You’ve been ok’d to return to the gym AND (this is crucial) your body feels ready for it!
CAN I GET AN AMEN?
So you just pack the things you packed before, plus diaper bag and baby if baby’s coming with you, right? Yes….. and no. There are some key things that will make your life easier at the gym post birth.
Because this happens.
Flexibility and a Time Cushion
Everything takes longer with babies. EVERYTHING. That 5 minute quick run to the store? Now it’s 20. Exception: showers. I don’t think I need to explain that one!
The need for flexibility and a time cushion applies to all active moms: whether your gym has a daycare, allows baby in the weight room in her car seat, or you’re working out at home. When baby’s hungry, baby’s hungry, and it’s not fun for anyone when baby goes from hungry to hangry. There has already been more than a single instance of me bringing dumbbells or a kettlebell back to the daycare!
So that’s precisely what you do. You find a way to make it work. It might be adjusting your routine on the fly, incorporating some home workouts if you exercise primarily at a gym, plan an additional 15 or 20 minutes for pretty much everything. Because babies like to poop too (that’s also a reminder to have extra clothes for baby AND you!)
Last, but the most important. After having a baby, your body is a postpartum body. Forever. Does that mean there are certain exercises you can never do again? Not necessarily. But it means that you have to be not just aware but hyperaware of how your body is reacting to your workouts, both in terms of immediacy (how does your pelvis feel while you squat and later that night?) and longevity (is your diastasis continuing to improve, or is it getting worse?) Not only do these constant evaluations require you to adjust your workouts, but you have to be willing to adjust your mindset. You’re not going to be able to work out at your prepregnancy level for a while, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Breastfeeding mamas: now is the perfect time for bulking 😉 ALL THE MUSCLES!!
What you do NOT need:
Pads or other incontinence cover ups. The whole “once you give birth you’ll always leak” thing? FALSE. You don’t have to. Will you experience leaks and toots immediately after birth? Most likely. Does it have to stay that way forever and ever and ever and ever? Uh no. Will it take time for your pelvic floor and your core muscles to heal and get back to normal (I mean “be even better than before”)? Yes! Time, and work combined with gentleness with yourself.
Nor do you need a belly binder or a corset. There are a couple of exceptions, but the majority of items marketed as “postpartum support” are simply Victorian era relics that are more likely to harm than to heal. Example? Ms. Kim K.
Yes, our ab muscles are stretched out after pregnancy and childbirth, so support feels sooooo nice. But these corsets squeeze more than support. Our organs have been squished and displaced as our babies grew; these corsets just continue that and have the potential to lead to prolapse. I don’t have time for that. Neither do you.
Support CAN help. Belly wraps done by a trained doula are great, as are products like Baobei Maternity’s Core Support Yoga Shorts. They support from the bottom up, allowing organs to settle back into the right spots while supporting the surrounding muscles.
Me at 6 weeks postpartum wearing the Baobei Maternity COREset. I do not have the shorts, but word on Instagram is that capris and leggings are in the works!
The best things for healing after birth are visits to a physiotherapist who specializes in women’s health and the pelvic floor. Pricier than the corsets? Initially, yes. But they will prescribe exercises you can do (some which I will be sharing in upcoming videos!) and they will see what you cannot. And that cost is significantly less than the money and time/rehabilitative investment of a surgery. Need help finding a women’s PT in your area?
Get after it! Put your New Mama strength to good use!