I am going to first start off by saying that I am not a medical professional and before starting exercise after birth it is a good decision to consult your physician.
That being said, I feel that a woman’s body is widely underestimated. We are allowed to continue exercise throughout pregnancy as long as it was considered normal to us before we got pregnant. For me, I participated in pilates and yoga about 5-10 hour a week throughout my entire pregnancy. I listened to my body and took breaks when I needed them, but for the most part I kept up with my fitness levels. Towards the end of my pregnancy I went for long walks a few times a week and found that it drastically decreased my back pain and sciatica. This got me thinking. You can be this active while carrying your baby inside you, but once you give birth you are only allowed to walk for six weeks? It didn’t make any sense to me at all! I understand that everyone heals differently, and given the intensity of your labor and delivery it may change the timeline you have to getting back in shape, especially for those mammas out there who end up having a cesarian delivery.
My labor was just a little over 14 hours long. I was in active labor for four hours and pushed for about an hour and a half. I had very minimal tearing and was up and in the shower about 3 hours after giving birth. My labor and delivery although still very tough was not as bad as others. I was generally pretty comfortable until the last three hours and my partner made the experience so incredible for me. After birth I was very sore getting in and out of bed for several days. We were discharged to go home 36 hours after delivery. Two days after being released we took a small family walk to get ice cream, about a mile or so round trip, and I was definitely noticing that I got more tired than before I had delivered. When I got home I had enjoyed a bottle of ice water and put my feet up to rest. Flash forward about a week and I tried my first ab workout. Needless to say it was very tough for me. I had to listen to my body and take plenty of breaks in between. I only completed five minutes worth of an ab workout but I felt amazing.
In my personal opinion if you are good at listening to your own body and can slowly get back in to shape you should do it. There is obviously no need to spend hours at the gym as your body is still trying to heal from delivery, but moderate exercise that makes you feel good should be celebrated. We spend nine months growing a human being inside of us. If you don’t want to take six weeks off from training then find something that works for you.
I am officially 2 weeks and 2 days postpartum and have been actively participating in gentle yoga and modified pilates workouts for 1 whole week. I feel fantastic, energized and excited to start my journey back to fitness. I of course have marks from stretching during pregnancy but I would never give that up for anything when looking in to my child’s eyes. The marks will eventually fade, but it will always be a constant reminder that my body created life, and underwent an incredible transformation to give me the opportunity to have a family. That is priceless to me. Our bodies are capable of things beyond our wildest dreams, listen to how you are feeling, and never be afraid to question the answer that someone gives you. If it feels good, and makes you feel good then why is it so bad to begin to incorporate fitness back in to your life.
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