You’ve given birth, YAY
Remember, you spent 9-10 months growing a baby and then gave birth! Whether you gave birth vaginally or via c-section, your body has gone through a significant event and trauma. You need to give your body the time it needs to heal. During this time sleep is also hard to come by. Shifting focus from the gym to prioritizing sleep, eating nourishing foods, and fitting in showers 😉 is important. If you are breastfeeding, ensuring you are consuming enough calories and water is important. Water was especially hard for me, but putting water bottles in every room and in the diaper bag helped a lot!
This is also a great time to work on re-connecting to your pelvic floor and working on your breathing strategy. This will carry over to when you start exercising again. I found a great time to practice was when I was feeding Jameson since I couldn’t move or do much else anyway. Funny enough, my own personal experience with this is that when I would practice my connection breath, my let down was almost immediate (when means
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
Before returning to the gym, I highly recommend being assessed by a pelvic floor physical therapist (PFPT). Most pelvic floor physical therapists will see you 6-9 weeks after having given birth (or at any point thereafter). For more information on PFPT you can read my blog post here that will tell you what you can expect from your first appointment. If you need to locate one in your area, try seaching this directory.
The 6 Week “All Clear”
Sometime around the 6-week postpartum
I don’t recommend doing that.
So what DOES this “all clear” mean? Keep in mind that your medical professional is not a fitness professional. It’s really not in their expertise to give you advice on getting back into the gym. Given that you have been re-connecting with your pelvic floor, working on a breathing strategy, have seen a pelvic floor PT and have no pelvic floor dysfunction (if you do then this process looks very similar with perhaps some tweaks based on you individually and managing any symptoms) then I would recommend starting with the basics. Things like walking, glute bridges, clamshells, band pull aparts, squats to a box (or chair), and incorporating your breathing strategy into those movements. Think about working your way from basic movement to more dynamic movement.
Bodyweight movements first, progress to
- Squats to box
- BW squat
- Squat with light dumbbells
- Squat with heavier dumbbells
- Backsquat with barbell
- Front squat
- Hang power clean with barbell only,
- Power clean,
- Power clean + front squat
It may look like a lot on paper but this is a natural progression towards that dynamic movement. The other benefit
I know the fourth trimester can be hard, I know your brain is telling you to GO GO GO. I know you miss your happy place and I know you want to get back to feeling like YOU again. But trusting the process pays off. Here’s what one client had to say, “It was really hard to picture myself not picking heavy things up and putting them down when I went to the gym. But I’ve gotten real results. Like I feel a significant change from when I started. And I am so glad I invested in myself rather than just risking it.” A
Head to my resources page if you need help locating a pelvic floor PT, great books I recommend on pregnancy and postpartum, and also some courses.
Want some ideas on what to substitute movements for? I have created this free resource for YOU! If you are pregnant, postpartum, or have pelvic floor considerations and want the confusion taken out of how to modify the most commonly asked about CrossFit movements, you need this.
I go through what, when, how, and also provide video demonstrations for modifications of the following movements:
Stay strong, stay beautiful!