Weeks 1-4 Postpartum: Can I start working out?
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Ah, one of the top questions I get asked almost every day by almost every new mom I meet. Most of you probably heard the common six-to-eight weeks answer (six weeks after vaginal birth and eight weeks after cesarean), but is it really true?
Taking care of a baby is a lot to handle. You lift, you carry, you bend, you hold, you walk, you bounce and all that jazz, sometimes for hours in a row with no break in between, all to take care of your newborn, and all while not getting much sleep. All of this is a hell of a load for your postpartum body. So let me ask you: Isn’t it ironic that you must do all of that, but you’re also being told you cannot do anything active during this time?
I’m not saying you need to take a bootcamp class now. Absolutely not! But I do want to ask you to take those moves that you are doing anyway, and the intensity (which should be low of course), and turn them into a gentle, safe and appropriate postpartum body activation. Not a workout, but a mindful physical activity.
For those of you who are still not convinced that it’s safe, just think about the amount of time you spent holding your baby / feeding / changing a diaper in the past 24 hours. This is all physical activity, that is probably making your body ache and stiff as time goes by. So what I want to ask you is to add some conscious movements to the mix, moves that will make you feel so much better, that will make you feel stronger and reduce the aches and discomfort. Not to mention encourage your body to a faster healing and shorten your way back to your favorite jeans ;)
I promise not to send you for burpees right now, but here’s what I do want you to do in those first weeks right after giving birth: Move. Mobility exercises will help you increase range of motion, release aches and will help open up those tight areas. Breathe. Deep breathing practice will reactivate your diaphragm and other core muscles, which will later help with posture and abdominal separation. Listen to your body. This one is probably the most important rule of all. At the end of the day, YOU know exactly how long you got to sleep last night, if something is bothering you or if you are just not up for it yet. Although I highly recommend that you do start with movement and breathes, you are the boss. Your body, your call.
So should you wait for 6-8 weeks postpartum before working out? Absolutely yes. Should you wait those 6-8 before you do gentle body activation? Not at all, you can start from day one :)
And to make it a bit easier on you, check out this playlist I made especially for you: