The Postpartum recovery period It comes with its own set of physical changes.
Muscles remain longer and “softer” even after childbirth (thanks to the hormone relaxin) – which means moms-to-be may struggle with muscle atrophy, poor posture, body aches, and general fatigue.
This is where a Fitness specialist before and after birth (Like you) come.
that Emerging body of evidence It is suggested that exercising after pregnancy brings a plethora of health benefits to the new mother. This includes reduced fatigue, improved mood, and even a lower risk of developing chronic health conditions in the future.
However, many postpartum clients may have reservations about returning to an exercise routine. They may even question the safety of postpartum exercise.
Therefore, in this article, we outline some key pointers that will help you better support a postpartum client who is looking to make physical activity a part of their life – again.
When should postpartum patients start exercising?
according to American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)Mothers should return to their pre-pregnancy exercise regimen as soon as it is medically and physically safe to do so.
The time it takes for a postpartum client to become “safe” varies.
Some women can resume exercise within days of giving birth, while others may need to postpone for a few weeks (or even months).
That’s pretty much Depends on how they are delivered. Current guidance suggests that women who have given birth vaginally can expect to resume all normal activities – including exercise – by six weeks after giving birth, while women who have given birth by cesarean delivery may have to wait a little longer.
Note, however, that you shouldn’t be the one deciding when moms should be back on their fitness journeys. This is beyond your scope as a prenatal and postpartum fitness professional.
Always make sure your client has had all clarity to resume physical activities from their healthcare provider before beginning a routine.
Tips to ensure a safe return to exercise for postpartum clients
When designing a suitable fitness program for a postpartum client, you should always be aware that the period immediately following childbirth is a transitional period. Your client’s body is still trying to get back to normal after experiencing the stress of pregnancy.
That’s why you should keep the following tips in mind before making exercise recommendations.
It’s normal for postpartum users to want to get back into their pre-pregnancy bodies as quickly as possible – but that’s not always a wise idea.
Just as it took time for him to grow and give birth to a child, it will take time for him to recover. That’s why you need to set realistic expectations right from the start. Make it clear that the primary goal after delivery is not for the client to return to their pre-pregnancy fitness immediately – but rather, self-care and recovery.
Thus, the fitness routine you develop for your postpartum client should reflect this.
Start your client slowly with low-impact activities such as the following:
- Low-impact cardiovascular exercises: Walking on a treadmill, riding a bicycle, and even riding a bike
- Low-impact bodyweight exercises: Squatting, lunging, and kneeling push-ups
In addition to the client’s delivery method (for example, a cesarean or vaginal delivery), there is another factor that determines how quickly you can increase the intensity of your workouts: fitness activity before and during pregnancy.
Typically, clients who have good prenatal fitness habits — and some degree of conditioning — are likely to have an easier transition into fitness.
Prioritize core and pelvic floor exercises
It is common for postpartum patients to experience a separation of the abdominal muscles, specifically the rectus abdominis (ie the six-pack muscles).
a Study 2015 She points out that almost all women experience a separation of the right and left abdominal muscles at the end of pregnancy – and that as many as 39% still have some level of separation at six months postpartum!
This is particularly concerning, given that core strength is essential to overall health and basic fitness.
As such, any routine you design for a postpartum client should focus on strengthening the transverse abdominis (the deepest muscles of the core). This will help your client regain much-needed strength and stability in the core area.
However, no old exercises will be appropriate.
If your client’s pelvic floor is weak, apply intra-abdominal pressure through exercises that involve spinal flexion (such as crunches and abdominals) It can lead to excessive pressure on the pelvic floor, which inhibits healing or even leads to a chance of organ prolapse.
Examples of proper abdominal muscle exercises after childbirth include abdominal breathing, abdominal strengthening, pelvic tilts, and side planks.
It is also a good idea to include exercises that will help your client to re-acquaint and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles (eg, Kegels).
Additional Considerations for Breastfeeding Clients
It is common for clients who are breastfeeding to worry about the effect of exercise on their milk supply.
So, you have to assure your customers that Research showed that moderate exercise does not alter breast milk production.
However, for nursing clients (who produce about a quart of breast milk per day), staying hydrated is important. make sure they Drink enough waterAnd fluids in general – before and after exercise.
And of course, it would be nice to have a nurse from the client before the session.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not because exercise (as long as it is moderate to high intensity, not intense) will change the quality of breast milk; It comes down to the simple fact that it is uncomfortable to exercise with full and engorged breasts.
Watch out for the tags the customer pays hard
Regularly check with your customer.
This will help you determine if the fitness routine you’ve designed for them pushes them too much, too early – and allows you to make the necessary adjustments to the plan.
Recognize your client with the usual red flag signs: pain, bleeding, leakage, and heaviness in the pelvis. Let them know they should bring these matters to the attention of you (and your primary care team).
Also, remind your client that they should always stop exercising if they feel dizzy or lightheaded. The customer should also pay attention to changes in milk production. As mentioned earlier, proper exercise intensity should not affect your milk supply.
As such, a sudden drop in a customer’s milk production could indicate that he is pressing too hard, too quickly.
Be aware of their challenges
The postpartum period can be a very challenging period for new mothers.
according to American Psychological Association (APA)One in seven new mothers will experience postpartum depression (PDD).
What’s more, even those without diagnosable depression will likely experience hormonal changes and possible mood swings as a new mom.
These mood imbalances can lead to a general lack of interest in keeping up with a fitness routine.
This is made worse by one of the most important barriers to postpartum practice: child care. Your customer cannot leave the child alone at home while they are training with you.
Some of the ways you can support clients in better incorporating exercise and physical activity into their lives at in a way that makes sense to them Includes:
- Ask about their daily activities and suggest ways to increase physical activity, rather than regular, planned exercise. For example, you could have your client go out regularly for a walk around the neighborhood while holding the baby.
- If in-person training sessions are not an option, ask them if they are interested in home, app-based, or web-based training programs.
Ultimately, you may also want to get the message across that all types of physical activity are beneficial.
Working with clients on their postpartum fitness is not as difficult as it seems.
But it definitely requires you to be more aware and understanding of the challenges that new moms face. Only then can you come up with a training approach that best meets their needs – both physically and emotionally.