Our bodies after babies

I haven’t posted anything this week…how did it get to be Thursday? How did it get to be the end of November? How did it get to be the end of the year? Sheesh. Recently, I was sitting in my car outside the entrance to the park while Harry was pretend driving – perhaps one the most fun activities ever, who needs the park, we have a steering wheel, and this dad walked by walking his two dogs. I know he was a dad, because he stopped and said wistfully, oh, I remember when my boys were that little and loved to drive the car. I just dropped them off at school and …  At this time I was trying desperately to coax el Senor out of the car and this nice guys dogs were a great lure. We continued talking and I was probably moaning about how endless the days seemed right now and he said “with kids, long days, short years.” Golly, as soon as he said it, it seemed to be the truest thing I’ve heard in ages – H isn’t even 2 yet and I can already feel how fast time is flying.

Anyway – that wasn’t the point of this post. Here’s a GREAT article from Lisa Druxman, founding mom of Stroller Strides about post natal exercise and how our bodies change so dramatically post pregnancy and what we need to do differently (aside from everything) with our workouts.

My Body After Baby.

Whether you like it or not, your life will change after having a baby. Beyond that, your workout should change as well! Being a mom is simply not good on your body. As a mom, you have a weight (the baby) that you carry around everywhere you go. You’re sleep deprived, recovering from pregnancy and labor and doing all kinds of mommy movements that you have not done before. This combination can lead to all kinds of aches and pains and progressively poor posture. By teaching you how to move through motherhood and working out to address these new challenges, you will be stronger, healthier and happier.

Why is my workout from before pregnancy not ok now?

Postural Changes
– Many changes have happened to your body during pregnancy. The weight of your uterus, your baby and your growing breasts have probably pulled your posture out of alignment. Your hips have probably tilted forward (an anterior pelvic tilt) and your shoulders are probably rounded. Almost 80% of women complain of back pain during or after pregnancy. Much of that pain comes from this postural mal-alignment. Your workout should focus on strengthening your back muscles to pull and stretching your chest and hip flexors.

Your Pelvic Floor – The weight of the baby and uterus and childbirth have probably weakened your pelvic floor muscles. That is why kegels and other pelvic floor exercises are not only important during pregnancy but throughout your life after having a baby.

Your Tummy – Are your abs ever going to look the same again? Not without targeted work. You have lost great strength in your abs during pregnancy. And, most moms experience as diastesis (a separation of their abdominal wall). It’s important to find exercises that “knit” these muscles back together. Jumping in to your old ab workout may exacerbate the problem.

Why do I feel worse now than when I was pregnant?
There are many reasons for not feeling good after having a baby. Postpartum depression, a feeling of being overwhelmed and lack of sleep are just a few that you may think of. However, many of the movements of motherhood cause your body not to feel good.

  • Pushing Stroller – Most moms hunch over when pushing a stroller. It’s important to use good posture and form.
  • Carrying Baby – Make sure to balance baby on both sides. Holding baby on the hip and with one arm can cause muscular imbalances.
  • Nursing / Feeding – Bring baby up to you using pillow / nursing props and a proper chair. Hunching over to baby will give you back and posture problems.
  • Carrying car seat – Unfortunately, these indispensable items also wreak  havoc on our bodies. Hold your car seat carrier like a laundry basket whenever possible so that your body is balanced. If you hold it with one arm, be careful to keep spine in neutral alignment.
  • Front Pack Carrier – Worn correctly, this can be a great workout. Worn incorrectly it can be a postural pain. Keep spine in neutral and abs pulled in. Make sure to pull shoulders back and not round forward.

As excited as new moms are about the birth of their baby, they also can’t believe the body that’s been left behind. Our round, voluptuous body seemed beautiful while pregnant and seems like bread dough after labor. What makes matters worse is that new moms 1) don’t have time to do traditional exercise and 2) shouldn’t be dieting. Your body has undergone a tremendous amount during pregnancy, so the last thing you should do is deprive it of precious nutrients. But yes, there is hope. A general rule of thumb for the postnatal mom is that if it feels good, it’s ok to do. If you have an increase in bleeding or feel depleted from the workout, then you have probably done too much. The more you move, the more calories you burn. It’s consistency that counts; not where you do it. Try to be active in whatever you do. Your workouts may change with motherhood, but it’s now when you need it most.

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Filed under fitness, mom stuff, Prospect Park, Stroller Strides

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