Hands down, #1 thing women say to me during and initial intake (even if their kids are toddlers) is some comment about their body, getting into better shape than they’ve ever been in, or something to the tune of ‘lose the fluff.’
Getting real…hormones and genetics rule your body and it’s return to it’s “pre-pregnancy” state. Some women will genetically return to a size 2 or 4 before three weeks postpartum. It’s not that they’re starving themselves, it’s part of their gene pool and it’s what they got going on. Let’s stop shaming the skinny girls. Let’s stop shaming our bodies, in general, pah-leazze.
That leads me to today’s Four Tips:
1. Stop Shaming Your Body.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, YOU GREW AND NOURISHED A BABY! In your body! Even though women have been doing this since the beginning of time, the process of nurturing a pregnant body is mind-blowing! Still. So please, let the reigns go on shaming your body. Shame can lead to more stress, which weakens the adrenals and the thyroid causing your body to go into an inflamed state (which can also cause hypothyroid, exhaustion, depression - cascade of not awesome events). Be really generous and graceful with yourself as you get back into your own body.
2. Bring Your Pelvic Floor Muscles Back UP!
If you have a vaginal delivery, labored for many hours (and had a cesarean birth), or had a pregnancy where the baby sat very low in your pelvis and caused a lot of pelvic pressure, please take this to heart and put it into action.
This is a list of a few activities to avoid at least for the first 4 months postpartum:
NO RUNNING (even after your kids at the park)
NO TROTTING ON A HORSE
NO SOCCER (or sports of the same ilk)
NO HIGH IMPACT AEROBICS CLASSES
NO HEAVY WEIGHT LIFTING
***If you’re an Obstetrical provider, become aware if you push with your clients. Then stop it. Some Physiotherapists recommend avoiding certain activities up to a year postpartum. Why? We want to save you from wearing Depends and Uterine Prolapse when you’re 60. That’s why.
3. Get active with Pilates, Yoga, Barre, Bootcamp or training classes made for the Postpartum Body.
Can I say #bodymedicine? Look in your community for studios or gyms that are going to push you, but also help strengthen the muscles that pull up all the vital organs in your pelvis and your heart as it goes through all the big changes of motherhood.
4. Test and learn about your pelvic floor.
To know if you’re muscles are getting stronger postpartum and if your partner is a man, the best test is the squeeze test during sex. Yep. The Squeeze Test (If you're in a same-sex partnership, take action with your in similar ways):
Basically, when you’re on top and he's fully inside of you, do a kegel...Consciously. If he can tell you where he feels your muscles squeezing his shaft, and it’s closer to the tip than it is his pubic area, then you’re pelvic floor is healing correctly. If he feels you squeeze midway on his shaft, but nothing towards the tip of his penis, then you have more work to do.
If you don’t want to engage his “feelings” and get his feedback during your testing, just do it and if you’ve never done this before he’s likely to say, “WHAT are you DOING!?” Keep doing it…great for toning pelvic muscles.
Other ways to test your pelvic floor help:
- Can you stop your pee mid-stream and on-a-dime, or does it take a while to stop? You want it to be a quick stop, start, stop, start practice.
- Read anything by Tami Kent, MSPT, and put her words into action. She’ll teach you how to test yourself.
- Find a Women’s Health Physical Therapist who specializes in postpartum pelvic floor health and integrate her into your first year postpartum health plan.
One of my oldest friends is a Personal Trainer and owns a gym in Sheridan, WY. I recently asked her what her #1 tip she gives a mom for her postpartum body is and she said, “Patience and love it.” Give it a shot.
Let me know if you’re aware of your pelvic floor health and strength, in the comments below. If not, what is one action you’ll take this week to prevent yourself from buying stock in Depends?
Have a great week and keep it tight!