How to return to exercise postpartumOct 13, 2023
From guest blogger Katherine of Love Your Body Fitness in Ottawa
Returning to exercise has physical, mental, and emotional benefits for parents with young children at home, but it can feel overwhelming to know where to start. Whether you’re recovering from a vaginal birth or a c-section, throw in sleep deprivation, breastfeeding or bottle feeding struggles, stitches, and more, figuring out how to get back into your exercise routine can feel scary, but it doesn’t have to be.
At Love Your Body Fitness, we specialize in supporting postpartum folks in their return to exercise. All of our personal trainers have been trained in postpartum pelvic floor and core rehabilitation and recovery. Here is a simple, step-by-step guide to help you navigate returning to exercise after pregnancy and/or birth.
Find a reputable pelvic floor physiotherapist
Finding an amazing pelvic floor physiotherapist is key to making you feel confident in how and when you should be returning to exercise. There can be a lot of fear around returning to exercise, especially if we are dealing with conditions like diastasis recti or pelvic organ prolapse, but it doesn’t need to be this way. A pelvic floor physio will create a treatment plan to help you systematically build strength and restore proper core and pelvic floor function so you can return to the activities you love.
Find a gym or personal trainer with postpartum and pelvic floor rehab training
Not all gyms are created equal when it comes to supporting postpartum folks in returning to exercise! Just because a trainer has impressive “before and after” photos on their Instagram doesn’t mean they know how to safely support you in returning to exercise. When you’re looking for a gym, don’t be shy! Ask them if they have experience working with postpartum folks and what certifications they have.
Add load and complexity to your workouts slowly
Once you’ve been cleared for exercise by your Pelvic Floor physio, and you’ve worked on the foundational core and pelvic floor movements, it’s time to slowly make it more challenging. For example, once you’re comfortable with proper core and pelvic floor engagement, you can start practising that while doing a squat, then in a few weeks, you might add a weight to your squat. A good personal trainer will be able to properly guide you on how to do this. Watch out for any of your pelvic floor symptoms like pain or incontinence returning because all that means is you’ve done too much too fast and it’s time to dial back for a little bit.
At Love Your Body Fitness, we love supporting our postpartum folks as they return to exercise. We believe in the physical, mental, and emotional benefits that come from taking the time to prioritize your health as a new parent. Having the proper information and resources will help you feel excited about returning to exercise and not fearful about it.
Check out our Youtube Channel for some great resources, including:
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