You are a brave mommy and you are building a new life for you and your baby, as good as you can! You both need to be healthy and happy so is important that you have a full recovery process: mind and body together.
Mental well being after pregnancy
Guidelines for mental/emotional recovery
1. Manage expectations: Your body, mental state and diet might not be the same as before pregnancy.
Acknowledge that for the next period of time, you might have some extra kilos, you might experience hair loss, might need to avoid some foods and your workout routine will have to change. Just because you are not fit in no time, doesn’t mean you are not doing your best.
Be kind to yourself and lower your expectations. Give time some time.
2.Accept emotions: You might be more emotional and experience changes in your mood.
You can switch from pure happiness, to worry, sadness, joy, irritability…and the carousel can go on and on, even more times per day. It is normal. Don’t take this mood swings as definitive. Allow yourself to feel them, express them and address them with the help of others (family, friends or a professional).
Important: If any of your emotions incapacitates you in doing your basic activities, for longer than two weeks, be sure to contact a health professional.
3. Ask for help: You will be tired.
The best thing to do is be assertive and ask for help with the baby so you can and get as much rest as you can. In case that it is impossible, just remember that this faze will not last forever. Everything seems more difficult when we don’t get enough sleep, but at some point you will be able to sleep again through the entire night.
4. Don’t expect to look/feel/smell perfect.
All of a sudden, your baby needs you available 24 hours per day, so don’t judge yourself if you didn’t have time to be clean all the time, look pretty or do a long workout. Would it be fair to ask the same efficiency you had before pregnancy, in the current situation? Give yourself time to do things step by step. You are still you.
5. Be flexible: indulgence towards yourself is key in getting back on track fast.
Asking for too much too soon, will only add extra pressure or anxiety. Some days you will be able to do a workout, others you will eat healthy, others you will sleep better or look great. And others, not. Any feeling of guilt will only affect your resources and motivation to be back in shape soon.
Exercise after pregnancy
Guidelines for recovery
There are two very important aspects in postpartum recovery
1. Always start an exercise program after your doctor assured you that is safe at the moment. Some women are good to go in a few days postpartum, others might have restrictions for many weeks.
2. If your doctor allowed it, exercise is great for you, even if you feel tired or you lack energy.
You might be tempted to avoid physical activity in order not to become more tired, to consume even more energy or cause more muscle pain in your body. It is exactly the opposite.
These are only a few reasons to exercise:
- increase a positive attitude towards your body,
- increase positive emotions and fight with postpartum depression symptoms
- increase self esteem,
- boost energy level,
- increase general strength level,
- release back pain,
- hurry the weight loss process after pregnancy
- create the time and space for you to connect with your mind and body ina a time of big changes
- helps you hold and lift your baby better and with more comfort
- reduce Diastasis Recti
What is Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis recti, or rectus abdominis diastasis, is defined as a gap of about 2.7cm or greater between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle.
RAD is relatively common and causes a negative impact on women’s health during and after pregnancy (ante-and postnatal periods). It is caused by the stretching of the rectus abdominis by the growing uterus (because of your baby’s growth). In some cases this condition needs intervention and left untreated can cause, even after months or years, upsetting consequences, like:
-predisposition to injury in your lumbar spine,
-pain in the lower back,
-pain in the abdominal and pelvic region,
-pelvic floor muscle weakness,
– poor posture,
-less trunk and pelvic stabilization and overall reduced function.
So if you are experiencing any of these, proper core strength exercises might improve the quality of your life.
Postural and core strength exercises might reduce your back pain, reduce the diastasis, build up stronger core muscles, more power and endurance in active activities, carrying groceries, climbing stairs, carrying your baby, walking, bathing, dressing.
Examples of core strength exercises
Always check with your physician if this exercise is suited for your personal case, at your specific moment after giving birth.
1. Izometric abdominal contraction- standing or sitting
2. Pelvic floor contraction
3. Diafragmatic breathing
4. Pelvic rocking
5. Leg slide exercise
When can you can combine this initial exercises with more general post partum exercices?
Physiologists suggest that most women can return to their normal exercise programs after receiving medical clearance at their first postnatal check-up.
1. Side knee raises
2. Glute bridge
3. Bird dog
4. Standing push-up
5. Squat against the wall or chair
6. Sitting or squatting ball squeeze between the legs
7. Shoulder lateral raises
Just avoid sit-ups and crunches, running, jumping, HIIT in the first weeks.
A safe process to start your exercise routine: if your doctor approved, start with what you were doing in your third trimester. If it was safe and familiar then, should be the safe now. Then move slowly towards the intensity you had in your second trimester. And so on, until you are back to your normal fitness level.
Nutrition after pregnancy
For more than 20 years, evidence has shown that women who have combined an exercise program with a nutrition program had had an increased percentage of weight loss than women who didn’t follow any program.
Here are some general guidelines
1.Strict dieting soon after giving birth will not help you.
You might lose weight faster, but breastfeeding and lack of sleep consume calories, so the disadvantages of not having enough nutrients and energy for you and your baby is not worth it.
Of course, that is not an excuse to eat anything, mostly if it is fried, full of sugar, or has no nutrients.
So, the best thing is to have a variety of foods, from natural sources and to include good sources of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
In case you or your baby have any symptoms of sensitivity or allergies, consult your physician.
2. Consume good sources of FAT: avocado, vegetable oils:olive oil, flax seed oil, pressed oils from nuts and seeds, cashew nuts: ; good sources of CARBOHYDRATES : potatos, sweet potatoes, lentils, banana, beans, oats, brown rice, whole pasta and whole bread, quinoa, vegetables.; good sources of PROTEIN: eggs, fish, white meat, cheese, nuts, seeds;
A final word
After doing everything you do every day, as good as you can, as a hero mommy, find a moment for yourself each day. For a few seconds, just remember who you are and remember three things that you are grateful for. Keep them in mind and enjoy your little one!
This resource does not constitute advice from your physician or health care professional and it is not intended to replace the advice or counsel of your personal physician or health care professional. You should consult with, and rely only on the advice of, physicians or health care professionals familiar with your particular condition.
For a free personal assessment and a personal coaching/training session you can send a private message at firstname.lastname@example.org
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