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pregnancy

Returning to Fitness After Pregnancy

Lettie King is a Women’s Movement Coach and the Founder of Planet Mama, a movement hub for pre and postnatal women which supports women physically and mentally. 

We asked Lettie for her Top Tips on getting back into fitness after having a baby.

"Re-finding your movement practise after having a baby is different for everyone. Some Mama’s might be raring to go and others might be a little more tentative and be in no rush to get back. There is no right or wrong way, just take it slow and listen to your body. 

Remember everybody, every pregnancy, every birth and every baby is different, and this all plays a part in your journey back to your body.

Read on to find out our top 10 tips for returning to your movement practise:

  1. REST, RECOVER & CONNECT. The first few months with a newborn are precious precious moments. Put any worries about your body, any plans to exercise on hold and reveal in this magical time. Let your body rest and as it rests it can recover. Spend time bonding with your baby and working out your new routine and new role.  Feel feel to stretch, move and wiggle your body, to start full 360* breathing and connecting to your pelvic floor. Feeding is a great time to do your kegels.
  1. BE PREPARED FOR YOUR 6 WEEK CHECK. As well as your baby’s 6 week check up you too are supposed to have a postnatal check up but this isn’t always offered up readily by your GP. So make sure you ask to be assessed too. Ask your GP or Health Care Provider to check your tummy for any diastasis, talk about any leaking or incontinence - be honest, your GP/HCP has heard it all before. If you feel any dragging in your vagina, l talk about it and request a referral to a women’s health physio. If you’re struggling feeding let them know too. Write a list of questions in case you’re worried about forgetting something.
  1. RETURN TO EXERCISE SLOWLY. Think about what the body has been through, growing another human for 40 weeks is just incredible. So many shifts and changes to make space for a little human. So start slowly, building up good foundations. I like to think of the journey as a smile. As your pregnancy progresses you gradually decrease the intensity as you get closer to birth and then you gradually build it back up the other side.
  1. TAKE TIME FOR YOUR PELVIC FLOOR. You can start doing your kegels from about 2 weeks postpartum, nothing too strenuous but gently starting to reconnect the brain with the pelvic floor, strengthen both the neural pathways and muscles fibres themselves. I promise you will be so thankful that you did! You can start lying down or even seated, stacking it onto feeding time is a great reminder :)
  1. WORK ON YOUR DEEP ABS. Use your breath to connect with your deep abs, you’re looking for finding that wrapping sensation, like a corset. Then gradual load your core through loading, resistance and movement.
  1. STRENGTHEN YOUR GLUTES. The partner in crime to your deep core. They work together to stabilise your torso. So start by incorporating bridges, clams and build up to squats and lunges.
  1. POSTURE IS KEY.. Stand in front of the mirror and find your alignment. We want your shoulders, hips, knee and ankle to all line up. Take your hands to your hips and send your tailbone done and then stick it out and then find neutral.  Then stand tall roll your shoulders down your back, soften your floating ribs in your torso and anchor towards your hips bones. 
  1. BE MINDFUL OF OVER STRETCHING. You should 100% release any tight areas and stretch out. Just be mindful of going to the depth of your flexibility or holding stretches for too long. Pregnancy hormones, such as relaxin are still in your body and can cause laxity and sensitivity.
  1. RETURNING TO RUNNING? If you want to get back to running you should again take it slow. Support a gently running program such as ‘Couch to 5km’ with a strengthening program, favouring squats and deadlift, single leg lunges, single leg bridges, gentle rebounds and rotational movements.
  1. THINK HOLISTICALLY. Stay hydrated, eat lots of protein rich food and nutritionally dense food. Get as much rest as possible.

Then finally I always recommend you see a women’s health physio to get a Mummy MOT so you can know exactly what’s going on with you. If there is ever a good time to invest in your health, now is the time. Your future self will thank you!"

For more pregnancy movement tips and workouts visit www.planet-mama.co.uk

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