Every week I get calls from new moms who want to know the best way to resume postpartum exercise, but don’t want to do something that might cause damage. First, kudos for realizing that your body is not the same and therefore needs to be trained differently.
NOTE: please read to the bottom for what you CAN do!! We’ve got you mama 💜
You grew a baby inside you – congratulations by the way!
- You watched your belly grow to proportions beyond what you thought was possible.
- Your hips/pelvis may still ache from the pregnancy and delivery
- You are likely sleep-deprived and exhausted
- You might still have Diastasis Recti (separation of the abdominal wall)
- Your back is sore from all the carrying and bending over nursing
- You still leak urine when you sneeze or cough
- Things probably don’t feel quite normal – anywhere…
It took 9 months to grow this baby, so it is going to take a lot more than 6 weeks for your body to return to (the new) ‘normal’. So, be kind to your body and listen to it. Don’t get sucked into doing something that is wrong for you just because someone else is doing it.
Here are 5 classes and/or exercises I would caution you against at least the first several months, and until you have been cleared by a Pelvic Physiotherapist:
- Boot Camp – and that includes “Mom & Baby Bootcamp” and “Mommy Bootcamp”. The name might imply that these are created with your new postpartum body in mind, but they usually aren’t. Instead, they play into your desire to “get your body back”, and often are quite unsafe for a new mom. If you really want to go make sure to vet the person who runs the boot camp and ask about modifications and what the focus of the boot camp is.
- High-Impact exercises – like jumping, skipping or any activity that has both your feet leaving the floor/ground at the same time. Your body is still healing. Your pelvic floor is likely not strong enough to take the impact yet, your joints are likely a bit unstable due to the hormone relaxin may still be in your system especially if you are nursing. The risk of injury is too high. I recommend waiting at least 6 months before resuming these kinds of activities
- Running or jogging – same reason as #2. Get cleared by a Pelvic Physiotherapist first. My recommendation is to wait at least 6 months. Take this time to rest, recover and restore and slowly strengthen your body.
- Crunches – there are so many reasons – it’s hard on your back, it can contribute to pelvic organ prolapse and most importantly – it won’t do what you want it to do – flatten your stomach.
- Planks – just for now. Again, your core likely isn’t strong enough to do this yet. It’s a great exercise, but only if you can recruit the correct muscles in an efficient way. And only after you have enough strength to maintain “set core” so your stomach doesn’t drop in the front. And I am not talking about belly button to spine.
Every mom is different as every body is different. You know yourself best. But I get too many calls from moms who went back to high-intensity exercise too soon and wished they hadn’t because now they have injured themselves because their bodies just weren’t strong enough and ready. So, get assessed by a qualified professional, someone specifically trained to deal with Diastasis Recti and pelvic floor issues as well as, or at the very least a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist.
As promised check out these posts for good and safe postpartum exercise options:
And if you are still wondering about something not mentioned here – call me : ) I am always happy to answer your exercise questions. Or comment below.