New mummies – What exercise is safe after giving birth?
What we need to be mindful of when we are wanting to return to exercise post birth and baby is that…
Once post natal.
Always post natal.
My social media feeds are full of mummy bootcamp pictures, tens of rows of prams and mummies doing all sorts of high intensity workouts with their babies watching them. I see dance classes encouraging mummies to attend with their babies in slings, I see trampoline type exercises being encouraged for post natal ladies and I see other classes like baby sensory encouraging strange parent and baby songs and movements that are really not great for post natal bodies. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?
There are so many venues of exercise open to mummy’s around BUT…
Please be mindful that not all exercises are safe for post natal mummies.
And what makes this even more confusing is that exercises that are safe for me might not be safe for you.
It depends on a lot of variables:
🍄Your birth history
🍄Your previous fitness levels
🍄Your ability to not leak a bit of wee on impact
🌿Your women’s bits – are they feeling “heavy” especially at the end of the day?
🍄Your abdomen has it suffered from separation? Is it bulging or doming with certain movements?
🌿Your core strength or lack of it.
If fitness instructors who are teaching post natal exercises don’t health screen you for pelvic floor dysfunction, tummy separation or prolapse symptoms then it might be their qualification did not cover this.
In that case, if you have had any complications post baby that you may or not be aware of I would advise you seek further help, support & assessment.
If you are training with professionals who do ask you about these things & modify your exercise accordingly CRACK ON!
If you have a few suspicions or alarm bells ringing from this post please seek further HELP & ADVICE.
I always up my pelvic floor squeezes when I see rows of ladies with their pushchairs doing deep, wide squats or planks especially if their posture is all off & they are clearly STRAINING.
I also cringe when I see Pilates bods doing post natal double leg table top with abdo prep – another big NO NO for prolapse, diastasis and pelvic floor problems.
❗Not all exercise is SAFE post natal exercise. Not all instructors KNOW about these important post natal pearlers either. If you have any dysfunction or weakness in your abdominal canister post baby – and lets face it – that is the VAST MAJORITY of us then overloading this system with exercises that are to strenuous increases problems.
Please ASK if you are not sure.
So WHY are these things are important not to ignore?
If you perform wide, deep squats, planks, sit ups, pull ups, star jumps, burpees, etc with a weak pelvic floor or altered abdominal canister mechanics, then unbeknown to you – you may be causing to much stress or strain on these systems which can cause prolapse, incontinence or potential for abdominal hernia.
This may appear imminently or during your next pregnancy or after your next birth or even when you hit the menopause.
Being mindful about your pelvic health should be at the forefront of all WOMEN who exercise post baby or not.
I’m so passionate about this topic…
Improving post natal care for women has become a driving force for me to get behind & create a positive change within my profession.
🌿 I recognise now that we need to CHANGE the current status quo
🌻 There is a huge need to increase awareness about what women’s health physio’s can do and should be doing to help more women out.
I’m not just talking about a routine biofeedback pelvic floor re-education as seen in France, I’m talking about a 1:1 assessment of the individual women & treating their unique needs.
💫 Some women need to get their tummy muscle strength assessed & treatment given with sound advise about safe exercise post baby.
✨ Some women need scar tissue management help, advise & treatment.
⚡ Some women just need someone to look at their bits & tell them if they’re normal after birth.
⭐ Some women need help finding & reconnecting to their pelvic floor muscles.
🌟 Some women need help with sexual dysfunction post birth.
💥 Some women need help with pelvic pain.
The list is endless.
“Common but not normal”
Lets create a change about post natal care for all women so we can help prevent unnecessary problems like abdominal hernia, pelvic organ prolapse & incontinence to name a few COMMON issues.
Once post natal.
Always post natal.
It’s NOT normal to leak, feel heaviness in your vagina or have bulging tummy muscles post baby.
It’s very COMMON though.
It’s important that more of us place VALUE & IMPORTANCE on our own pelvic health & seek help & support post giving birth.
Please sign my petition to make post natal checks for Mum an essential part of after birth care.
If you haven’t seen it already here is the link: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/213072
So in answer to the above question: What exercise is safe after giving birth? That, Dear Watson, is an elementary question!
Working with fitness instructors and or health care professionals with specialist knowledge in these areas is your best place to go to get unique advise to your individual needs, circumstances and symptoms.
Keep fit. Keep active but also Keep safe post baby when exercising!
Marie Fell is the founder of The Pilates Physio here in the UK. She is a qualified physiotherapist with over 12 years NHS experience in a wide array of specialisms and her passion lies in Posture, Pilates and the Pelvic floor! I am dedicated to helping empower ladies and gents to remain fit and active through class or 1:1 private Pilates/physiotherapy sessions. My mission is to empower, inspire and educate others to move freely and keep healthy and teaching Pilates with a clinician’s hat on allows me the best of both worlds.