There’s no doubt pregnancy takes a huge toll on the body, from pelvic floor muscles to stretch marks to bouts of sciatica. But once you have your baby safely in your arms, you can start to reclaim your fitness, says North Shore Mum Jenny Edelman from EnCore Fitness Centre in St Ives.
After nine months of pregnancy, the challenge of childbirth and caring for a baby, many mothers look forward to getting back to the gym or to power walking or jogging or perhaps even re-joining their previous Pilates, yoga, or fitness class.
But returning to your old workout routine may not be as simple as you think.
As mother to four children- including twins- I have personal experience with pregnancy and post-natal physical changes, and in my experience the most common injuries for new mums after they have given birth is that they return to exercise knowing how their bodies ‘used’ to behave. Often clients come to me to find a new exercise program as they went back to their old exercise routines, classes or trainers and found themselves not coping and injured. Their bodies have now changed.
The Top Post-Natal Exercise Injuries:
- Ligament laxity, where muscles are strained
- Hip displacement
- Back pain
- Less strength from getting much less/no sleep
- Abdominal muscle separation
- Scars from C-sections or episiotomies
- Pelvic floor weakness
- Bodies getting used to breastfeeding
If mothers rush back into exercise, they are at a high risk of causing more injuries or serious injuries to their bodies.
To help prevent injury, I require new mums to have a doctor’s clearance before they start any of our classes. Some mums can return sooner than others, however 6 weeks seems to be a common recommendation from doctors.
But if you’re cleared to exercise and ready for a post-natal workout, try something baby-friendly where you can work out alongside other new mums and form a community or ‘mother’s group’ of close friends.
Classes like these can gradually help restore muscle strength and firm up post-natal bodies. The exercises help to condition abdominal muscles and take a lot of pressure off of the back. As with most types of exercise, mums often feel less tired as their energy levels improve. Over time mothers will lose weight, increase their cardiovascular fitness and restore muscle strength. Exercise classes can also help improve moods, relieve stress and assist in preventing post-natal depression.
Xtend Barre Mums and Bubs is a good way to start off fitness classes. The classes are geared toward mums and instructors understand how post-natal bodies react. The classes are small (maximum 8) and mothers can bring their babies to the classes.
All of our classes and exercise routines are merged principals from Pilates. I walk around the class focusing on each clients postures and positions, and I help my clients with small corrections and teach them how to correct posture during the exercise to prevent the common injuries they could otherwise experience. The modifications and low impact routines require high levels of muscle control and obtain phenomenal results for both new mums and ladies just wanting to get results that leave them looking and feeling great.
But best of all, mum’s little pride and joy can be with them as they work out, and they can enjoy mixing with other mums going through the exact same things in their lives.
Jenny is a North Shore Mum who has four children. EnCore Fitness Studio is in St Ives.
More on family fitness and exercise…
- Best bike paths for kids on the North Shore
- 5 health and exerise tips fit for warmer weather
- 15 pram-friendly walks in and around the North Shore