Expecting mothers often envision a rosier future than they ultimately get in reality. It’s only human nature to fantasize a more idealistic experience. When that comes to your postpartum lifestyle, it may be important to destroy that fantasy sooner rather than later. While you may have big fitness goals, you may find that these harsh realities will limit what you can accomplish.
A Separated Core Will Limit What You Can Do
A 2015 study examined the physical condition of postpartum women and found that their core was either altered or completely separated. The condition is called diastasis recti and it involves the separation of the right and left abdominal muscles. While the condition may mend itself, the study found that nearly 39% of women still had some degree of separation six months after the pregnancy. The core feels vacant to many women and remains stretched, which intensifies a feeling of loss.
Every Recovery is Different
Women recover from pregnancy at different rates, so there’s no hard rule for determining how quickly you’ll be able to return to your normal fitness routine. Studies have found that recovery time is largely determined by the woman’s physical condition. Those who are physically fit and regularly exercise will likely recover faster than those who live more sedentary lifestyles. In general, however, you shouldn’t expect to be fully recovered until you have reached your sixth week postpartum.
Kegel Exercises to To Heal Faster
Ideally, you can do kegel exercises right after giving birth as it helps your episiotomy heal faster. However, if you feel so much unbearable pain down there, listen to your body and pause the kegels for now until you feel better down there.
Getting pregnant and giving birth will make you loose down there. Some women who have given birth even say that sex is NOT the same right after the baby. Kegel exercises helps reverse the damage brought by pregnancy and helps strengthen your pelvic muscles to help avoid urinary and fecal incontinence.
For faster results, you can use kegel weights as soon as your doctor gives you the go signal that it’s now safe to use one. Kegel weigts that act as dumbbells for your vagina and help you recover and get tighter faster. You can get a high quality one from V-Kegel (www.vkegel.com)
Pain and Aches May Be Common
For the delivery, many women are administered a drug called relaxin, which is a hormone for loosening the joints. Unfortunately, relaxin stays in the system far longer than it’s needed with some estimating that it can last in the body for up to a year. This means your joints will remain loose through that time, causing pain and aches you haven’t previously experienced. The instability of this situation will also open you up to more injuries, which is why postpartum women are urged to take things slow.
Emotional Health Affects Fitness
Nearly 1 out if every 7 women develops postpartum depression and even women already suffering from depression may experience more pronounced symptoms. Mood swings, anxiety, and a lack of interest can all play a part in inhibiting your fitness ambitions if you develop PPD. However, the best way to overcome the condition is to start exercising. Mild to moderate workouts will be enough to get the adrenaline pumping and help you regain a better emotional balance.
Sleep Plays a Part
New babies sleep 20 hours a day, which would be nice if that came in one consecutive snooze fest. Unfortunately, it rarely does and that means new mom’s aren’t getting the sleep they need to feel alert and rested. This is enough to leave you feeling strained, but add a strenuous workout to the mix and you’ll really be worn out. Instead, take it easy on those days you feel overly tired. A brisk walk or a leisurely bicycle ride is enough. Just do something that gets you moving and keeps you dedicated to your fitness schedule.
Rely on Your Support System
You can’t just head out to the gym anymore. You have the little one to consider. You should have a support system in place, so you won’t have to take your baby with you wherever you go. Whether you leave your baby with a partner, family member, or paid sitter, you should always have someone willing to look after your new addition. This way you can get the exercise you need when you’re ready for it.
Be Cautious About Baby Jogging
One way new mothers have found to crunch in a workout is by pushing their baby in a stroller as they jog. If this appeals to you, you should be aware that there are specific strollers designed for this activity and those are the only ones you should use. When shopping for a stroller, expect to pay more than you would for a regular stroller. Additionally, don’t accept that it’s safe just because you see the word “jogging” on the packaging. Read the labels thoroughly and use common sense. If it doesn’t look safe, don’t buy it.
Breastfeeding and Resistance Training Go Hand in Hand
Your body’s metabolic rate speeds up in order to produce breast milk, which is why you may notice unexplained weight loss. You may also notice that your clothes aren’t fitting any better, despite what the scale says. To counteract this situation, you should be doing some resistance training to accompany the time you spend breastfeeding. The workouts will help restore your strength and rebuild muscle, so your weight loss will have more of a visible effect.
As you resume fitness postpartum, you should proceed gradually and under the supervision of your doctor. Pushing yourself too hard can result in additional health problems that will further sideline your fitness goals. Workouts don’t have to be strenuous for you to benefit from postpartum fitness.