It takes 9 months to make a baby, it is going to take 9 months to return to normal….. How many times do you hear this postpartum? I HATE this saying because it puts an arbitrary number on when we should be “normal” after birth. Some women will return to their pre-pregnancy size within weeks of giving birth, some will take a year or longer, and some will never return to their pre-pregnancy body. Here’s the thing our bodies change A LOT during pregnancy! Our hips get wider, our feet can grow, our uterus grows by about 500 times it’s original size, our organs get jammed up, our rib cage expands. Some of these changes go back to normal after giving birth but some do not and I want everyone to hear that it is OK to not return to “normal” after having your baby right away or at all. With all the changes in our body from pregnancy and birth we can be suffering from pelvic floor issues, diastasis recti, weakened muscles, and posture issues. We might have stretch marks, loose skin, and wider hips for the rest of our life and I want women to feel comfortable in their body. Working out postpartum should never be about getting to a certain size right away, it should be about repairing our body after birth. Here is a list of 3 things to be aware of postpartum and why it is so important!
1. The baby pooch that people complain about sometimes it is due to Diastasis Recti. So if you don’t know what Diastasis Recti is, it is where our Abdominus Rectus (our outer most frontal abs, usually what you see for 6 pack) are separated. When our abs are separated this allows for our other muscles and organs to push out through this opening causing a bulge. This will not look good and it will cause muscles weakness in our whole core (back, front, and sides). Doing exercises to help close that gap by bringing the Abdominus Rectus together rather than exaggerating it will help repair Diastasis Recti. In some severe cases surgery is required but for most mild and moderate cases it can be healed through time and correct exercise. I went from a 3 finger Diastasis to less than 1 with just exercise! I love this picture because there is no one way Diastasis will look. This is why it is so important to understand how to test for it and how to fix it if you do have it.
2. I’m so glad I am hearing more and more about women being open about pelvic floor issues! Pelvic floor dysfunction is a very common outcome of pregnancy but that does not mean it is normal to suffer with your whole life. Most common things you will hear is peeing when you sneeze, laugh, and jump. But did you know that you can also have the opposite problem of feeling like you are not able to empty your bladder, bowels or having a lot of pain in your pelvic region? It is really important to not only learn to how to strength your pelvic floor but learning how to relax it as well. Breathing is one of the biggest factors in being able to tighten and relaxing muscles. Learning the right exercises that effect the pelvic floor muscles while also using breathing can help improve pelvic floor function. It is definitely not normal to live with pelvic floor dysfunction and it can lead to many more serious issues so please make sure to try and get help to fix it if you are experiencing issues 1 month or 10 years postpartum.
3. Another big issue we face postpartum is our posture. Think about it, we spend so much time bent over taking care of our little ones that we usually feel those pressures in our neck, shoulders, and back. The first part in battling this is being aware of it! I know for me the biggest culprit was breastfeeding. I would get my son latched then just continue to watch him the entire time. That was 20-30 minutes of bent over at the head and shoulders. Talk about text neck lol. Also another popular posture change I see is the carrying of the car seat on our side or once the baby has head control we carrying them on our sides. Typically when we do this we stick our hip out and cause a curve in our back which then can cause back pain and issues with core strength. Like I said being aware of it is the first step. But it is also important to strengthen those muscles to help pull those muscles back and help bring your body to the right centered position.
So, if you ever hear the saying 9 months in, 9 months out saying just ignore them because there is no “normal” timeline. Every mom should feel confident and comfortable in their own skin! I want to help moms get there and make sexy to be strong and feeling good, not based on what size we are.