Postpartum Recovery Exercises
If you just had a baby your body is going through a lot of changes, especially if you are in the early weeks.
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Ask the Expert
Kim Vopni, The Vagina Coach, President of Bellies Inc. a company focused on improving births and postpartum recoveries.
It is essential that you give yourself the time to recover and also retrain your core so you can restore form and function. As soon as possible I recommend you start with gentle pelvic floor exercises – aka kegels – to help increase circulation to the healing tissues, help stimulate nerve growth factor and also remind the muscles what their job is.
In pregnancy there is an ever-increasing load on your pelvic floor. There are also biomechanical changes that influence posture and alignment which can in turn influence the function of the muscles in the pelvic floor. When the alignment is off, it can interfere with optimal function and send symptoms of pain or incontinence or pressure in the pelvis.
Once you have given birth it is important to pay attention to your posture, retrain the pelvic floor with gentle kegels coordinated with movement and ensure you return gradually to regular fitness. And we’re not talking gradual as in 6 weeks…more like 6 months! It is not realistic to think that after 9 months of adaptation followed by a birth, that the body is ‘back to normal’ at 6 weeks postpartum. Recover, retrain and restore your core first.
3 key exercises for postpartum recovery
The Core Breath is always my starting point in terms of retraining the core – it works all of the parts of the inner core and establishes or re-establishes the synergy you are looking for in your foundation.
Once you have mastered the core breath, you then add it into movement so you can work the core as it should be worked – with movement. You can turn almost any exercise into a core exercise by adding in the core breath.
The Core Breath
The Bridge is a common exercise and when coupled with the core breath it is a really powerful core exercise. When the core and pelvic floor are working optimally back pain symptoms are significantly reduced or eliminated! Slow controlled movements mean more 'time under tension' and more opportunity to build strength and endurance in the pelvic floor muscles. and the best part is that it works your belly, butt and hips!
Squats strengthen your lower body, your pelvic floor, your glutes…everything really! As a new mom you will be squatting down a lot to pick up your baby, lift a car seat, pick up the laundry basket…. It is a movement we do a lot and should be doing with awareness of the pelvic floor.
We live in a world that celebrates extremes in pregnancy and applauds women who are back at the gym by 3 weeks postpartum. We invite you to take a different approach. One that will support your body, your mind and your spirit not only as it heals but throughout motherhood and life!
Kim Vopni, Bellies Inc.