Have you been on the Google asking…
“What are some diastasis safe exercises?”
Or “What’s safe for prolapse?”
Or “What exercises should I avoid postpartum?”
Or “I just had a baby can I do _______________ (CrossFit, yoga, weight training, Pilates, Barre, running…)?”
It can all be so confusing and overwhelming, right?
You’re trying to do the right thing. You’re trying to be smart about this. But with so many conflicting and confusing opinions, how do you know what’s best for your body?
Well the truth is it all comes down to 3 clear questions.
- What strategies are you using while you’re doing _________________ ?
- Are you getting any symptoms or issues during or after you do ________________ ?
- Why do you want to do ________________ ?
These questions can help guide you to choose the best option for you.
Because there unfortunately isn’t a step-by-step “this works for everyone who has ___________ (diastasis, prolapse, leaking)” or “this is safe for all postpartum moms” workout that works in every situation.
Every mom is different.
Every postpartum is different.
But at the end of the day, whatever you’re doing, we want to ensure that you’re using awesome strategies to support your body and help with healing – even if you don’t have any symptoms or issues at all.
So when you go to do _____________ (yoga, CrossFit, Pilates…) be mindful of these questions.
How are you breathing?
Is your core and pelvic floor turning on automatically as you move through that squat or do you still need to work on that brain-muscle connection to help your body and mind reconnect?
Because sometimes our core and pelvic floor need some gentle nudging to turn on where they’re supposed to postpartum. We need to re-train that connection.
Are you sucking in your belly?
We want to manage your pressure well – especially in those early stages of postpartum. That means we don’t want to squeeze and suck it in, we want that gentle core engagement instead.
Are you even breathing at all or are you holding your breath and creating an insane amount of pressure in your abdomen that makes it challenging for your core to cope?
Your breathing is the foundation that can help you continue to heal well and get stronger. So we want to focus on all these pieces of the breathing puzzle.
What does your alignment look like?
When you get to the bottom of the squat are you tucking your booty under so your glutes can’t activate properly?
When you push those weights overhead are you thrusting your chest up and putting a lot of pressure on your low back (instead of working to keep those ribs nicely stacked over your hips)?
Are your knees buckling in?
Are your shoulders slumped over?
Are you straining your neck instead of letting it relax?
All these strategies (and more) are way more important to focus on than the actual exercise itself.
Yoga might be an awesome choice for someone with diastasis or prolapse – if they’re using great strategies and not getting any symptoms.
Likewise, Pilates might not work for you if you find yourself holding your breath a ton and sucking your belly button to your spine really hard instead of getting that gentle core engagement we’re looking for.
And honestly, one of the most obvious ways to know for sure that you’re using appropriate strategies is to pay attention to any symptoms you’re getting while you’re doing the exercises or at the end of your workout.
What’s going on in your body?
Are you leaking?
Feeling pressure in your vagina?
Seeing your abs bulge or cone up as you do that crunch instead of stay relatively flat and level?
Getting pain anywhere?
These are all red lights telling you to stop, readjust and try again because what you’re doing isn’t working for you.
So you see?
It really isn’t about what you’re doing. It’s more about how you’re doing it, and how your body is responding.
And lastly (but also importantly)…
Why do you want to do ___________?
I’m a big believer in doing something because you love it (or at least appreciate what it can help you accomplish).
I don’t like doing things just because so-and-so claims it’s “the best”.
I also want to not hate working out. I want to do things that make me feel empowered, strong, capable, confident, proud of my body.
And I encourage you to do the same.
Someone may have said that _____________ totally helped them “get their body back” but keep in mind that you shouldn’t do something without knowing why you’re doing it.
And you shouldn’t dread doing it.
You shouldn’t have to convince yourself to go.
You may not necessarily love every second of it, but you shouldn’t hate every second of it or else what’s the point?
So tap into why you’re doing this.
Or why you want to do this.
Take your ego out of it and get honest with yourself.
Are you doing this because it feels like a quick fix?
Or are you doing it because you believe it can actually help get you that much closer to feeling happy and confident in your post-baby body – even if it takes a bit more time (but will be totally worth it in the end)?
Remembering that it’s unfair to compare postpartum you (especially early postpartum you) to pre-baby you.
You may have been able to do ___________ with ease before you got pregnant but that’s like comparing what you could do in high school track to what you can do at 75 years old when you haven’t run in 20 years.
Just don’t compare. Don’t compete with your old self – or any other selves.
Your body is different now. Your life is different now.
You can still be strong and have a body you’re proud of. That’s still an option.
We just don’t need to try to force it to happen overnight – especially without paying attention to the best strategies for postpartum women.
You can get there. You will get there. With trust, patience and the right pros on your side.
And yes – putting your trust in the right person is key.
Because if this all sounds confusing and overwhelming to you and you’re not sure what strategies you should (or shouldn’t) be using, your best option is to find someone who really gets it.
A trainer who’s actually trained in postpartum fitness (not every trainer is), who knows about the mind-muscle connection, who can help you rock the right strategies for you.
There are so many “get your body back” after baby programs that can be great at helping you incorporate some fitness into your life.
But not all of them put enough (or any) emphasis on the best strategies and approaches for postpartum women.
So be mindful. Be choosy.
And enjoy moving while using supportive strategies and ensuring your body is responding well.
P.S. What exercise do you want to get back into postpartum that you’re not sure is “safe”? Tell me about it in the comments below.
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