changes that may have occurred to your body too.
RESETTING YOUR EXPECATIONS
There’s no easy way to say it but ‘your body has changed’! It is impossible to grow and birth a baby and expect it just to be the same. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be fitter and stronger than you were before.
The most important thing you can do is ‘Reset Your Expectations’. Be realistic and give yourself some TLC instead of giving yourself a hard time.
You may not be able to jump straight back into what you were doing before OR you may have already tried and failed miserably. That DOES NOT mean that you can’t do it, it just means you need some help to get there.
STOP comparing yourself to others! We are all individuals, we are unique, our bodies are very different, our pregnancy and birth stories are very different. This means our post-natal recovery will be very different to others.
STOP criticising your body for how it may look or how it feel just now! Respect it for the most amazing job it has just done of bringing new life into the world.
RESPECT your body by giving it what it needs and allowing it the time to heal.
KNOW that you can get back to doing what you love, it will just take a little time.
ENJOY the precious early days, weeks and months with your baby, it really does go quickly!
HOW HAS YOUR BODY CHANGED?
There are many things we feel be it physically or emotionally that we put down to being ‘part of having a baby. We therefore assume that there is nothing we can do about them!
This really is not the case and the main reason why I am writing this series of blogs! My aim is to educate you and provide you with the information you need to understand your new body and what you can do to help it
In this series I am going to go into detail about some of the physical changes that may occur. These physical changes can impact on us emotionally too!
The three main topics I will discuss in more detail are:
- Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation)
- Pelvic Floor Weakness
I will be going into much more detail on all of the above points in the coming series. I just want to finish on a positive note by saying you CAN return to exercise, it just has to be the right TYPE at the right TIME. This means taking a part in a specialist post-natal programme that addresses all these issues, helping your body to heal from the inside out and only progressing exercises as and when your body is ready.
Other blogs in this series:
Part 1 – Understanding your postnatal body
Part 2 – The postnatal healing process
Part 3 – Why the 6 week check is not enough
Part 4 – Postnatal Posture
Part 5 – Understanding Diastasis Recti
Part 6 – Your Pelvic Floor
Part 7 – Postnatal Exercise Do’s and Don’ts