Updated: Aug 31
How to give your body what it needs so you can return to your favorite activities without feeling heavy, experiencing incontinence, or weak abdominal muscles?
Rest and healing
For the first 6 weeks, you focus on rest and healing!!! Do you want to start losing weight right away? That's the worst idea you can have right now. I get you, we all want to look fabulous as soon as possible after our pregnancy, but everything has time.
Childbirth is a demanding physiological process. Just as an ultramarathon runner does not start fasting after a race, or a person who has had a knee surgery does not start running and breaking records immediately.
It's the same after childbirth, your body needs enough time and ENERGY to heal properly! And let's face it, with the lack of sleep that usually comes with a newborn, it can sometimes be more challenging than one would think.
Did you know that if you don't go through enough rehabilitation, serious problems such as pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence can arise?
But what does adequate rehabilitation look like?
In addition to exercise, nutrition, sleep and general adequate rest are of course important. If we are talking about the exercise part, then we divide rehabilitation into 3 basic phases.
Rehab phase - 0 - 6 weeks postpartum
In the first 6 weeks after giving birth, we focus on reacquiring motor patterns of the core muscles (center of the body) and your ability to properly engage these muscles. All movements in this phase are very gentle and restorative for your body.
In the first 2 weeks, we focus on training the "connection breath" and very, very short walks. For women with uncomplicated vaginal births, this can be done without problems a few days or a week after giving birth. Of course, in the case of more complicated births, it's perfectly okay to start later. Trust your body and start when you're ready.
The rehabilitation phase may not seem like "training" to you, but it's important to stick to it. Don't rush unnecessarily, as this sets the foundation for effective and most importantly safe movement in the future. This phase shouldn't feel any more strenuous than easy daily activities.
I recommend sticking to each stage for 2 weeks, but you can progress at your own pace depending on how consistently you can activate individual muscles at the right time so that they perform their function effectively.
After these 6 weeks, you can move on to the "Returning to Exercise" phase, but only when you are completely comfortable with the Rehabilitation phase and if your midwife/doctor/physiotherapist confirms that everything is okay.
The whole phase can of course take even longer. If you had a complicated delivery, it can be assumed that your body will need more time. Don't be afraid to give yourself that time, and your body will then properly repay you for it!
What if I had a cesarean section?
If you had a cesarean and are healing well, you should be able to start training the "connection breath" almost immediately. If you feel good and everything is going well with breastfeeding, you can move on to the next stage around 3-6 weeks after giving birth (a little later than in the case of a vaginal birth).
Back to exercise - 7 - 18 weeks postpartum
After completing the rehabilitation phase and if you have no contraindications, you can move on to the next phase which is "Back to exercise". This includes progressions that can safely move you towards more intense exercise. This phase lasts from 7th to 18th week and is divided into 2 stages, each lasting 6 weeks. This means that your program will be repeated for 6 weeks in a row, helping you build a solid foundation before moving on to the final phase "Body Solid as a Rock".
Body solid as a rock - 19 - 42 weeks postpartum
After 18 weeks, provided that you feel ready to move on and your doctor/midwife/physiotherapist has not found any contraindications, the final phase "Body Strong as a Rock" begins, where I will guide you through three 8-week cycles during weeks 19 to 42. In these 24 weeks you should be ready to easily return to your favorite strenuous sports activities, such as powerlifting, CrossFit, marathon running, obstacle running, and others.
After completing this final phase of recovery, your body should be strong and stable enough even for professional sports.
How does the rehab phase look like specifically?
Do you want a detailed guide for the first and most important phase of postpartum recovery? Then I have a gift for you in the form of a 6-week plan, completely free! The program is based on the latest findings and of course designed to be as safe as possible for you!
Do you have any more questions? Is something unclear to you? Don't hesitate to reach out to me and if it's in my powers I will help you!