If you’re a mom, you can totally relate to what I mean when I say words such as “dis-connected”, “lost”, and “de-motivated” during the first few months postpartum. What you thought your body would look and feel like post pregnancy and the reality, are two different animals. I remember what it was like, like it was yesterday when I tried on a pair of pants about 5 weeks postpartum and I couldn’t get them over my thighs! Who knew you could get so big EVERYWHERE?? And lets be honest…walking around in lulu’s everyday may make you feel more comfortable, but it’s not going to make it “go away”.
Having said that, I am all about feeling good postpartum, so if wearing lulu’s does that, go for it. But! Don’t lose sight of what is really going on. There’s work to do and the longer you put it off, the harder it’s going to be to tackle.
Whether you gave birth vaginally or via c-section, there are a lot of changes that occur and (let’s get real) “damage done”. Even if you trained throughout your pregnancy, you’re not superwoman and you need to get back at it so as to not lose all that you have worked so hard for.
Pregnancy and delivery not only stretches you (in ways you couldn’t imagine) but shifts, pulls, pushes and can result in a loss of function, connection and stability all around. The strain of pregnancy on your physical and physiological systems might leave you feeling helpless initially but doesn’t have to be the end result.
Long labours and vaginal deliveries can leave you with incontinence, hip and pelvic disorders or worse, a prolapse. Cesarean sections require the muscles, tendons and nerve endings to be cut so trying to “connect” and re-train those muscles feels next to impossible.
The sooner you get on top of it, the better. Muscle has memory – this is true. If you trained during your pregnancy, these muscles will recruit and activate a lot quicker and efficiently than if you hadn’t. But don’t let this discourage you. If you you sailed through your pregnancy on the promise of good genes but now feel the result of your hard work, later is certainly better than never.
If you had a vaginal delivery, there is no “rule” that says you can’t start moving around within a few weeks if you feel good. Now I don’t mean sign up for the nearest bootcamp or go to the gym and start pushing your 1 rep max but starting some low-impact cardio and strength training will get the blood moving to the working muscles and the healing and “connecting” will begin.
If you have had a c-section like me, it’s best that you get up and walk around as soon as you are able but wait for a structured strength training routine until you have received the green light from your doctor.
In the end, like anything else, the sooner you send those messages to your muscles, the sooner that neurological system will wake up, recruit and start to heal. And of course, you can’t forget that core! If you’ve learned anything from me at all you know that your core is your first line of defence.