My thoughts and a few things to consider before walking back into the gym...
Believe me, nobody wants to lose weight and get back in the gym more than I do, but, jumping back in too soon and doing too much before your body is ready can set you back even further.
Even if you had a successful vaginal delivery, your body still underwent something extremely traumatic. It is so crucial to give your body the necessary 4 to 6 weeks of rest (and up to 8 weeks for C section) before getting back into your workout routine. Yes it’s true, if you were healthier and more fit before pregnancy, it does help you to get back into the gym sooner. However, even if you mentally and physically feel ready to go, your body has a lot of healing to do on the inside.
I’m not saying you should be bed ridden for the 4-8 weeks by any means. Going for a walk, getting outside the house for lunch and beginning some pelvic floor and breathing exercises is highly encouraged.
Diana Perkins, owner of Reclaim Your Strength Physical Therapy, is physical therapist and women’s pelvic health specialist who I met with before giving birth to ensure I was correctly doing breathing, pelvic floor and core exercises during my pregnancy and to understand the best exercises to do postpartum before returning to the gym. Whether you have or haven’t experienced D.R or bladder incontinence I think at least 1-2 sessions with a pelvic floor specialist before and after giving birth is extremely valuable.
One key thing to keep in mind: Even if you did not experience diastases recti during pregnancy it is still possible to experience it postpartum. This is why it is very important why you should NOT jump back into abdominal exercises such as crunches, sit-ups and in some cases, planks, step ups and overhead lifting for an additional few weeks even after being cleared to workout. Also, although bladder incontinence is very common, it is not normal and should not be overlooked. It is very important to allow your pelvic floor the chance to heal itself for the 4-6 weeks post delivery without any jumping, running and interval training.
You just gave birth to a beautiful baby and this is a wonderful time to bond with them and also take some time to relax and enjoy yourself as a new mom, without the guilt or expectations about losing the weight as soon as possible.
I am and always will be a very serious advocate of fitness, but in a society that sets such high expectations for new moms and women in general, I’d like you to consider being kind and gentle with your body. Understand it will take time. It took 9 months to get where you are and it may take 9 months or longer to get to where you’re going. But you will get there.