Exercising again after having a baby is scary. The truth is, postpartum workouts are not glamorous or easy… to be honest, they’re actually pretty tough. But that should not deter you from stepping back into a fitness routine - after all, exercising postpartum is majorly beneficial to your health.
If you’re ready to improve your posture, increase strength, and start building your fitness back up after having a baby, I’m sharing the top 5 things you need to know!
#1 Your core feels less engaged
We all know how important core strength is. In fact, every exercise stems from the core. Your core strength may have been in tip-top shape before, it’s only natural that your core may feel quite different after pregnancy.
So ladies, don’t be too hard on yourself. It may feel more challenging to brace your core, but by doing ab exercises a few times a week, you will start to notice some positive changes. Not only will these help you perform exercises better, but it will help reduce back pain.
#2 Leakage? It's a thing.
Whilst this may seem taboo to talk about, we’re here to start the conversation about leakage! Majority of women do experience some leakage when exercising postpartum, typically due to having a weakened pelvic floor.
It is nothing to be embarrassed about, it’s something you should be aware of so you're prepared and educated on the next steps you can take to improve it. Best advice I can give is to go and see a women’s health physiotherapist, who will be able to give you simple exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. This will give you more confidence when returning to the gym and your workout routine.
Also, while we’re on this topic, I get asked a lot about working out while breastfeeding. The answer is yes you can! Just be sure to pump right before a workout and wear nursing pads.
#3 You may fatigue more quickly
Pre-pregnancy, you may have been able to smash out long workouts with ease, but now may be a different story. Let’s face it, being a mom is tough - the lack of sleep, the feeding, and everything else that comes with it. It’s completely understandable that you may struggle to get through full workouts.
The solution? Ease your way back in. When I got back into working out, I literally just started with 15 minute sessions. Don’t push yourself too hard - gradually increase the exercise duration and intensity as your body adapts. It’s also extremely important to fuel your body with good nutrition. Be sure to eat enough complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats to keep you fuelled and energized throughout your day.
#4 It may be hard to find time to workout
Being a mother, especially a new mother, is a MAJOR adjustment to your lifestyle. Time often goes out the window and it can be really hard to actually make time for ourselves. The truth is, despite it being challenging, it CAN be done!
It’s time to get creative with the time youdo have. Whilst getting to the gym may be a challenge, how about trying a home workout? Work around your baby’s schedule and find the time to move your body - even if it's just for half an hour. One common solution is to fit in a quick workout while your baby is sleeping.
#5 One side of your body may feel weaker than the other
Okay, even this one surprised me! Muscular imbalances are extremely common in postpartum women. Ever noticed that you tend to hold your baby on the same side of your body? This is one of the biggest contributors to muscular imbalances in your body as a new mom.
The best way to combat this is to do unilateral exercises. This means exercises that work one side of your body at a time. Exercises like B-stance RDL’s, one arm shoulder press, standing kettlebell oblique crunches - by working one side at a time, you’ll be able to improve strength on both sides and correct the imbalance.