If you have just given birth to your first baby, first of all congratulations, but we understand that you will likely have lots of questions about postpartum life and in particular, getting back into exercise. In fact, even if you’ve just given birth to your third or fourth child, you will still probably have questions that you’re looking for answers to, after all, no two pregnancies are the same and you may be experiencing things that you didn’t with your other babies. Don’t worry though, this is completely normal.
There tends to be a lot of correct information out there about what you can and can’t do exercise-wise during your pregnancy, but when it comes to what you can and can’t do post-pregnancy, unfortunately, a lot of the ‘information’ you come across will actually be myths or misconceptions. So, to help any new mums, we have put together a blog debunking the most commonly heard statements about exercise once you’ve had a baby. Hopefully, the information below will clear some things up for you.
Before we get started, we just wanted to reiterate that all pregnancies are different and so are postnatal bodies, so we will be debunking these misconceptions from a general point of view. Remember, if you’re looking for some specific advice regarding a problem you’re having post-pregnancy or if you’d like a postpartum exercise program, please reach out to your GP or a member of the HPNB team today. You can then ensure that you’re being provided with the correct information for your individual situation.
“Rebuilding your pre-pregnancy strength is pretty much impossible”
There is no denying that your body will have changed during pregnancy and the postnatal body is always different from the prenatal one, but that being said, there aren’t necessarily any limitations to what your body can achieve post-pregnancy. Yes, rebuilding your physical strength will be incredibly hard work, but with mental determination, patience and a long enough period of time, never say never.
In fact, many women actually end up being fitter and stronger than they’ve ever been when they follow a postpartum exercise program. Often, new mums who have never stepped foot into a gym or who have never really enjoyed exercise find that once they’ve had their baby, their mindset changes and exercise become part of their life for all of the right reasons. So, never think achieving pre-pregnancy strength is impossible.
“Diastasis recti will heal by itself”
Having separated stomach muscles (diastasis recti) post pregnancy is incredibly common, but different women will have different severities of this abdominal condition. For some lucky women, diastasis recti may heal by itself, but for the vast majority, they will need some physical therapy or postnatal exercises to help them in this regard.
If you would like to find out more about diastasis recti, we invite you to read one of our previous blogs where we have written about it in much more detail.
“If you’re active during your pregnancy, you will find it easy to get back into exercise post-birth”
This is probably one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to post pregnancy fitness. Whilst staying active during pregnancy has a multitude of benefits and it can help you to recover once you have given birth, it doesn’t actually mean that you will be able to/find it easier to get back into exercise. Even the fittest women can struggle postpartum and this is completely normal, after all, getting back into exercise is definitely a marathon, not a sprint.
We really can’t stress enough how important it is to remember that all women are different, as are their post pregnancy bodies and their fitness journey postpartum. So, even women with a similar fitness level before pregnancy will have different experiences as they get back into exercise whenever its safe to do so.
“Exercising will be impossible because you will be tired and busy”
Being tired with a newborn is only to be expected, but you shouldn’t let this prevent you from getting into some form of exercise routine. Your fitness routine when you’re only a few weeks postpartum won’t be the same as it was before you fell pregnant and you will only need half an hour or so, sometimes even only 10 minutes, to yourself to complete a postpartum workout. So, exercise is really easy to fit into even the busiest of lives.
Of course, understandably, you may feel like now is the time to focus all of your time and energy on your little one, but you shouldn’t neglect yourself when doing so. Your own health and wellbeing is just as important and spending some time taking care of yourself by exercising on a daily basis will help you to not just feel healthier, but much happier too. Remember, endorphins can work wonders.
“Any postpartum exercise program will work”
It is likely that you will come across a number of different “bounce back” postpartum exercise programs that have been specifically designed to help new mums get ‘back in shape’. Whilst it is easy to assume that these will be the best for you to follow, and in some respects they are, you really do need to be careful when deciding which program is best for you at this time.
Ideally, you should find a program that has been designed by qualified personal trainers and/or medical professionals who understand the postnatal body. Also, you should find a postpartum exercise program that can be tailored to your body and your individual needs. It is fair to say that a generalised program isn’t always best.
You can tell a lot about an exercise program from its name alone and also what it is promising, so try not to get sucked in by things such as false promises and celebrity endorsements.
“Cardio is the best way to get your ‘pre-baby body’ back”
So many people assume that cardio is the way forward, whether this to help them lose weight or to feel fitter and stronger, but this isn’t the case. Whilst there is no denying that cardio has a number of benefits and simple cardio such as swimming or even walking can be really good for new mums, cardio alone won’t be effective.
Whilst we never agree with the aim of getting your ‘pre-baby body back’ and if you have read any of our other blogs you will know this, if you’re wanting to feel better in yourself, improve your fitness or overcome problems you’re facing post pregnancy, then strengthening work will play a vital role in your postpartum exercise program. So, cardio shouldn’t be your main focus.
“You only really need to do ‘post-natal’ exercises until your baby is 9 months, after that they won’t work anymore”
The ‘postnatal period’ begins immediately after the birth of the baby and tends to extend until your baby is around 9 months old. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t follow a postnatal exercise program if your baby is older than 9 months. In fact, women with babies that are 4 or 5 should still start with a well planned postnatal exercise program, especially if they haven’t yet got back into fitness since having their little one.
Starting with the basics is always beneficial and building things such as your core and pelvic floor strength back up after having a baby is one of the most important things to do. So, it doesn’t matter how old your baby is and whether you’re considered ‘postnatal’ or not, you can still benefit from undertaking postpartum workouts and you shouldn’t overlook them.
How Healthy Post-Natal Body can help
All in all, it is likely that if you’re searching for information about exercising postpartum, you will have heard some of, if not all of, the misconceptions mentioned above and they aren’t just found on the internet, it is likely that they are passed from mum to mum too. Really, one of the best ways to find out the truth about postpartum fitness is to reach out to an expert, like a member of our team here at HPNB who will always provide you with accurate information in this regard.
Not only can our qualified personal trainers give you tailored exercising advice, but if you’re wanting to start working out again post pregnancy, by becoming a member of HPNB you will also receive a postpartum exercise program too. You can trust that this workout plan will include exercises that target everything from your abdominal muscles to your pelvic floor muscles and they will all be safe for you to do. We can assure you that you will be in incredibly experienced hands with our friendly team.
We strongly believe that post pregnancy health should be affordable for everyone and, for this reason, we work differently to the vast majority of other “bounce back” post-natal exercise programs out there. Instead of being an extortionate 12 week program that promises you your ‘pre pregnancy fitness back’, we offer an affordable £8 a month membership where you can continue to use our services for as long as you think they’re useful. And remember that with us you get 13 weeks completely free!
If you have any questions at all about our team here at Healthy Post-Natal Body, our membership or our postpartum exercise programs, please don’t hesitate to contact us, we are always happy to help.