Fitness, Personal

3 Benefits of Postpartum-Focused Exercise

Alex Megan of After Baby Fit is a postpartum corrective exercise specialist and has made it her mission to help women rebuild their foundational strength and physical confidence after pregnancy and delivery. She offers a free consultation and quiz about your exercise readiness, along with a self paced  6 week postpartum recovery course. Follow on Instagram @aj.afterbabyfit.

It’s widely known that exercise, both cardio and strength training, have huge physical and mental health benefits. However, when it comes to specialized exercise, like postpartum recovery, there is a gap in the research and awareness among women. It’s a time that may be more critical than others to regain physical strength and give your mental health a boost but unfortunately gets neglected by both professionals and mothers themselves. Whether you have a condition like diastasis recti (abdominal separation), just a lingering desire to flatten out your belly and regain core strength, or maybe you are pregnant, trying to prepare for postpartum life, it’s worth taking a minute to get the full picture and educate yourself on the benefits of specific postpartum exercise.

Have you ever thought about how much weight you are required to lift as a mom during the day? Lean over to pick up baby out of the crib, holding and hunching over to feed, rocking, burping, putting baby in a stroller, taking the stroller down a couple stairs, lifting the carseat and properly positioning it in the car, lifting in to a high chair, playing on the floor, maybe holding a bike or scooter in one hand while pushing a stroller because the older sibling doesn’t like the mode of transportation anymore! Any of these sound familiar? And these are just a few things you do for the actual child, what about for yourself or around the house – dishes, laundry, cleaning, the list goes on, you get it!

Postpartum specific recovery and exercise can give you the benefit of mental and physical confidence, good habit building and improves your relationship with yourself and your partner. 

3 Benefits of Postpartum-Focused Exercise

1. Physical & Mental Confidence

  • You probably have goals in mind about how you would like your body to look post-baby, what you want to “get back”. Not all goals are realistic, however, it’s important to want to find those pieces of your body you loved again. It’s not vain or superficial, it’s a personal “why” attached to your recovery. Finding a specialist to help you safely reach those goals is so important.
  • Entering an exercise class after having a baby can feel intimidating. Without knowledge on how to modify movement for your new body and rebuild, you can actually make things worse.
  • It’s easy to encounter big blows to your self esteem in motherhood—when you struggle to lift your child’s car seat into the car because of back pain or leaking; the inability to get off the ground while holding your infant in your arms; these pains take a toll. Strength in your core, your back, your legs and your arms is required to get through your day. If you are able to accomplish these things for you and for your little ones without pain, frustration or worry, only confidence in your abilities, imagine how empowered you will feel! Claim it.
  • Pregnancy and delivery take a toll on a woman’s body. The muscles are stretched to lengths that would demand physical therapy or specific recovery had they occurred to any other area other of the body, however, during this postpartum time they tend to be ignored because of the demands of the new baby in the world!
  • Alone time. Whether you are able to carve out time daily, or it’s more sporadic, making yourself a priority will help keep positive energy in the family.

2. Build Good Habits

  • Postpartum recovery is not about setting aside gym time every week, it’s about constant awareness, making that mind body connection with your muscles again, especially in the case of c-section where the muscle has been cut. 
  • Practice makes progress. Re-teaching yourself proper posture, breathing into your deep core, protecting your pelvic floor, and functional form – these things are not necessarily difficult, but they do take practice and patience. 
  • As you use proper posture and form throughout your day, rather than saving these moves for the gym, you will see more dramatic results. It becomes a lifestyle, you need the tools and then can use them whenever and wherever possible – make everyday movements WORK for you!

3. Relationship Building with Yourself and Your Partner

  • Understanding your new body will make it work better!
  • Strengthening your pelvic floor, diaphragmatic breathing (breathing into your belly and ribs – the space between your diaphragm and pelvic floor), and the endorphins and strength resulting from exercise, make sex better! Increasing arousal, confidence and pleasure. The science is there and it won’t take long before you notice a difference in the experience for you and your partner.
  • Don’t suffer alone and don’t think that you are the only one with these questions or concerns, I can promise, you aren’t! Women sharing and supporting each other through these struggles will only help the greater good! 

A happy mom, means a happy family. You deserve this physical recovery and the mental freedom that comes from empowering yourself with functional strength! If you aren’t ready or able to connect with a personal trainer or physical therapist, try sending a form video in to After Baby Fit for a personalized review, customized information for very little cost and obligation. Keep remembering, knowledge is power and we are rooting for you!

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