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What To Do Whilst You Await The 'All-clear'

After the birth of my baby, my husband informed me, fairly sternly, that I wasn’t allowed to lift weights for eight weeks. I’ll be honest the thought of working out during those eight weeks rarely crossed my mind, so it was fairly easy to stay in line.

My birth experience had been pretty tough and after an emergency caesarian and almost a week in hospital (during Covid) with a baby in NICU I was just so glad to be home in my recovery bubble.

Of course I missed training and that feeling of strength, but at that point I felt so far from that person, I wasn’t about to rush back. Going for walks and mentally planning how to get myself back in shape, whilst sitting on the sofa was enough for me.

It's fairly normal for exercise to be the furthest thing from your mind in the immediate postnatal period so do not feel guilty if this sounds like you. Your body has been through so much, the least you can do is have some guilt-free time off while you get in the swing of mum life.

However there are other new mums for whom, particularly if birth was fairly ‘straight forward’ and recovery was quick, sitting around for six-eight weeks whilst you await the ‘all-clear’ can feel like a long time.

Pregnancy, birth, recovery and babies are all truly unique in their own way, we’re all going to have very different experiences and there is never going to be a blanket approach to returning to training. I say this a lot but it really is just about listening to your individual body.

However, if you’re twiddling your thumbs wondering what you can do to get started earlier, here are a few ideas…

  • Eat - you may not be able to hit the gym, but you can focus on your nutrition by prioritising foods from whole food sources including lots of fruit and vegetables to reduce inflammation, and protein to help rebuild your tissues and heal. The early postnatal period is no time for dieting so focus on fuelling your body with what it needs to recover from pregnancy and birth, establish your milk supply (if you’re breastfeeding) and keep you energised during those first few weeks.

  • Walk - gradually build up your walking and get outside for fresh air when you can, this is not only a great way to exercise without interfering with your recovery but will also work wonders for clearing the head and boosting your mood if you’re suffering from lack of sleep.

  • Breathe - so many new mums feel disconnected with their body post-pregnancy. If you have the headspace, the immediate postnatal period is a a great time to start reconnecting with your core and pelvic floor by incorporating some simple breathing exercises. If you’re interested in learning more on this drop me a DM and I can e-mail you a copy of a video which goes into more detail on some of the breathing techniques you can incorporate into your daily routine.

  • Rest - one of the best things you can do to speed up your recovery is make sure you’re getting enough rest. I appreciate that's not always easy when you’re not sleeping, so if this is out of your control try to give yourself periods of time throughout the day where you are just relaxing. Be kind to yourself, remove any expectations to get anything done and give your body the time it needs. Too much too soon and you can actually do more harm than good. The rest is where you come back stronger.

  • Plan - There’s nothing like an enforced break from training to give you the motivation to get started again. Research what’s available to you locally or online, book yourself a postnatal physio check-up (to be super confident your body is ready) and start to work out when is going to be a good time for you to exercise with (or without) your baby. The answer to that may be ‘not for a while’ which is also fine - there is no rush!

I hope this has given you something to focus on and if not, reiterated that it's ok if all you can do right now is look after your newborn. If, and when you’re ready, check out our website for details of our online and in-person offerings to find something to suit you.



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