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Postpartum Return to Exercise

I see a lot of women who have recently had babies and their bodies need some guidance on healing postpartum. Totally normal. In our Western American culture we no longer allow time to rest and heal postpartum. Moms are expected to return to work, housekeeping and flat abs immediately postpartum. Totally unrealistic.

The mom's body just grew and carried a new life for 10 months, it is unrealistic for it to heal within weeks or days. If one is in the hospital and has surgery for any other body part they will get time off to heal and guidance in their after surgery care. Except in the case for birth, either vaginally or via cesarean section.

Not only did the mom's body grow a new life but now she is not sleeping, caring for a newborn, maybe breastfeeding. The hormonal changes postpartum also have an effect on postpartum healing. Something many doctors and trainers don't address.

Well, as a pelvic floor physical therapist I'm here to address the whole person in the postpartum phase. This doesn't mean just early postpartum either. I see lots of moms of teenagers who never knew there was someone to help their bodies heal more completely after pregnancy and childbirth.

I created this exercise video that is 20 minutes of mat work. It takes the viewer through 21 exercises and 4 stretches while guiding them on how to breathe and where they should feel the exercise as well.

I've treated many women postpartum who sometimes don't have a specific complaint but are trying to navigate their new bodies. Muscles got stretched, organs got squished and rearranged in order to grow a baby, and that takes time to return to normal working order after the baby is born.

I also have treated many women who have an abdominal separation (diastasis recti), pelvic pain, urinary incontinence and many other issues postpartum.

Then there are the moms who try to return to intense exercise too soon postpartum and end up getting injuries. There are a lot of fitness trainers pushing moms to "get their body back." This messaging can be harmful both mentally and physically. Just because your trainer is a mother doesn't mean she has the knowledge and training of how to train other mothers. Everyone is different! Every body heals differently. What works for someone and how long it takes them to return to their "pre-baby body weight" is not necessarily the same path as you.

I created this downloadable video as a resource for moms trying to navigate their new postpartum body and perhaps wanting to return to higher level exercise. These exercises should be safe to start at any time postpartum. In the early days postpartum one may not be able to complete all the exercises in the video but mom can start with some of the exercises. Each exercise builds on the previous one and get progressively more difficult throughout the video.

These exercises focus on connecting with the abdominal muscles, pelvic floor, hips and butt muscles. These make up our "core muscles". There is also emphasis and guidance on how to breathe with each exercise to promote healing of the muscles and tissues.

Check out the preview video for a taste of what it's about. This comes from years of experience of giving these same exercise to hundreds of women and I wanted to create a version that anyone can start at home and work through at their pace before needing to seek more professional care.

No equipment is required, but a resistance band is recommended along with a ball/pillow or yoga block. Click on the picture for a link to the recommended resistance bands.

Please share this with your mom and mom-to-be friends as my goal is better care and guidance for all women postpartum.

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