Are you a new mum or not so new mum and are thinking about returning to exercising?
After working with postnatal ladies for the last 2.5 years, I know there isn't much advice given in prenatal classes about the best and safest way to work out after pregnacy. Often even the GPs don't say too much or don't even check the mums to be able to give appropriate advice on when it is good to go back or start exercising.
That's why it's important to find a trainer who is postnatal trained and will prescribe the right kind of workouts for you.
A few facts to keep in mind:
- always give yourself 6-8 weeks after birth to just get used to the new situation and also to allow wound healing and just general recovery. Child birth (no matter what kind) is a massive thing and your body deserves some rest!!
- the first year after baby should really not be about losing weight. While I know that's easier said than done, try not to focus on it
- when you start a workout program, find a trainer who knows about tummy separation (diastasis recti) and will check you for it
- an exercise regime that includes running, star jumps, planks, and crunches is NOT suitable for a new mum or any person with a weak core or pelvic floor issues
- a postnatal exercise class is also a good place to meet other new mums
Is it good to find advice on YouTube/Instagram?
These days it's so easy to find "professional" advice online, but you have to be very careful with that. I've seen so many posts titled "Get rid of your mummy tummy" and they include crunches, planks, and high impact exercises. But the truth is, those exercises make your belly worse, not better. The problem with those exercises is that your core isn't strong enough to withstand the pressure they create which can lead to hernias, they can make your mummy tummy actually worse, or you could even experience an organ prolapse or incontinence. None of those things you want. But the good news is, with the right kind of advice and a specially trained postnatal trainer, you can return to full functionality.
To get better results, it's also advised to change some lifestyle habits like a few nutritional changes (not dieting!), regularly taking time for yourself, as well as establishing a good bedtime routine.
What about fitness trends like trampolining or working out with my baby in a sling?
I know it’s hard when even very famous fitness gurus start giving postnatal advice to to discern who is actually giving good advice. In general, you need to know your soft tissue in your pelvic floor needs at least 3-6 months (sometimes longer) to recover before it’s capable of actually supporting you fully again. Which means in this time you should avoid all exercise that puts a lot of force through your core (e.g. trampolining). Although their marketing might tell you it’s gentle and low impact, it is NOT!! They cannot eliminate the laws of gravity.
Classes that encourage you to carry your baby around while exercising really worry me as well. You know why? While you are pregnant, your body posture changes so much, a lot of your muscles stretch and others have to compensate to hold your new bodyshape in place. Once you have your baby, your body won’t just pop back into pre-pregnancy shape. And it shouldn’t!!!! But you need a type of exercise that allows you to strengthen in a healthy way again. Muscles work best if your body is aligned well. While holding a baby, you are most likely NOT in a well-aligned posture. Therefore, attending a class while wearing your baby won’t let you train your body into a more healthy posture. A posture that then will allow you to do your mother jobs pain free.
So find a trainer that offers a class with childcare or where you can bring your baby along. Classes like Buggyfit are great. You don’t have to worry about childcare and also you won’t have to carry your It‘s also very important that the trainer will screen you before you start your class, to avoid making your core worse.
If you would also like a more thorough check up, you can find a Women's Health Physio, who is also trained as a Mummy MOT practitioner. They can perform an internal exam and let you know how your pelvic floor is engaging and how it connects with your other core muscles.
If you cannot get rid of your mummy tummy or have low back pain since you had your baby or you feel like your pelvic floor is letting you down, get in touch now. I would love to help you.