Are you ready to return to exercise? Let's talk about that!
Firstly let's look at your priorities. Are you making healthy choices that will support your body, mind and soul? Are you choosing you, mama bear? So much has changed in your body, it's a time to honour that.
There is SO much pressure for you to bounce back and snap back into your pre-pregnancy jeans and I want to alleviate some of that pressure. There is time, mama. In fact, there is so much time that you don't ever have to do any bouncing or snapping if you prefer not to.
This timeline is to help you gently strengthen and heal your body so that you can get MORE out of life, not take up less space. After all, you deserve to feel utterly fabulous, am I right?!
Before returning to ANY exercise program get clearance from your doctor and pelvic health physiotherapist. Movement is meant to heal you and help you, not set you back!
Weeks 1-4: Easy Does it, rest.
These early days are perfect for allowing your body to do what it is naturally designed to do. Recover on it's own. Speak to your care provider about support garments if you feel you need an extra hand. I'm a huge advocate of cheap shape wear - you don't necessarily need the top of the line stuff. Just something that gives your body some support and a nice firm "hug"
You can use this time to do your pelvic floor exercises a few times a day. It's also a nice time to spend taking deep belly breaths to help restore the core/pelvic floor connection.
Weeks 4-8: Gentle Exercise
This is the perfect time to start getting some fresh air and walking. You can incorporate some gentle resistance exercises that are pelvic floor and tummy safe. I have a guide on the first exercises you can do to incorporate into your routine right here. It's only $7, and it's the very first workouts that you can do to gently strengthen your core, pelvic floor and help your body heal.
Weeks 8-12: You're probably feeling stronger and back to normal
Unless you have any injuries that need specific attention, your body has probably done a great deal of it's own healing so far. This is the time during which you can start adding more of your regular fitness routine back into your repertoire.
Continue working your pelvic floor and strengthening your core, and add some more resistance exercises.
Be sure to choose tummy safe exercises and no planks, situps, v-ups, burpees, crunches, etc just yet.
Weeks 12 onward: Back to sports
By this stage all things being equal you should be feeling pretty much back to your old self. Or perhaps not, you might be taking longer and that's okay too. If you can complete exercise without pain and or incontinence, you can most likely get back into your old routine.
Consider making a few changes to protect your core and pelvic floor. Switch your front planks for side planks, and make sure if you're lifting, you're not holding your breath.
If a movement is making you pee, or push out on your tummy - substitute it out.
There are so many effective ways to move your body that don't hurt you, so be sure to choose them over things that leave you feeling incontinent and sore.