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My Personal Post Pregnancy Experience

Wednesday, 07 March 2012 20:26

Written by Kelly Chester


A personal note from Kelly about her post natal fitness journey

Many women are keen to get back into exercise after the baby is born.  It is very important not to rush into exercise and getting your figure back to how it was before the pregnancy.  You have had the most amazing changes happening and have produced a wonderful new life.  You should feel very proud that you have given birth and reward yourself with being kind to yourself and taking your time to get back into exercise again.  The first couple of months are pretty tough and you will be concentrating on your lovely new baby or babies.

The guidelines say that you need to wait at least six weeks until you start exercising again.  It is advised that you wait until you have your post natal check-up.  You can start to do your pelvic floor exercises straight away and do some gentle walking as well.   Some of you will want to start earlier if you feel well enough, but most will want to wait due to soreness, stiches and tiredness.   You will need to wait at least two months if you had a caesarean. 

Personally I think that six weeks is too early to be thinking about exercise.  I was keen to get back to exercise but had lots of stiches and was told not to exercise and only do some very gentle forms of exercise.  I started off with some gentle walks at first and just went as far as the local shops and the park.  Even that left me pretty tired and would need to go home and have a sleep.  Especially in the first three months when baby is waking up throughout the night. 

I started a more structured programme at about twelve weeks and did lots of swimming and aqua aerobics as it was gentler on the joints.  If you do swimming, please wait until any bleeding and swelling has gone.  Also when doing aqua or low impact aerobic, try and keep your legs closer together as your pelvis will be unstable for the first few months due to the relaxin in your joints, for this reason It’s very important to seek advice from an exercise professional before getting back to formal exercise as you more at risk of injury from poor lumbopelvic stability and injury from inappropriate exercises.

Do not compare yourself to other people who have had babies the same time as you, such as other celebrities.  This is pretty hard to do and I have been guilty of this myself.  I see then on the telly or a magazine and think how have they got rid of their belly so quick or lost all of the baby weight.  Eight months down the line I still have a belly and an extra stone.  It really does take time to come off.  It took nine months to go on and grow a wonderful new life, so it will take time to get your post pregnancy figure back.

With all of my knowledge and training, I still got pretty disheartened as I was training five/six times a week and walking about two/three hours a day with my baby.  I started gaining weight and started to feel very tired.  I went to see my GP as I knew I was doing all of the right things and should have still lost weight even without dieting.  I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid which meant my metabolism was not working properly. 

I am so glad that I was still exercising as some people put on masses of weight before diagnoses.  I put on just four pounds extra.  Now my medication is at the right dose, I have stated to slowly get rid of the extra weight.  I thought I was tired due to being a new mum and having disrupted sleep for months.  It can be pretty common after pregnancy, so if you do not feel right, see your health professional as soon as possible.

I have been doing Pilates style exercises for about twelve years now and nothing could have prepared me for how I felt when I lost my core strength after my baby was born and lack of pelvic floor strength.  Even gentle walking felt like a marathon.  I really had to slow down and listen to my body.  Even after eight months I am only doing some very simple core exercise as I still feel some discomfort in my lower abdomen.  Before doing abdominal work please have a Rec Check done, please read details below.

Rec Check

After the baby is born you cannot start to do sit ups until your rectus abdominus has come back together.  If you do it too early you could end up with doming or in severe cases a hernia.  To check how your abdominals are doing, you will need to do a REC Check which can be done by a midwife or a Post natal Instructor. 

You can do full abdominal work once your diastasis has gone back.  This can be checked by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip width apart.  Place your fingers or your right hand on your belly just above the belly button so your fingers form a vertical line along your midsection.  You will feel a band of muscles on either side.  Those are your recti muscles.  Almost all postpartum women with have some separation of these muscles.  If it is more than two fingers apart you will need to do modified core work.  Once you have a gap of less than this you can do full core work.

Everyone is very different on how they recover after pregnancy, so go with your own body and do not push yourself to much as this could set you back and the recovery would be much longer.  So take your time and enjoy your time with your baby.

I am now ready to teach some new classes so hope to see some of you soon.

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