YES, it is difficult for active women to hear and accept the importance of reducing the load and intensity of their training in the postnatal period, BUT in the overall scheme of life this relatively short period of modified load and intensity is negligible!
There comes a time after childbirth when you feel ready to finally smash out a killer workout, but your ‘core’; including your diaphragm, transverse abdominals, multifidus, abdominal fascia and pelvic floor strength will be your weakest link.
After having a baby; vaginal or c-section, your body needs rest and sufficient time to heal. Focus should be towards rehabilitation and progressively building strength, which is not always linear – especially in the postnatal population.
High impact and high intensity exercise prior to regaining functional control of the abdominal wall (in order to maintain intra abdominal pressure and load transfer) may be counter-productive and result in overloading or compensatory strategies in the pelvic floor.
So You May Feel Like You Can, But Should You.
Smashing out an intense workout, (relative to the individual) with lets say; skipping, box jumps, running, burpees and squats is not recommended.
Believe me - I’m my own walking experiment. Like many other women who I chat with, I didn’t have informed health professionals guiding and supporting my safe return to postnatal exercise. To my detriment, at the time I thought I was badass and friends supported that notion. I didn’t know how to train in my postnatal body so I trained like I’d always trained. I know now that with a different approach to postnatal exercise I could have reduced or even avoided pain because of a dysfunctional core and leaking during skipping, thrusters and sneezing!
With appropriate scaling and a different training strategy during pregnancy and the postnatal period women can returned to heavy weightlifting and high impact activities without dysfunction and frustrations.
With a smarter approach, (and less ego) you can be ‘badass’without the set-backs that I experienced.
On the Pelvic Floor Firstwebsite there is a list of pelvic floor safe resistance exercises and a list of resistance exercises to avoid. It can be frustrating and confusing deciphering all the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of postnatal exercise, particularly when it doesn’t seem to relate to the exercise or sport you enjoy, (CrossFit anyone? Don’t let it stop you through fear of not knowing where to start or say “to heck with it I’ll just train like I did before pregnancy”. There are a many ways to modify resistance exercises; including weight lifting, CrossFit and bootcamp training, to protect your core and pelvic floor.
I specialise in personal training for women in the postnatal period. I work with women focusing on rebuilding core strength and building pelvic floor muscle control whilst gradually progressing to higher load and intensity.
If you think you need to rebuild your core and pelvic floor in preparation for pregnancy, return to exercise post childbirth or just want to lift heavy shit and train like a ‘badass’ because it makes you froth, or simply prefer a more moderate exercise program let’s chat.
Pregnancy Is Temporary, Postpartum is Forever