The post-partum period can be a challenging period for if you are a new mother. After spending 9 months carrying your little bundle of joy, you may be awaiting the 6-week mark that your physician sets for you to resume exercise to shed that baby weight. It is important for new mothers to know that this period is a crucial period of recovery mentally and physically, especially when transitioning from your body's state during pregnancy.
Before you jump into a HIIT class or 6-minute core circuit you found on YouTube, there are 3 things you should know to safely return to exercise.
1. Get checked for Diastasis Recti.
Your rectus abdominus or "6-pack muscle" expands from the tension caused from your growing baby during pregnancy. As a result this can cause a widening and separation of the linea alba, which runs down the middle of abdominal wall. This is called diastasis recti and this can result in the appearance of a "pooch" and affect your core stability. Your body has to regain its ability to stabilize itself so that you can move efficiently and resume higher intensity exercises such as running or cardio-circuit workouts.
If you are unsure if you have diastasis recti, you can find a women's heath physical therapist who can assess you and prescribe an appropriate exercise program.
2. Start with foundational abdominal exercises.
As mentioned before, crunches and planks are not the best exercises to do right away if you want to tone your abdominals. You want to prevent any further separation of your linea alba, you will want to focus on strengthening the transverse abdominus (TA) for stability and support. You want to avoid any exercises that involve crunches and head lifting until you are able to demonstrate the ability to contract the TA in any static and dynamic position.
3. Find a team to help you with your postpartum fitness goals!
There are a wide variety of health and fitness professionals who are trained to work specifically with post-partum women including physical therapists, pilates instructors and personal training. It is important to work with someone who is experienced in working post-partum conditions such as diastasis recti and incontinence to safely return back to regular exercise!
At PhysioElements, we offer a Core Elements Program for women to help them transition out of the post-partum phase of pregnancy. We provide services such as orthopedic physical therapy, pelvic floor physical therapy, pilates, yoga and personal training. During your initial evaluation ,we screen for diastasis recti, pelvic floor conditions such incontinence and organ prolapse and overall general fitness. We will work with you to create a specialized program to help you reach your pregnancy goals!
For more details and to schedule your Core Elements initial evaluation, please contact us here or call 516-365-3455.