I’m almost 8 months postpartum and this time around, I have to say that I have taken it slow and have listened to my body (and pelvic floor physiotherapist). I do NOT have a six-pack and don’t follow some trendy diet. I also don’t work out 5 times a week, but I do get moving every day … and often times, it’s simply pushing the stroller down the street to grab a coffee.
Unfortunately, I know there seems to be a lot of pressure to “fit back into your skinny jeans again”. It’s all too easy to beat yourself up to lose that “baby weight”, so today I took the time to sit down and really think about ten things that I believe are so important to remember when it comes to postpartum fitness (that go beyond fitting into your pre-baby wardrobe).
1. LORDY, LORDY, IT TOOK YOU 40 …
Mama, it took you 40 weeks to bake that bun in the oven, so don’t rush it.Enjoy and soak up every newborn moment because you’ll blink and your little babe will be one! No but really … take it slow.
2. YOU’RE ONE IN A MILLION, MAMA!
Postpartum recovery is different for every mother. Just because your bestie is already back in the gym, it doesn’t mean you should be. Plus, there are other things to consider like postpartum depression, diastasis recti or a C-section. And even without any complications, you should still take it slow and be more mindful about the moves you are doing.
3. BE PROACTIVE ABOUT YOUR PELVIC HEALTH.
At the 6-week mark when you get the green light from your healthcare provider, this is when you should be booking an appointment with your pelvic floor physiotherapist.
4. SAY HELLO TO NEW ACHES AND PAINS!
Yup, you can thank that good ol’ hormone, relaxin. It has been said that relaxin stays in your body even after your bundle of joy is born. Also, a lot of mothers will experience wrist pain from rocking their baby and this can set you back from exercise for a long time. I went for acupuncture and chiro for months because my ‘mother’s wrist’ was so bad I could barely hold a pen to write my name. FYI: I also couldn’t open a bottle of wine.
5. YOU WIN, HORMONES.
After having a baby, our hormones are all over the place. I was so emotional (and still am). Postpartum depression or even general postpartum mood swings can also impact our interest in exercise. It’s always important to speak to someone if you experience any signs or symptoms of PPD.
6. ZZZ’S PLEASE.
There’s no surprise here. Sleep deprivation is no joke. Exercise does help improve your energy levels, but when you are so exhausted you also don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way either. Dropping a weight on your foot is not cool. Bottom line, listen to your body and know when it’s time to push yourself to sweat and when it’s time to put yourself to sleep!
7. GO TEAM MOMMY!
It seriously takes a village. Gone are the days when you could just go for a workout whenever you please. With a new baby to think about, you either have to hire a sitter, rely on friends or family for help or include your little munchkin in the fun. I have always loved including my girls in my workouts. It may not be as intense as my gym sessions, but I still manage to sweat. #MomWin
8. GOT MILK?
For all you breastfeeding mamas, it’s important to keep in mind that highly strenuous and intense workouts can sometimes impact your milk supply. Make sure you are drinking lots of water and eating enough to keep your breast milk 100!
9. WHAT ARE MOMMY-FRIENDLY EXERCISES?
I mentioned the importance of seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist because these experts can help you ease back into the activities that you love. Let’s just say 100 crunches a night or jumping rope every morning wouldn’t be your initial postpartum fitness routine. Also, moms will often say it’s normal to “dribble” during a workout. In fact, this is a symptom of pelvic floor dysfunction and means you should be seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist. For real - don’t skip this step.
10. BE KIND TO YOUR BEAUTIFUL, NEW MOM BOD!
Please (please) be gentle and kind to yourself as you work your way to achieving your post-baby fitness goals. Postpartum exercise is an important part of self-care, but this is not a race and progress happens over time and not overnight!