Postpartum recovery or "The Fourth Trimester", I believe is not a finite period of time. It is an ongoing process. When you finally decide that you are mentally and physically ready to put in the work then please do! If that means that you decide that you are ready to begin 6 weeks after giving birth or 15 years, the time frame does not necessarily matter. The care you need will just match what stage your body is at!
Most importantly after birth is the need for rest, especially in the first two weeks. You and your family need to accommodate to the fact that you have a newborn to take care of! This transition is easy for some and more difficulty for others. Having a great support system can be very helpful! This can include family, friends, and/or doula services. Having support in place can be best for assisting with looking for the signs of postpartum depression. It can affect 20% of Mamas.
In those coming weeks just after birth, make sure you get up and move! Even if this is just doing a few things around the house. If you are breast feeding, you may feel like you spend most of your day sitting. This can decreases those already decreased estrogen levels! Make sure to get up and move as much as you physically and mentally feel able. Walking outside and getting some fresh air can be restorative.
Other ways you can begin moving your body is through light exercise. This can include but isn’t limited to breathing, rib cage mobility exercises, and light resistance training. Now that we don’t have this extra load on the front of us, we may feel stiff through our spine, rib cage, and hips. It is time to get things moving again! It is typically recommended to wait until week 4-8 weeks to being resistance training. Also wait until after 12 weeks to push weight to anything above 80% of your one rep maximum.
A common question I always get is when can I run? I highly recommend not running for at least 12 weeks. Your body is still healing! If you have any of the following symptoms please DO NOT run!
Urinary or fecal incontinence
Pressure/bulging/dragging in Vaginal wall
Ongoing or onset of Vaginal bleeding with onset of initiation of low impact exercise
Here are my requirements to clear someone to get back to running postpartum.
SL Balance 10s
SL Squat 10-20 reps ea side
SL Sit to stand x 15-20 ea
SL Calf Raises x20 ea
Jog in spot for 1 min
Forward Bounds x10 ea
SL Hops x10 ea
Abdominal Control w/ SLR 30 deg
It is so important to begin addressing plyometric activities in your recovery in order to get back to running which is a plyometric activity! This is why checking for the ability to jog in place, perform bounding, and single leg hops are so important!
Now let’s circle back around to the different consideration
s for c-section versus vaginal deliveries! I always recommend a Women’s Health Assessment for both situations. First scar tissue should always be addressed whether this is from vaginal tearing or cesarian! Check out my posts below on cesarian considerations!
Vaginal deliveries can put a lot of stretch to those pelvic floor muscles. Whether there was tearing or not, we want to make sure these tissues are working appropriately! The other big issue that should be assessed and addressed is diastasis recti! I will refer you back to my previous social media series and blog post on addressing and discussing this topic!
Hopefully this gives you an overview of what to consider in your own postpartum journey! I hope that you get all of the services and support that you need to help you along the way.
If you are looking for additional information, here is an Instagram live that I did @fitnessxaspen on Postpartum recovery!