I work with many new moms, and I have come to discover some helpful habits, tricks, and ideas for new moms. I’ve also come across some things to avoid and also some new things to try! Here’s my short list for new moms when it comes to your body, Pilates, and your well-being.
- Wait six weeks or the amount of time your Doctor has recommended before resuming your workouts. Your body has been through a lot! Pregnancy and childbirth both have huge impacts on the body. Besides what you see on the outside – lots of changes have occurred on the inside, too. Your heart has moved a little in position, your blood supply has doubled, your uterus needs time to shrink back down … give your body that time. You’ll have the rest of your life to get back to Pilates or your workout of choice. Six weeks is really not that long in the scheme of your whole life!
- Pay attention to posture! Breast-feeding, picking up your baby, changing diapers, lifting your child out of the car, carrying your baby in a baby seat .. all of these actions put strain on your body. New moms are forced in to a lot of flexion (forward-bending posture). All of this flexion can do a number on your back or neck. One of the best remedies to this necessary flexion is to seek out extension to counter balance and stretch your forward muscles back out. Pilates is a great way to get your extension. You can also safely stand and arch back from time to time to stretch back out.
- Switch sides! Do you always carry your baby on your left hip? Do you always carry the diaper bag on your right shoulder? Or maybe it’s that pumpkin seat? While it may feel more natural on one side versus the other, do yourself a favor and switch sides. Think of it this way – repetitive lifting, bending or carrying on one side will tighten one side and stretch the other leading to imbalance and issues down the road. Prevent these problems by mixing it up and switching sides.
- Share your experiences/changes and ask questions. Too often new moms are too embarrassed to ask about some of the body changes they may experience. Hemorrhoids, for example, can be very common after child birth and can be treated. While breast feeding, your body will maintain the pregnancy hormones leading to water retention around the middle, upper back and arms. These are just a few examples of postpartum changes the body may experience. Ask your doctor or a trained professional about the things you are experiencing with your body. Don’t wait and worry – many things can be addressed or improved.
- Do bring your baby to Pilates … or don’t! Some new moms appreciate that they can bring their little one to Pilates while they train. It saves the cost of a babysitter and the concern about leaving a tiny one. Some moms, however, need that break! Whether you are more comfortable bringing your baby or need an hour to focus on yourself – either one is just fine. Do what’s right for you!
- Give yourself a break. Don’t expect to have your pre-baby body back in a month or two. It took you nine months to change and have a baby, allow yourself time to change again. You may hit plateaus along the way. Don’t give up and don’t beat yourself up. Change worth making takes time!
These are just a few tips for new moms. If you have specific questions about your body or how Pilates can help postpartum – just ask!