5 things I’ve learnt about exercise post birth.

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36 weeks pregnant at a Zumba fundraiser

This blog post comes from a place of total love and care for you. Know that as you read it. I am no expert in this, just bloody passionate about it. It’s long.

When Lily was about 8 weeks old, I had a weird urge to go for a run. Weird, I know. Should have squashed that idea! I’m not a runner but on that day I felt the need to run. So I did. I managed all of about 2 kms. Proudly posting my feat on facebook, I had a raft of ‘Awesome, you go girl’ ‘You weirdo’ etc but one comment stuck out to me from a friend who said ‘Be careful with your body, it is very prone to injury so early from birth, especially with running.’

Too late now, run was complete. But her words got me thinking and investigating more. What I found was too interesting and far too important not to share. Since then, I have talked with local women’s Physios, joined And participated in various forums, researched a butt load of scientific articles, run my own bootcamps and signed up to complete short courses around post pregnancy women’s exercise. This is the direction I want to head with my life; working alongside postpartum women safely finding their movement mojo.

Now Elijah is here, I am champing at the bit to get into exercise again. But I will approach with caution and listen to my body. Week 8 this time around, there will be NO running. NO ridiculous ab work. NO bootcamps with trainers who don’t know a postpartum mums body. There WILL be controlled, guided, gentle, healing exercise. Exercises that don’t place strain on already overstretched muscles and joints. Let’s rename it regenerative movement.

What is frustrating is there was no guidance or checks from my midwife both times (I love my mifwife to pieces, so it’s not on her!) given post birth regarding looking after your body exercise wise. I was given the same pamphlet 2 years ago and told do your pelvic floors. But what does that look like? Feel like ? How long for? How intense? How often and why?

Why? Because being informed now could save your health and money down the track. Issues can arise such as prolapse, incontinence, herniation due to improper ab exercises, strained and sprained muscles/ligaments and overworked joints. And know this is NOT the beautiful mummas fault at all! My god it is not! There is a lack of information given surrounding exercise post birth, who this falls upon, I do not know. How can correct information be given so the mum can make an informed decision surrounding exercise? I do not know.

I do know it is not good enough.

So, here are 5 things I’ve learnt about exercise post birth.

1. Professionals are there for a reason. Seek the knowledge and help from people who know about postpartum womens health and exercise. (Really, it should be part of your post birth checks and not up to you to seek advice but that’s another blog post #ranty). Physio would be number 1 on the list!!! A doctor, midwife, or personal trainer. They SHOULD check diastasis recti, pelvic floor and posture. And hopefully give you safe exercises to start working on.

2. Do number 1. Exercises that allow your core to sag or stretch are shit. EG: Plank position type exercises. (Think push ups, burpess, planks, mountain climbers, froggers etc.) and NO to sit ups. If you must, perform modified versions (Eg: standing pushups) of the above until you’ve had the all clear from number 1. Improper exercises mentioned can exaggerate a diastasis recti, not allowing proper healing and closure, which results in ‘Mum tum’ bulging and sagging.

3. Do number 1. High impact exercise onto a healing body are shit. Weakened ligaments due to hormone relaxin will place added stress onto joints and muscles, making more prone to injury. Activities such as high impact aerobics, gymnastics, netball, and running can increase chances of injury. Think jumping type sports/activities. Until you’ve had the all clear from number 1, take it easy.

4. Do number 1. Pelvic floor muscles are exactly that; muscles that needs to be gently exercised. But how? I was told to imagine lifting a tissue up with your butt/fanny. Hold for a few seconds and then FULLY release. Repeat as many times as you feel comfortable with. Start easy then build up to holding for at least 8 seconds. Or imagine stopping your urine mid pee (avoid this as a regular exercise). This will strengthen the muscles that is the pelvic floor, decreasing you chances of incontinence both urine and faecal over time. Imagine if we could change societal thinking of ‘Well I’ve had kids so it’s normal when I laugh/sneeze/jump that I pee a little’ IT’S COMMON BUT IT’S NOT NORMAL. I’m sorry for the capitals but gosh I feel SO fucking passionate about this. It is not your fault dear mumma, you are beautifully normal but this issue is not. The bloody good news? It can EASILY be fixed if you go do number 1.

