My Top 5 Tips for Healing Your body after Pregnancy

It was over 5-years ago now but I can still remember the shock (and exhaustion!) I felt after giving birth to my beautiful daughter Imogen in July 2011. I was fit and healthy during my pregnancy and at my post-delivery checkup my doctor assured me I was healing normally, but normal didn’t feel quite as easy as I had anticipated! Our pre-natal education classes focus almost entirely on the birth itself, with little mention of the 4th Trimester (the post-natal period). However, understanding the recovery process can help you feel less stressed about the changes taking place in your body, and better able to focus on your baby.

I know you would like to get your body, health and your energy back, I get it I’ve been there! So I have written this blog which includes my 5 Top Tips to help guide you through this exciting, emotional and somewhat exhausting few months to help get your body back to how it was before you had your baby.

(1.) Eat well and nourish your body

I completely understand that this is very difficult in the post-natal period which is why I often ask my clients to prepare as much food as they can in advance of the birth of their baby. Freeze as many home-cooked and healthy soups, casseroles and meals as you can, freeze some lean and clean protein balls or snack bars and have your smoothie recipes and protein powder to hand ready for smoothie making. I found smoothies an excellent choice for breakfast after Imogen was born as I could drink it throughout the morning and if she was crying it didn’t go soggy or cold! If you eat well during the 4th Trimester you will give your body the nutrients and amino acids it needs to heal and repair so you can rebuild your strength back up again.

(2.) Post-Natal Healing

Depending on whether you have had a Vaginal or C-Section it will take you somewhere between six to ten weeks to bounce back from the birth of your baby, but you may in fact need more time to heal from bruising, swelling, episiotomy stitches and sore muscles. I had a natural birth so from two weeks post-natal would often have a postpartum sitz bath to aid with healing. I filled a shallow tub filled with warm water and a small handful of Epsom salts and this really helped with recovery where I had my stitches. If you have had a c-section please check with your GP before having a sitz bath.

(3.) Rest, Mindset and Recuperation

No matter how your baby arrives you may have mild cramping as your uterus slowly contracts back to its usual size, shape and position. You may also lose some hair, develop acne, feel tearful, and have night sweats until your hormones return to normal. While you and your baby are learning to breastfeed you may also temporarily experience sore nipples and engorgement. It is so important to rest as much as you can during this period to help your body recover. I know it is almost impossible to get a full eight hours of sleep when you have a baby, especially a newborn, but feeling stressed and tired can make it harder for you to shed the baby weight! Many of the new mums I meet who are exhausted find it much harder to take good care of themselves, which is why it is so important to rest whenever you can. Rest could be a 10-minute power nap, a 5-minute mediation or just getting yourself to bed super early to bag a few hours of sleep before the night begins.

(4.) Strengthen your Pelvic floor

Pelvic floor exercises are essential to regain muscle tone to avoid incontinence, and specially designed pelvic floor exercises can help aid recovery so it’s important to do them as often as you can (every day in the first 12 weeks if possible!). It is also important to be aware that the muscles will have been stretched a lot if you had a natural birth so it may be difficult to feel the muscles straight away but if you persevere the feeling will come back either a few days in or it might take a few weeks.

Here are a couple of Pelvic Floor exercises for you to try which will help you build the strength you need to be able to start doing more intense exercise again without damaging your pelvic floor muscles. You can fit them into your every day life by doing them in wherever you can, for example, while you are breast-feeding or watching TV!!

Squeeze and Release

Tighten the same muscles you would use to hold back your urine, hold for a few seconds then slowly release. Aim to hold the contraction for 4 seconds and as they get easier hold for up to 10 seconds, and try to do about 25 a day. Make sure you keep the muscles in your bottom relaxed so you really focus on the muscles in your pelvic floor.

Pelvic Tilts

These strengthen abdominals and improve posture. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Raise your hips off the floor starting with your tailbone and slowly lifting one vertebra at a time until only your waist is resting on the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and slowly return to starting position. Begin with 8 and work up to as many as 25.

(5.) Take it slow with your post-natal exercise regime even if you feel better fast.

Ease into your new routine with help from family and friends. You’ll be sore right after the birth and you will need to wait somewhere between 6-10 weeks to do rigorous exercise until you have had the okay from your doctor. You need sufficient rest to recover from your labour and birth, and for the muscles and ligaments that hold your uterus in place to regain their strength! It is important to remember that everyone is different and that these are only guidelines, but when you do start your post-natal exercise regime though ensure you start slowly, making small manageable changes to your lifestyle and giving your body time to heal. If you were fit during your pregnancy you should start to see results sooner with your post-natal exercises.

I completely understand it may seem like a challenge at first to find the time to lead a physically active and healthy lifestyle as a new mum, but there are many benefits. You will…

Get your pre baby body back!

Trim inches and tone up

Flatten and heal your stomach muscles (see one of my other blog pages http://www.truevitality4mums.com/diastasis-recti/ for more information on this

Increase energy levels Increase your confidence Improve your mindset and happiness.

Provide your children with an excellent example of how to stay healthy! These are a few of the most important things that helped me recover from the birth of your baby.

I know it can seem daunting at times and that it is a long road ahead but if you follow these I promise you will bounce back just like I did! If you have any questions about any of this please feel free to email me, laura@truevitality4mums.com

 

Love Laura xx

 

 

If you do feel you need help with your post-natal health and fitness you can also check out the True Vitality 4 Mums 12-Week Transformation Programme here ===>>> http://www.truevitality4mums.com/programmes/

 

 

 

All content, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

 

 

Don’t worry if you didn’t exercise throughout your pregnancy and have a fit pregnancy, you can still lose the baby weight, strengthen your core and pelvic floor and get your body back with the correct nutrition and post-natal exercise. For more information about the True Vitality 4 Mums 12 Week Transformation Programme please email laura@truevitality4mums.com xx