I stayed pretty active through my first pregnancy. And, six weeks postpartum I was back in the gym. But, well, things were just a little off. I felt uncoordinated, inflexible and weak. All at once. I couldn’t do a box jump or squat without wanting to run to the bathroom. I chalked it up to “just having a baby” and pushed through until I became pregnant with my second child.
My second pregnancy didn’t go as smoothly. I was diagnosed with complete placenta previa and advised to stay off my feet as much as possible with an 18-month-old running around. Needless to say, I was very inactive during that pregnancy and was itching to get back in the gym to start working out again as soon as I gave birth to our baby girl. Returning to the gym again was just as disastrous as the first time. The need to pee constantly was worse, I had constant back pain, and no number of crunches could help me trim the pregnancy weight.
Over the course of the next five years, I would continue to push through group classes, training for triathlons, and fitness challenges. All while trying to ignore constant back, hip and knee pain. Yes, I could complete whatever exercise I wanted to, but it was at the cost of being in pain daily and not seeing any progress. Finally, I just gave up.
We found out we were expecting our third baby in early August last year. I spent the first five months nauseous. And then the pain set in. I could barely walk, get up from a chair or out of bed or lift my youngest without being in excruciating pain. Seeing a chiropractor helped a lot, but it wasn’t until several conversations with Lauren from FitMamasTribe that I realized my pubic symphysis was the source. She gave me a few tips on how to help control the pain and then we started talking about what I could do postpartum to help prevent the pain from continuing.
As I am writing this post, I am 13 weeks postpartum. I gave birth to a baby girl via cesarean during which my OB let me know that I had a complete separation of my abdominal muscles (aka diastasis recti). She repaired what she could and highly recommended postpartum physical therapy and specialized exercise classes to help bridge the gap. I knew exactly who to go to and signed up as soon as I could for Lauren’s Postpartum Recovery® Fitness Classes
What is Postpartum Recovery® Fitness?
Postpartum Recovery® Fitness is part of The 4th Trimester Fitness® Method designed by Emily Wannenburg. It is a six-class series designed to help postpartum mommas return to pre-pregnancy exercise routines safely. The keyword here is safely! There is so much pressure from social media and peers to get back to a pre-pregnancy body that postpartum mommas often end up injured or causing more damage. These classes are designed to help with diastasis and to strengthen your pelvic floor through a progression of exercises. There are three main goals for Postpartum Recovery®:
What to Expect During Your Postpartum Recovery Classes
I started my six-week session in June after being cleared by my doctor. I knew I had a long way to go before I would be at my previous fitness level, but taking this class was a step in the right direction. The first class begins with a little science background (right up my alley) and measuring the width of our diastasis. My diastasis was a little over 2 1/2 fingers wide. Yikes! We then practiced what it means to “Engage and Activate” our pelvic floor and transverse muscles. Over the next six weeks, we built on the foundation of exercises we learned in the first class. And, by the end, my diastasis decreased to a little under 2 fingers wide but became much more firm.
What I Gained from the Postpartum Recovery® Fitness Classes
Knowledge. I didn’t lose inches around my waist. That’s not what this class series is all about. I did learn to become more aware of my posture on a daily basis. More importantly, I learned how to engage and activate my core muscles before attempting everyday tasks like lifting the car seat out of the car. I also learned that there are so many mommas out there that are in the same boat. We had a small group, so Lauren was able to help each of us, and we could talk freely about topics most women don’t want to talk about postpartum. Another added benefit – I don’t have to run to the bathroom every time jump or squat!