Are you ready for exercise post-baby?
Whilst the advice is to wait until your 6-week postnatal check up with your GP before you start to exercise again, often this short meeting doesn't give you all the information you need to know whether you are ready to get back into exercise.
GPs can be rushed and don't always have time to cover your health and wellbeing as well as your baby's. Of all mums who've been on our retreats and events since we launched in 2015, only ONE has ever had her ab separation checked by their doctor. We've found that most mums don't even know that it (diastasis recti) can be a problem. So, our top tips are:
Make sure you ask the doctor to check you (not just your baby) out physically at your 6-week check-up: your episiotomy stitches, you caesarian scar, and your ab separation, any pain in your pelvis and joints. If they're not sure, it's worth asking seeing a physiotherapist, ideally one specialising in Women's Health. You can ask for a referral or pay privately. Your fitness professional will also be able to check your ab separation.
Listen to your body, don't feel pressured to get back to the gym if you are not comfortable walking, let alone with bigger movements! You have a lot of relaxin (the hormone that helps your ligaments relax to help accommodate and birth a baby) in your body still after you've given birth and if you're breastfeeding it can take a few months after you stop for it to disappear completely. This means you're more stretchy than usual and that it's far easier to overwork or injure yourself.
Your pelvic bones can take a little while to come back together (a Closing the Bones massage can really help with this) and your pelvic floor is stretched from the weight of your baby. This can mean it feels like your vagina is about to fall out when you're doing exercise! If that's the case, take a few more weeks' recovery time and make an appointment to see a physio or your GP if you're still worried.
4) Take it slow
Once you are ready to build up to exercise again, go by the mantra Little and Often. Giving birth is the biggest workout of your life, so it will take time to adjust to "normal". Keeping active little and often will help build back up your fitness and strength without causing injury and making sure you follow a postnatal and abdominal rehab exercise series will build great foundations for your fitness as a mum.