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April 22, 2020
We are so excited to have a guest post to share today from the one and only Wendy Foster. You can read her bio below, but basically, she’s the founder of Mamalates Online, the queen of postpartum rehab and, such a lovely human being.
Although the advice below is catered toward the brand new mama, these are things we all should be doing, at all phases of life, to keep our core strong and prevent injury.
Thank you, Wendy! Let’s dive in!
Wendy Foster is the founder of Mamalates Online – a video streaming site for prenatal and postpartum wellness. As a licensed Pilates Instructor with over 20 years in health and fitness, she is a Birth Recovery Specialist who is passionate about helping mom’s find safe exercise and wellness options for motherhood. She is the mother of 2 active boys and lives in Portland, OR.
When you hear “postpartum workout” or “after baby exercise”, you may have a preconceived idea of what that looks like.
For many women, the idea of strapping on running shoes or sashaying back into barre in those early months sounds unimaginably exhausting. And we get it! You carried a baby for 9 (ish) months, birthed a human, and you’re just trying to get some sleep and figure this mom thing out. It’s ok to take your time.
When you do feel ready to resurface and integrate a little more movement into your life, start slowly. Don’t jump back into your pre-pregnancy workout. Now is a perfect time to start fresh and rebuild a foundation of strength and endurance.
TIP #1 START WITH BREATH
Proper breathing can make or break your recovery. If you are a breath holder your shoulders may never relax and tension will be all you know. If you are a belly breather, you may have more challenges recovering from separated abdominals (diastasis recti).
Try using a Pilates-inspired breath by inhaling through your nose, expanding the sides and backs of ribs, then exhaling through your mouth. This is the beginnings of a deep, diaphragmatic breath.
When you lift your babe (or anything heavy), do so on the EXHALE. Save the INHALE for lengthening and preparing for the activity. Proper breathing technique is something that can be started the day your little bundle of love is born.
TIP #2 REALIGN
After baby is born, your shoulders may be rounded and your low back may feel over arched. If you lay down on the floor and start banging out crunches in this position, you are just going to exacerbate already existing back conditions, neck pain, etc. Take a few minutes before you start each workout to make sure you are aligned as possible to prevent exacerbating any structural issues and for the most efficient workout.
One way to adjust your alignment is with a foam roller. Rolling out your muscles helps release and lengthen fascia. When you lay down on the roller, face-up, your bra strap should be in contact without your shoulders rounding forward.
To check your standing posture, ensure that your weight is back on your heels, ribs are over pelvis and ear lobes are over shoulders.
TIP #3 MODIFY
Now that you have your breathing down and your posture in line, you are ready to get moving. However, when you head back into that yoga, barre or Zumba, remember that you may still have weakness (or tightness) in certain areas. You will likely need to modify your poses and possibly reduce your range of motion- especially when it comes to twisting and core work. If something doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.
If it is determined that you DO have diastasis recti, avoid crunches, scooping or movements that cause your abdominals to bulge. Modify with side-lying core work or engaging your core through breath and one-legged toe taps. As you strengthen the connective tissue of your core, you will eventually be able to do more advanced variations.
For more information check out the Mamalates Essential Birth Recovery Course. This course is OB/GYN endorsed and is designed for those early weeks and months postpartum.
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