Despite my motivation during pregnancy to get fit again and find my ‘yummy mummy’ body post-birth, I’m still not there! The experience has been SO different to what I expected. The things that came as a surprise will no doubt give mums a giggle at my ignorance, but hopefully also help new mums be kinder to themselves, knowing they aren’t alone. I also want to provide women with a realistic picture of what they might expect in regards to exercise after giving birth because no matter how motivated you are to get your fitness and body back fast, with a baby, things often don’t go to plan. I also want to share a few things I’m finding helpful as I build up my fitness again, along with my current short-term goals.
The surprises around fitness post birth:
- I actually thought I would be running after 2 weeks post birth because I thought I was more motivated and robust than most. I thought doctors were exaggerating when they said 6 weeks recovery until you can do you anything – turns out they weren’t. It took me 10 weeks to begin anything semi-regular and even then the impact had to be relatively low to protect my pelvic floor and uterus.
- Who knew that 12 weeks post-birth I would still be weeing my pants on a run? Why does no-one talk seriously during pregnancy about pelvic floor care?
- Babies will often wake after one sleep cycle (that’s 15-20 minutes) so say goodbye to exercising in one hour blocks if you’re on your own during the day.
- Babies need to be fed, cooed to, changed, settled – practically all the time.
- Babies usually won’t just sit in a pram/bouncer/play mat while you do a workout (regardless of whether the workout incorporates the pram), they often want to be cuddled.
- Babies aren’t always settled when you take them for a walk.
- I LOVE breastfeeding and baby carriers, but they are ruining my back and hips .
- There’s hardly any time for meal prep and even when there is a spare moment, you’re too exhausted from living on 4-5 hours sleep for months to do anything about it.
- The difference between expectations and reality can take a real toll on your mental health.
The list could go on and on but there’s enough for new mums to know you’re not alone!
Things I’ve found helpful as I regain my fitness:
- Voome – I’m trialing this fitness and nutrition program to help get me back on track. It’s designed by the same experts that created Michelle Bridges’ 12WBT as a challenge for those who already have a grasp on their fitness and nutrition, but need some extra support in maintaining it.
- I’m aiming for shorter workouts at home, 10-20 minutes at a time seems to be what works best. I’m really enjoying the strength, cardio and stretch workout videos from Voome. It’s like going to a gym class but at home! If you want to see what they’re like you can check out Voome here.
- Using Voome’s pre-set meal planners – this has been great for:
- 1) not having to think about what nutrients/meals I’m having;
- 2) being able to give Reis a shopping list for the week knowing I won’t forget anything if I send him to the shops;
- 3) knowing dietitians have written the plan so I know I am getting all the nutrition I need whilst breast feeding; and
- 4) there’s a good variety of foods to choose from.
- Keeping a food diary on paper that’s updated regularly throughout the day – you can subscribe to EPW and get a FREE copy of the daily planner I use here.
- Pulling back on my daily outings so I have more time to look after my health (eg. meal prep, exercise and sleep/relaxation).
- Practicing being content how my body is now and being thankful I have a body that can move and sustain another’s life!
- Refocusing on what’s important.
- Having snacks on hand (like fruit and nuts) that require no preparation.
- Support from health practitioners and family.
My Short Term Health Goals
- Eat more fruit for snacks instead of biscuits or spoonfuls of peanut butter;
- Drink more water;
- Do my pelvic floor, transverse abdominal and core stability exercises daily (I’m working with physio on these to help me safely get back to 10km runs);
- Run every second day for 20 minutes;
- Do three strength workouts per week;
- Don’t compare myself to others; and
- Practice finding value in who God says I am in Christ – his loved, cared for and saved child that can find rest in his grace.
This post is sponsored by Voome, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.