In this, the first of a series of posts, Elaine Tipple shares her post natal recovery plan following the birth of her second child, Harrison.
Elaine is a fully certified Stott Pilates Teacher and specialises in Pre & Post Natal Pilates, Post Breast Cancer Recovery and Clinical Pilates.
Hi Everyone! Elaine here, back to the real world (kind of) at Platinum HQ!
I signed off my Platinum duties some weeks ago, to have my 2nd little one Harrison, now 6 weeks old today. I have really enjoyed those first few weeks of getting to know him, while properly heeding the oft given advice to rest, eat well, and exercise gently.
Now, however, I feel ready to commit to a focused plan of action, for a return to the more stable, stronger, leaner body I had before pregnancy! I hope all you soon-to-be moms and brand new moms at Platinum will join me!
Each week, for the next 12–16 weeks, my weekly blog will share my training tips & exercise plans as I journey through my 4th Trimester, back to pre-pregnancy strength & fitness. I also have a small weight-loss goal of approximately 7lbs, so I will be sharing both my own nutrition advice & recipes, as well as recipes already contributed by our regular Foodie Bloggers here at Platinum Pilates – Annie, Audrey, Hayley to name a few.
It is not all about me though – the blog is geared to help all you soon-to-be moms and brand new moms out there, through your 4th Trimester too. There are no extra gym memberships needed, the postnatal-friendly exercise plans can be done at home, outdoors or participated in, at the wonderful studios of Platinum Pilates.
The home plans are Pilates and Barre-inspired workouts, to help initiate the rehabilitation of the pelvic floor muscles, abdominals and joints. These plans are best complimented by walking initially, and when you feel ready, by attending any of our (intensity-appropriate) Reformer or Barre Classes at Platinum Pilates, or intensity-appropriate cardio training of your choice.
And for those who want to follow on with something a little more intensive, I will be showing you Strength & Conditioning programmes, from both our Personal Training facilities and private studio rooms, housing the Cadillac, Towers, Chair & Barrels.
The 4th trimester of pregnancy
The ‘4th Trimester’ is said to refer to those first 3–4 months post-birth, when your new baby is adapting to its’ existence outside the womb, and you are adapting to the changes (physical, emotional & social), that your new baby brings to you.
For a new mum, it is a hugely important time of physical healing, recovery and adjustment, with as many physical changes occurring in the 4th Trimester (and beyond), as happen during the 3 trimesters of Pregnancy itself.
Resuming a training programme during this time (especially if you were a keen exerciser before and/or during your pregnancy), may be something that is important to you.
Post-pregnancy workouts (even something as simple as regular walking) are crucial for physical function as well as mental well-being.
However, regardless of what type of exercise or activity normally floats your boat, it is wise to respect the limitations your body holds immediately after birth, and in the weeks following it.
The most common mistakes made with postnatal training
I think it is important to mention, that given these physical limitations, you may possibly need to expand your ideas of what exercise is (especially if you were a frequent or intense-type of exercise before pregnancy).
I know I had to, after taking the wrong approach, 3 years ago, following my daughters’ birth. – Yes, this is the honest admission from a trained fitness professional, who did not heed the advice she doles out to her clients and who really should have known better!!
Most women, myself included in their hurried quest for their pre-baby figures and stomachs, rush to fix it with intense, sweaty workouts.
Here are some of the mistakes I have noticed and learned
- Disregard the stress that the core & pelvic floor muscles (PFM) have endured during the pregnancy, labour and delivery – and how unstable it has actually left their body (yup, guilty of this one!)
- Are unaware it takes a minimum of 4 – 6 months for the PFM to heal after pregnancy
- Are not aware of the presence of Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) – a common abdominal muscle separation, which occurs during pregnancy
- Do not understand the extra direct stress which can be caused by inappropriate abdominal training, to the DRA & PFM and how this can lead to Pelvic Floor Dysfunctions such as Stress Incontinence, Prolapse, SI Joint disorders, persistent low back pain
- Ignore how physiologically compromised a tired mind & body can be (through lack of sleep, breastfeeding, hormonal fluctuations, a tetchy baby), yet return to training too soon
- Return to High Intensity exercise too soon – e.g. Advanced Reformer, Running, High Intensity Weight Training, etc. (yup, I was guilty of all this too)
- Do not investigate lingering niggles, pains or discomforts in timely fashion, further compounding joint weaknesses & muscle imbalances that were setting in
- Repeatedly perform imbalanced workouts, inconsiderate of the daily repetitive stress of lifting & caring for a growing baby e.g. too much stretching, not enough strengthening
OK, so what can you do?
Check in tomorrow for Week 1 of my Blog – ‘Pelvic Floor Restoration’, the first phase of Programme 1, which you can start the day you give birth!