Hi, I’m Kris Stokes from Custom Fitness Personal Training Studio where your health comesfirst and today I want to clue you in on two things to do in the very beginning to get your body back after having a baby. I’ve been there. I have two of them and I’ve had to do this with both, but let me give you a little backstory first to understand where this came from and why.
I’ve been working with prenatal women since 2004. Got certified in it, didn’t even have my own until later on, so was able to really gather a lot of data because I worked with several women through that time. From 2004 to 2010 I helped about 200 women, whether it was prenatal yoga or prenatal fitness, prenatal nutrition, a little bit of all of it.
And each time that someone would come back to me after having the baby, which happened probably 75% of the time, then we would start to work on these things to help them to regain their core control.
Because what happens is, we have these lovely, beautiful miracles and we get cleared by the doctor, right? We don’t get cleared because we’ve healed, we get cleared because our body is physically capable of doing whatever we need to do. They consider us warriors after we have children and then you’re expected to take that child home and take care of them, even though your body is broken at the time.
So, the way that our bodies go through this is really miraculous in itself, but it’s almost comparable to a broken bone. When you break a bone, you wouldn’t go into the doctor’s office and they say, “Well, yeah, that’ll heal on it’s own. We’ll see you later.” They’re going to cast it or splint it, or X-ray it or do something to help you understand how to help it to heal, right? But they don’t do that for pregnant women.
Once you have that baby they just clear you and you’re good to go. And so many people jump right back into the level of exercise that they feel like they were at whenever they stopped, which was probably right before they got pregnant, or soon after, and then they can’t understand why things aren’t working well, and what’s causing a problem.
Personally, I taught Pilates for probably 12 years at that point. I had taught yoga about that long, I had been a trainer that whole time. Everybody said, “Oh, this is going to be easy for you, you’re in shape.”
Well, they neglected the fact that my body was going to stretch beyond it’s limits and look like a large house, right? So, I had the child and came home, my problem was not that I couldn’t do the right exercises, my problem was I couldn’t even get up off the couch.
My abs weren’t reacting well, so they were just kind of, stretched out and they were laying there, and I couldn’t get the brain to get the signal to the abs to do what they needed to do. I remember there was a time that I was laying on my back on the couch and I had to roll off the side of the couch to get on all fours to stand back up, and I thought, “This is ridiculous.”
I had taught all these prenatal women before and postnatal women, but I had not experienced it myself, so that was really an eye opening moment for me whenever I had to experience it myself. And then do the same things that I had trained them to do to get myself back on track.
Instead of running and jumping in the gym, and getting on the elliptical and doing crunches, and doing planks and doing all these things, I had to get my abs to respond first. I had to get my brain to connect with my body and I had to get out of that terrible nursing hunch where you’re bent over and holding a child, because it tends to follow you when you’re not nursing too. We had to get back to good posture, we had to get back to ab contraction and how do we do that? Well, I’ve got two things that we’ve got to work on today.
Number one of them I already said, we’ve got to work on posture. We’ve got to work on trying to sit up straight on holding our core in, not sucking in. I know that you can’t see my whole body here, but I’ve done other videos on posture. We’re not lifting and sucking in, that causes a longer body. We’re trying to contract the abs, so it’s almost like you were coughing or sneezing and you’re going to squeeze the tummy in towards your spine so your belly button comes in towards your spine, your ribs come down into your hips.
If you need to, practice coughing. If you sneeze think about what your stomach just did, those kinds of things, but you’re going to feel the contraction happening in the abs and that contraction is going to help to start to build this connection back between the brain and body. So, that’s number one, working on that posture and getting up out of that hunched over position and then learning how to hold yourself strong and stable there.
Number two, is that ab contraction. You’re sitting down, you’re working on engaging that core just like we just talked about, but you’re thinking about pulling your belly button in towards your spine and then relaxing it back out, and then pulling it back in. Without moving anything else, without lifting or lowering, or twisting or anything like that. You’re just pulling your belly button into your spine and then back out, but it’s the same contraction that you had just a minute ago where you’re pulling down like you were coughing or sneezing, not just sucking in.
You can do that seated, that’s usually the first way to start. The next way would be to lay down on your back and do the same thing and feel your spine stay in the same spot, your spine as you lay down will have a natural curve in it, and if you pull your belly button in and it flattens out you’ve gone too much with the back, okay? This is all about ab contraction here. We’re trying to pull that belly button in without creating this lift and lower here, but keeping that natural arch the whole time, we pull the belly button and release out. Another way to do that after you get confident with that, is to do the same thing over on your stomach. That’s just going to help you to get a little more bio-feedback. As you’re laying on your stomach you’ll feel your stomach against the floor, and you’ll relax your belly down and then you’ll squeeze your belly in without lifting your hips.
By doing those things it’s going to help to start to bring back that brain, body connection. Those are the first two things that I recommend to any postnatal mom. You can start them immediately. These are not things that are contingent upon cessation of bleeding or any of that stuff. Obviously if you experience an increase in any of that you need to stop and rest, but doing this, you can do it while you’re nursing, you can do it while you’re rocking a child, you can do it while you’re bouncing a child, whatever may be happening. You’re just working on your posture and working on that ab contraction.
If you need help with postpartum abdominal stress, maybe that’s mental stress, just that it’s not working right, it’s not connecting with you, you can’t quite get it to react, you can’t quite get it to hold itself in, you still have that mommy pooch, then we want to be able to help you out.
Feel free to give us a call, 806-322-3188. That is something we specialize in and that we can help you with. We’d love to be able to show you how to work on that. Most of our women who are postpartum within anywhere from four to eight weeks, they start to see a phenomenal difference through what they already had, into where they can be. Feel free to give us a call, we’d love to help you out. Hope you have a great day.
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