Returning to Exercise after Giving Birth

Returning to Exercise after Giving Birth

Hi Mamas,

Today I thought I would write about my experience of returning to exercise after giving birth.

So, the birth of my daughter, went absolutely nothing to plan, which resulted in an emergency C-Section. (I will save the details for another time).

After a couple of days in hospital being barely able to move, I knew the recovery was going to take a while. The day of being released I was very excited and I couldn’t wait to get my baby home and enjoy this time with my husband and daughter.

I was also looking forward to being given a rehabilitation plan from the doctors on how to recover from a c-section. Well, that certainly didn’t happen and the only information that I got (from a midwife) was, don’t lift anything, don’t drive and don’t put the washing on the line for 6 weeks.

I honestly couldn’t believe that this was the only information that I was being given. Then fast forward to my “6 week check up”, I was told by my GP, that everything was fine and to start doing crunches to strengthen my abdominals up.

What the??

As a qualified personal trainer, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. (BTW, it was definitely this moment that I knew I had to go and further my studies to help all of us mamas out there with the recovery process of pregnancy!)

Anyway, going back to my departure day and barely being able to walk out of the hospital with hardly any information given, I knew this was going to take a while to recover! I was lucky that I had my mama with me for a few weeks to help with all the daily things that needed to be done. Like the washing, cleaning & cooking!

Yes, my mama even made our dinners for my brand new family, every night! Then my husband had time off over the Xmas holidays, so I was fully covered for quite some time to be able to just simply rest.

And yes, thats what I did…. I rested as much as I could to let my body heal properly. As there was one thing my husband said to me “Don’t rush your recovery…. take your time…. and only do things when your body tells you, you can. The last thing you want is to hurt yourself and have to start all over again at square one”.

So along the way, this kept coming back into my head, especially when it was just week two and I thought I could drive. But I knew I couldn’t, as my body took quite a while to heal.

Some days, I would just be walking to the other end of the house and mypPelvis felt like it was tearing apart. It wasn’t until I was ten weeks post partum, that I knew I could start walking again, slowly but surely, I was walking.

For the next 2 months, I was only walking (plus working on my breathing, Kegels and pelvic floor!) as I wanted to slowly build my fitness up and take my time. I started with only being able to walk a few hundred metres to walking 10kms easily with out any pain or niggling feeling around my pelvic area.

So once I had achieved that, I knew I was ready to slowly introduce weights again. (it was fun though, walking nearly every day with my brand new baby in her pram). It was five months post partum, that I slowly introduced this.

I started with just body movements – squats, lunges, pushups… but with no weights. Again, I had to wait a while until I could add the load (weights) as these movements started the pressure and pain in my pelvic area. So once I knew I was ready I started loading my functional movements or as my trainers call it “The Mummy Movements”.

I am now twelve months post partum and I can honestly say, that I am so grateful for my husband planting that seed in my head, to not rush, as you don’t want to have to start all over again!

I listened to my body and took my time to start training again and I have had no issues. If I rushed it and started too early (like I probably would have) ,I bet I wouldn’t even be able to lift my little girl up. After having my baby, it was no longer about being lean and looking my best.

It is now all about my baby girl and just simply becoming strong and being able to keep up with her. I want to be able to do everything with her and being strong, healthy and fit is a big part of it.

Thank you for reading and making it this far. Keep an eye out on my social media pages and blog as I will continue to share parts of my training with you. And please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about returning to exercise!

You might like to read my other articles here.

Much love,

Jess Ngaheu Pregnancy and Post Natal Massage Specialist

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