As for many, my birthing story was far from what I'd planned... Spent 35 hours in labour + 2.5 hours pushing + suction (which failed by 3 different people), baby's head stuck, umbilical cord prolapsed = emergency c section. This exhausting and traumatic birth left me in hospital for 5 days and it was 6 weeks before I could go out for a walk with a buggy. Even then I could only push on the flat - I could feel pulling in my tummy with any incline or decline. If only I knew then what I knew now - I would of been working on restoring my pelvic while the rest of me was in healing mode.
The most important exercises in the first few days or weeks after birth are your PELVIC FLOOR exercises. You can start doing them as soon as you can.
Strengthening your pelvic floor will help to protect you against having accidental urine LEAKS. Although sex is probably the last thing on your mind now, doing your pelvic floor exercises helps to TONE your VAGINA. When you're ready for sex again, you may enjoy it more if you've FIRMED up your pelvic floor.
Try to build your pelvic floor exercises into your DAILY LIFE. Continuing the exercises you did while you were pregnant will benefit you in the long term, and through any further pregnancies. See how to do your pelvic floor exercises correctly in the videos part of KC Fit's private Post Natal Care group HERE, Video 2
If you struggled to remember your exercises during pregnancy, try not to worry, as right now is the best time to start.
Pelvic floor exercises will help your perineum and vagina to HEAL more quickly. As because the exercises improve CIRCULATION to the area, helping to reduce swelling and bruising. If you have stitches, exercising your pelvic floor won't put any strain on them.
In the first few days or weeks, it's normal to feel as if nothing is happening when you do your pelvic floor exercises. KEEP GOING, as the feeling in your pelvic floor will return and it will be working even if you can't feel it. In the meantime, your perineum or pelvic floor may feel uncomfortable, swollen or very heavy.
As soon as you feel up to it, try to get outside in nature, WALKING while pushing your baby in the buggy. Go with how your body feels, any pulling on scars or abdominal wall is a sign your body isn't ready to walk with the added weight of pushing a buggy. If that's the case, stick with walking without the buggy for now. Start with short walks of about 10 minutes, building to 20 minutes, checking in with your pelvic floor, are they happy to workout for that long? Heaviness, dragging, urgency or leaking are signs they've been worked for too long and the time needs to be reduced. A good walk = DRY KNICKERS.
Running during the early post natal period is unsafe and inappropriate exercise prescription. It is just not necessary and not worth the risks. Your body is recovering from the most traumatic experience, it needs time to heal. You have 2-4 times your normal body weight bouncing down through your core. The most important way of exercising first is to strengthen your core (pelvic floor, transverse, diaphragm, multifidus, obliques, 6 pack), there will be plenty of time to up the tempo.
"Running is what you do when you're strong. Not to get strong."
Walking SAFE with a buggy. Keep your arms bent and your body close to the buggy. Keep an eye on your breathing, holding your breath causes intro-abdominal pressure on your transverse and downward pressure on your pelvic floor. If you can't lift your girls up, then they're not working and are potentially being pushed down and out . . .
REMEMBER - You're exercising to your weakest link - this is often our pelvic floor until we get the girls back in tip top shape OR your tummy if it has split.
No matter what age or stage your kids are at, where is your exercise at? Come HERE and let us know.
Knowing what I know now, I'm regularly doing my: Pelvic floor. Transverse activators. Walking. Running. Resistance/ Bootcamp training. Yoga. Listening to my pelvic floor and tummy each step of the way - adapting when and where I need to. How about you? I'd love to hear!