5 Exercises to Help You Recover in the Postpartum
Amy Gamerdinger Jeffers, DC, CACCP
No matter how you give birth, it is physically and emotionally taxing. Being able to have the strength to feed and care for a newborn and yourself is of utmost importance. Taking the time to nourish your body with nutrients that support healing and nursing if you choose to is necessary. Surround yourself with community of friends and family and a postpartum doula, who can support you. I recommend taking a full 30 days of Lying In (resting) before adding in any exercises other than diaphragmatic breathing and gentle walking. If after exercise lochia (postpartum bleeding) returns, you are doing too much and aren't ready for vigorous exercise. If you are experiencing pelvic pain, diastasis recti, bowel or bladder incontinence, experiencing symptoms of prolapse, getting evaluated by a postpartum chiropractor, pelvic floor physical therapist, and midwife or OBGYN is very important. Here are some basic exercises to help rebuild core once you are ready physically and mentally to return to exercise postpartum.
1. Diaphragmatic breathing
In a seated position, take a breath and let your belly fill with air allowing it to expand. Place your hands on your abdomen just below the ribcage. Feel pressurization all 360 degrees and exhale maintaining pressurization. Think of your core as a cylinder you want to keep pressure in no matter what movements you are doing. If pressure isn't maintained, it won't keep its shape and strength. This can result in problems at the top of the cylinder (your pyloric sphincter where your stomach and small intestine meet) and at the bottom (your pelvic floor). This can result in gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) and pelvic floor dysfunction.
2. BIRTHFIT Functional Progression One (Dead Bug)
While laying supine on your back, bring both the arms and legs upward as if you are holding an exercise ball. Slowly drop your hand and opposite foot a few inches an
d return back to starting position. Repeat with the opposite site.
3. Side Plank
Push yourself up from a side lying position into a side plank to strengthen the obliques. Hold and return to starting position.
4. Ball squeeze
While in a seated position place a small soft medicine ball between the knees. I like the Coregeous Ball from Tune Up Fitness. Slowly squeeze the knees toward the midline and release. Repeat several times. Avoid if painful or if you have
Begin in a hands and knees position in table top with the gaze between the hands. Extend one arm forward and return to table top. Extend the opposite leg back and return to table top. Repeat on the opposite side. Then extend both arm and leg out and return to table top. Repeat on the opposite side.