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Postpartum Fitness Checklist

Postpartum Fitness Checklist

Lilu is excited to partner with Pre- and Post-Natal fitness experts, FPC for a peak at their brand new Signature Postpartum Class followed by a Breast Pumping 101 Workshop with Lilu founder Adriana Vazquez and doula, Emilie Adams ofThe Connected Birth. Join us on March 24 from 12–1:15pm at FPC Soho — RSVP here. Please note: the event is open (and safe!) for both prenatal and postpartum mamas.

The goal at FPC is to make a woman’s transition to motherhood as seamless as possible. That’s why our focus is on corrective and function movement in order to strengthen the specific muscles needed to support a stronger pregnancy, easier delivery and full postpartum recovery.

There are a few challenges that women face when returning to exercise, postpartum. Many women feel like they are completely out of touch with their bodies following pregnancy and delivery. That loss of control and sense of self can feel overwhelming. Another downfall is that social media today tends to focus solely on the women who return to their “pre-baby bods” immediately. It’s important for all of us to realize that pregnancy and the birthing process affects every woman’s body differently. It’s the same with our postpartum recovery.

We’ve put together a checklist of a few easy steps to help you set realistic expectations and overcome those mental and physical challenges.

Practice love and gratitude.

Thank your body for the incredible journey it’s been on. Accept that the way you look and feel in this moment is exactly what your body and baby needed. Don’t focus on trying to change the way your body looks. Focus on making it stronger in order to support this life change.

Connect with your inner core unit ASAP

Your inner core unit is made up of your diaphragm, transverse abdominis, pelvic floor and multifidus muscles. We recommend starting the FPC “Pump & Kegel” immediately after delivery. This activation should be done before standing up, sitting down, lifting your baby, bending over, and any type of physical exertion. (Check out the steps below)

Take the recommended 6 weeks off from “exercise”

We don’t consider reconnecting with your inner core unit exercise, we consider that essential. Other essentials are walking and functioning in our everyday lives so don’t confuse that with “exercise”. Even if you feel amazing and your care provider clears you for exercise “early”, honor yourself by taking a fitness hiatus. Use this time to allow your body to heal, bond with your baby, and adjust to motherhood without adding the mental demands of trying to change yourself, physically. In addition to giving yourself a mental break, your body and uterus also need this 6 weeks of time to heal. Don’t rush the process. Motherhood is all about patience. Start by practicing on yourself.

Find a Women’s Health PT or Postnatal Movement Specialist

Have yourself checked for a diastasis and assessed for pelvic floor weakness/ dysfunction. Working with a women’s health physical therapist or postpartum movement specialist can help diagnose any imbalances and set you up with exercises that will make your inner core unit strong again.

Slow and Steady

Many women jump back in to too much too soon. We understand your are excited to get back to your regular fitness routine, but if you don’t follow the foundational steps to get there, you are putting yourself at risk for injury or issues like developing a diastasis, pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic organ prolapse, chronic pain, etc. The key is to progress slowly, even if you feel great, give your body time to heal.

FPC Pump & Kegel

“Our secret to a stronger pregnancy, easier delivery and full postpartum recovery”

Step 1: Diaphragm breaths

Inhale into the lowest part of your lungs by sending air into the sides of your bottom 2 ribs. It’s helpful to use the image of sending your breath down into the belly (without pushing out) and the goal is to keep the air from allowing your upper chest to rise and fall.

Step 2: Belly Pump

Inhale with the diaphragm breath and on your exhale, focus on wrapping the obliques, TVA, and entire abdominal wall towards your midline. Use the image of using your abs to give yourself a big hug.

Step 3: Kegel

Imagine the pubic bone, tailbone, and both sitz bones drawing closer together and up through the center of the body (aka a full front to back kegel). You should be contracting all the muscles from the pubic bone to the anus.

Coordinate your kegels with your belly pump. The pelvic floor muscles lift while simultaneously exhaling and wrapping the abdominals. Be sure to release the pelvic floor and abdominal wall completely on your inhale. The release is just as important as the activation.

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