GASP! Yes, we said it. The current standard of waiting until you have ‘the green light’ to exercise at 6 weeks is doing a serious disservice to new moms.
Now, before we get all kinds of emails, let us be clear that we DIDN’T say ‘go to cross-fit’ or ‘go running’ or ‘do what you were doing pre-pregnancy’ before 6 weeks. What we DO mean is that simply moving your body, reconnecting to your breath and finding your pelvic floor and core muscles is OK and highly recommended. (Of course ALWAYS follow your OB or Midwife’s orders!)
For most women, waiting for 6-weeks means not doing ANY movement AT ALL. But do you know what? It takes only one week for muscles to lose tone, and women lose so much strength in those first 6 weeks while they are recovering from childbirth and caring for the baby that they end up being set back before they can even begin.
This doesn’t have to happen to you!
The great news? You can start moving, breathing and reconnecting as soon as you give birth. Like…the same day…in the hospital bed! (Seriously!)
Here are a few ideas: ** Practice pelvic floor releases and contractions with your breath: Inhale release the pelvic floor, exhale contract and squeeze in and up. If you delivered vaginally, you may feel quite swollen, sore, and not be able to feel much, but keep making the movement (even if just in your mind!). The release and contraction can actually help decrease the swelling. If you had a c-section, these pelvic floor lifts are just as important for you too! 10 months of a baby pressing down on your pelvic floor can stretch those muscles out.
** Practice your diaphragmatic breathing: As you inhale, release your pelvic floor, expand your ribcage 360 degrees, and expand lightly through your belly. Go deep on that inhale! On your exhale, squeeze and lift the pelvic floor, let your ribs soften down and let your belly naturally contract back. Imagine a gentle hug from the ribs all the way to your pelvis. Aim for 5-10 breaths at a time.
** Stretch your neck, upper back and shoulders: We hold so much tightness in our necks, especially post-birth, and from looking at our sweet babies! Roll your shoulders out, roll your head from side to side, and practice ‘swimming’ arms – imagine doing a front crawl and then a back stroke while standing.
Let us know what you found helpful!