Pregnancy may be the single most fascinating thing the human body can do. It is incredible the way it suffices its own needs by providing nourishment, protection, and healing. Although we are designed to do it, our bodies are still left in what can seem like a defeated state. The amount of stress and trauma on the body during a delivery can take a major toll afterward. Bearing children is what the female body is geared around entirely throughout development. Our bodies respond to metabolic processes somewhat different once we have had children because its purpose has been filled. So, where does that leave us with an exercise routine?
Our bodies also only use about itself what it thinks it needs. Our goal with in our exercise regiment is to remind our body that although we have already had a child, we still need strong hips, tight glutes, and we don’t need this extra baby cushion around our mid section and butt anymore. This is an example of ‘if you don’t use it you will lose it’. This is why resistance training is so effective. It places physiological stress on the body telling muscles and bones ‘I need this! I better remember this so I can handle it better next time” (conditioning).
You’re a mother now and your days may consist of breast feeding, pumping, changing diapers, and not sleeping. In addition to all of the post recovery your body is doing, there is not much in this routine that tells your body, it needs to be toned.
The best thing you can do to getting back to your pre pregnancy body weight, if able, is breastfeeding. The longer you breastfeed the higher chances you will get back to your pre baby weight. Six months is recommended but depending on your individual needs it would be best to discuss that with your Doctor.
Lets focus on the internal changes that your body just went through over the past year. We are likely looking at low back pain, lordosis of the spine, weak and separated hips, weak glutes, tight hamstrings, and a weak core. Most women will want to get back into their five mile runs they were doing before they had a baby. Unfortunately, our body’s function has changed dramatically over the last nine months. Although you may have the endurance, our structure or foundation to just go out and run is not there the way it was. If able working out through pregnancy is great for bouncing back quickly however, will still need to be cleared by your doctor. Either way, the good news is, it won’t take long to get back to safe runs if the proper steps are taken.
First, we want to bring the body back so that it is running on four well-constructed axils. Building with one bad axial will cause asyemmetries that only further get developed and patterned. Over time, these asyemmetries put our bodies at major risk for injuries, such as blowing a knee, or tearing a rotator cuff.
The key for this is patience. Go in knowing the beginning may feel slow but it will allow you to develop fast later. After pregnancy our body is still eliminating all of the internal fluids that were needed throughout pregnancy. The uterus is working hard to return to it’s pre pregnancy state which can feel very uncomfortable. In addition, our core muscles, tendons, ligaments, and organs have all been stretched out and need time to reconfigure and heal. It may not feel like it, but essentially your body needs to go through a little physical therapy to get its old stable self back. All of these changes demand a lot of energy, not to mention the little sleep and breastfeeding work you’re doing.
Managing fatigue is very important because emotional fatigue and physical fatigue are all fatigue. Getting rest and maintaining balance is important. As a result of all of these factors going on, stability and mobility exercises are ideal for post pregnancy. Once cleared to exercise by your DR, we will first want to correct all those things I mentioned above. We need to strengthen the hips, correct some of the hip tilt we might have, lengthen our hamstrings, strengthen the lower back, and whole trunk. Check out some of my Post Pregnancy work outs for a realistic workout plan that you can accomplish at home.