Nearly every mom I get to work with, wonders when they return to physical activity, and how to navigate the first few weeks of the 4th trimester.
Emotions have gone rouge, our bodies are recovering from the trauma of giving birth and again our body has transformed into something unfamiliar. I see it time and again, women eager to be up and moving and back into some form of routine, not only for the health benefits, but for their mental well being.
Mentally and physically, the first few weeks of the fourth trimester are often the most difficult for moms, as well as the most overlooked. As mothers, we are delighted, exhausted, stressed out and for those who lead an active, busy life – we can feel bored, lonely and even lazy.
Perhaps we just want to walk in the sun and get outdoors. Or maybe we are missing the excitement of our daily workouts. Many of us simply want to get started on the journey of gaining some control over our bodies after 10 months of having ZERO control.
But how, when and what do we do, in order to give our best chances at long term recovery and strength?
It’s very easy to want to overdo it in those first months after baby’s arrival, so here are my recommendations to help guide you and for you to share with your fellow mamas:
- During the first 10 days of your fourth trimester, do as little as possible – That’s right. Sleep, eat, snuggle and rest!! Let someone else clean, cook and care for you while you care for the new baby. Your recovery is just as important as getting baby used to being in their new world and it’s a great time to read, binge watch your favourite Netflix shows and recover. I can’t say that word enough – RECOVER. Pregnancy and delivery is traumatic to the body you not only need time to recover, but you deserve it. Give yourself that time to heal and build up energy for what’s coming in the next year of your life with your new baby
- After 10 days of rest, become GENTLY acquainted with your postpartum body – This is going to look different for everyone, because our pregnancies and deliveries are all unique. But there are plenty of beneficial movements that you can do early on to improve your chances of recovery and healing.
- You can walk – but don’t mistake this as an OK to go walking for hours or be on your feet all day. Walking and standing have an impact on your core and pelvic floor and must be gradually introduced like anything else.
- Practice your pelvic floor and core connection breathing. Not only is this a great way for you to relax, we need to ‘re-train’ our breath and pelvic floor to work in synergy to reduce risk of prolapse and incontinence. If you’re unsure how to do this, I’ve got all the instructions in my free playbook HERE. Being able to self assess your diastasis is also a useful tool and can also be learned using the video in the free playbook.
- Squatting, glute bridges, clamshells – slow and controlled squats to an elevated surface is a great way to begin incorporating your breathing into an everyday movement. Glute bridges and clamshells will help you strengthen the glutes and allow for pelvic floor activation using the breath you learned in the playbook. Keeping reps low (no more than 15-20) and using only your bodyweight to ensure you are not overdoing it.
- Proceed with intent, strategy and long term vision for your body – Many of us make the mistake of jumping back into physical activity with an “I did it before, so it’ll be OK” mindset after our 6 week postnatal check up. And why wouldn’t we? We get very little guidance or information on exactly what to do at this point, and if you are in an athletic, competitive or body image driven mindset, this can spell disaster in our recovery. It took 40 weeks to build this postnatal body, it deserves much more than 6 weeks to heal and it warrants the same detailed, week by week vision you gave to your body while nurturing your growing baby. Seek out the support and guidance of an educated postnatal coach, a pelvic health physio and other moms in your community that embrace and practice this mindset. “You cannot out train postpartum.”
Always remember mom, that there is no room for expectations when returning to physical activity after your baby is born. The balance between not doing anything and doing too much can be achieved if you enter the process with a relaxed, respectful and intentional mindset.
Because I want you to be empowered and confident in your return to exercise, I’ll be launching a beta test of my brand new 12 week program in January. As a VIP, you’ll have free advanced access to FOUR workouts directly from the program, which I’ve created to take the guess work out of exercise after baby.
To make sure you get your four FREE workouts delivered to your inbox, click HERE now and watch for updates in the coming weeks.
I got you mama,