Reconnecting With Your Body – Postpartum

By Ash FitMom

Having a baby is one of life’s greatest miracles. It is a time of overwhelming love and joy coupled with overwhelming exhaustion. I am a mom of 3 with my youngest being only 7 weeks old. So, you could say I am pretty much in the trenches at the moment!

In today’s society, there is an enormous amount of pressure to “bounce back” from pregnancy, to the point that women are starting to believe that it is completely normal to leave the hospital with a flat stomach. An almost desperate need to want to look like you haven’t just spent the past 9 months growing a perfect little human. This just seems crazy to me!

The reality is that pregnancy is hard. Childbirth is hard, regardless of whether you have a natural birth or a caesarean section. And once all of that is over, you are then responsible for a tiny human who demands all of your time and attention.

I have slowly started to exercise again but my approach is one of celebrating everything my body has done for me and embracing this post-partum period rather than trying to “bounce back” or look for quick fixes.

Woman hugging her baby while smiling

Here are my top 5 tips for postpartum mums looking to reconnect with their bodies:

  1. Recovery: The early postpartum weeks are about recovery. Recovery from the mental switch from growing a baby to raising one, and recovery from what your body has just gone through.
  2. The 3 S’s: slow, steady and with self-love. Take your time to build up your strength. Your body has been through a lot. Be gentle and have compassion. With patience and consistency, you will slowly make progress.
  3. Pelvic floor awareness: Your pelvic floor takes a beating during pregnancy. Be aware of this when performing core strengthening exercises and if in doubt, seek the guidance of a professional. If you think you may have diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles) then it is very important to recover and reduce this gap with the help of an expert.
  4. Nutrition: Eat mindfully. Don’t worry about diets or trying to restrict yourself. Depriving your body almost always leads to binging. If you are breastfeeding, you don’t want to jeopardize your milk supply so you need to focus on healthy, well-balanced meals. Lots of green, leafy vegetables and water.
  5. Set realistic goals: Returning to exercise after having a baby is all about finding your feet and adopting a routine which works for you and your baby. There are no hard and fast rules so take your time and go easy on yourself.

Personal trainer and mom with her three children

If you are currently in the 4thtrimester (or if you just need some motivation) then follow my FATMOM2FITMOM PROGRAMME on Instagram. Send me a message with your email address and I’ll be sure to add you to the group. @ash_fitmom

*Before embarking on a postnatal exercise programme please make sure your doctor has cleared you to start training again.

Image credit: www.hercampus.com

Ash Iovino

ash@fitmomsa.co.za
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