Training for the postpartum demands

Exercise while pregnant should be encouraged to all. The major event of delivery, followed by the marathon that occurs in the postpartum period must be trained for. Consider both the mental and physical strength required for mom. The demands change over the first year, getting increasingly intense. Every mom has a strategy for managing these demands and needs are different for each mom but there are similarities for all…

0-3 months

  • nursing or feeding the baby for hours each day
  • carrying/lifting the baby (10-13 pounds)
  • carrying/lifting the carseat (usually around 30 pounds)
  • housework (cooking, cleaning)

Right now, mom is super sleep deprived but she has some amazing hormones working to keep her going.

3-6 months

  • still nursing or feeding the baby for hours each day
  • still carrying/lifting the baby
  • carrying a carseat (usually around 30 pounds)
  • lifting/pushing/collapsing the stroller
  • housework (cooking, cleaning)

Sleep deprivation continues but hormones are still working in mom’s favor. Helping her push through the difficult times.

6-9 months

  • still nursing or feeding the baby for hours each day
  • possibly introducing solid foods and feeding baby
  • carrying/lifting a now heavier baby (usually around 17 pounds)
  • lots of up and down from the floor, often lifting baby from the floor too
  • maneuvering baby in and out of the carseat and in and out of grocery carts
  • lifting/pushing/collapsing the stroller
  • housework (cooking, cleaning)

Sleep deprivation may start to lessen here as baby starts to sleep longer and longer. Hormones are shifting now and lack of sleep may be a bit more difficult. Also, this is when mom usually starts itching to start exercising and feels body image pressure.

9-12 months

  • baby is typically weaning now so nursing or feeding is less time per day
  • baby is now eating solid foods and may even be able to feed herself
  • carrying/lifting an even heavier baby (usually around 23 pounds)
  • up and down from the floor, carrying baby with her
  • maneuvering baby in and out of the carseat and in and out of grocery carts
  • lifting/pushing and collapsing the stroller
  • housework (cooking, cleaning)

Let’s take one common challenge that is present through all stages. The carseat.

If you don’t have children you may not understand the unique demands of carseat agility. I can remember when the boys were little, not wanting to go anywhere that required a carseat. I had had a c-section and the postpartum sensation of having nothing but mush for a core. Even though I had “exercised” and was “strong” I was unfamiliar with the asymmetrical demand of carrying a carseat. My body did not know that pattern.F

But, I had to do it. I walked everywhere I could. Thank goodness for the Bob stroller! It became my mode of transportation. It was easier to push the boys 2 miles to the store in the stroller than it was to navigate the carseats. Yes, it was good for me, but it could have been a lot easier!

Fortunately with my second twin pregnancy, I knew the demands that were coming and I  prepared my body better. I basically continued what I was doing before I got pregnant with the girls. I felt the effects of being pregnant with twins very early, at about six weeks. The medication I used to stimulate ovulation (that is a story for another day HPA dysfunction) caused abdominal bloating and fluid retention. Although I had closed my diastasic to a one finger gap, it was not functionally strong. I did not have the resilience through my abdominal wall that I do now. So, my diastasis began to split early on.

Below I am about am eight weeks pregnant and performing a tilt matrix with a 6 kg ViPR. This is a great pattern to use both during pregnancy and after. Motherhood demands great mobility in all planes of motion.

Did you know that your mobility in your hips is directly related to your pelvic floor function?

If you don’t have a ViPR you can use a dowel rod or broom stick. Though the ViPR creates a unique load adding resistance which helps your body “remember” the movement better.

Adding a step in multiple directions, think about being in the middle of a clock…12 to 6 , 4 to 10 and 8 to 2 o’clock, helps put a good stress into your pelvic floor. This, coupled with great breathing will help you stay connected to your core throughout pregnancy.

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