5. Do number 1. Listen to your body and your team of experts! I didn’t. I got back into competitive netball 6 months after Lily was born. 6 months is a long time but I was still breast feeding and my physio had advised I don’t partake in netball till I stop it (because of hormones). I didn’t listen and can honestly say I had the most injury riddled season. I may not play competitive again as my ankle is stuffed and may need surgery. And that’s just an ankle! Stop, listen, seek advice. Your body is precious, take care.

I apologise if this seems ranty and shouty. It is not any reflection of you or what you are doing dear mumma. It stems from frustration of how little information is given to postpartum mums about exercise.

But I won’t apologise for caring.

If you want to know more, message me on Facebook @lilypieandi or email me. I’ve got links and research for miles. Not running miles though.

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What was in my post-birth bag; things that helped.

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Whats in my maternity bag

I stare at my post birth bag in the bathroom, still yet to be unpacked. It’s only been 4 weeks…In it is what helped ease those first few days post birth at the maternity unit where Elijah was born.

So I thought I’d better unpack it and I’m now prompted to write this blog post (distracted saaahhh easily). For me, it was all about what will bring ME comfort, what is going to make this easier (I’m lazy) and what can I fit into this room without pissing off the midwives. You might find something here to help yourself or recommend to a friend. You also may read it and be like WTF who needs THAT?!!??

*Breast pads for leaky boobs. *Breast cream for nipples. *Breast soothing pads when milk comes in.

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This nipple care cream is brilliant as you don’t need to wipe off before feeding

*Pads. With wings. The bigger the badder. Even if you don’t give birth vaginally, you still bleed too! So pack them!

*Decent loo paper. Like 3 ply. Seriously want the softest stuff on your delicates. Especially for the postbirth poo.

*Witch hazel and *pump bottle. Put bit of witch hazel into the bottle and fill with warm water. Squeeze onto ya bits in the shower. *And a nice soft flannel. All for cleaning the nether regions. The more you can care for down below, the better. No-one wants to be hospitalised later on for infection. Same goes for C-sections, although I’m sure they give you cleaning and care instructions! So don’t go putting witch hazel on your insicion!

*Eyemask. *Ear plugs. Huh? But I won’t hear my baby I hear you say? Oh yes you will! You will also hear everybloodythingelse on the ward. Other babies, cleaners, visitors, cleaners again. I heard some gossip that possibly shouldn’t have so that was a bit of excitement on ye ole maternity ward floor.

*Decent supportive bra. *Singlets/tops for easy breastfeeding access. Ain’t nobody got time for fumbling around awkwardly in the dark, trying to wrestle clothes off yourself.

*Arnica for bruising/swelling. Orally, not topically. 20170706_140617.jpg

*BB cream for your face or something similar. I am no princess. I don’t wear makeup very often but I put on a tiny bit and felt transformed (Extreme wording, but it did make me feel better).

*Squeezey water bottle for ease of water drinking.

*Kiwi fruit or other poo softeners. Lactolouse worked for me, but do check what’s suitable for you.

*Lollies.

*Little fruit juices boxes. Mmmmmm.

*Decent lip balm! Suuuuuch sore lips from all the grunting/screaming (Jokes. Kinda) through labour. Or the air con.

*Wheatsack for after pains. Those suckers can have you gasping my god am I still in labour?!

*A pen. Exciting.

*Panadol and ibuprofen.

*Pillow from home.

*Jandals for the shower. *Comfy slippers/socks.

*Few big pairs of comfy undies that can be thrown away, Because leakage is going to happen. Also a couple of undies that are high waisted in case you have an emergency C-section. You don’t want elastic band line sitting on your incision!

Most importantly, the things that helped were lots of support, patience and love. Sending it your way Mumma.

 

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