Exercise throughout pregnancy helps the body prepare for birth, and for the demands on the body as a new Mommy. While the body recovers - either from a straightforward natural birth, or from a more complicated c- section experience, hopefully Mom has some postural and core awareness to help navigate the lifting, hinging, etc that are involved now in the activities of daily life.
When she has gotten the all clear from her doctor, post natal training is important! Regardless of the type of birth one has had, pelvic floor muscles will need to be re- strengthened, along with the abdominal core. As ligaments adjust, and the pelvis shifts back toward neutral, center of gravity is new yet again.
And then there are goals! I for one hope to return to running by fall. My due date is May 8th, and so (in theory) I would love to run a 10K by October. In order to get to that goal, I will have to master certain things first.
The first step is opening up the mind body connection again. With trauma to an area, the brain will cut off signals to that area while healing takes place. Other muscles will step in to pick up the slack for the injured area. And, while birth is a beautiful miracle, it is also a very stressful event. One can expect damage to a lot of tissues, and the brain will redirect to other areas as the damage clears. Conscious effort to then wake up the healed tissue is needed.
To be able to run, I will need my pelvic floor to function properly, as well as my abdominal core. I need to allow time for the relaxin hormone effects to clear my system for better joint stability, and I will have to build up the cardiovascular endurance again. Lots of things!
Here is one exercise to do post natal, to help wake up the pelvic floor muscles again. And even if you’ve never had a baby, if you are someone who pees a little when you sneeze or laugh, or when you jump rope- this exercise is good for you too. Birthing babies is not the only reason someone may have pelvic floor dysfunction. Give this a try!
Pelvic Floor Activation:
Lay on your back on a mat, knees bent and feet on the floor. Make sure you feel shoulders, ribs and hips on the ground. Place fingertips on hip flexors. Inhale through your nose, exhale draw up through pelvic floor anteriorly and posteriorly; 12 o’clock is “stop your pee”, and 6 o’clock is “stop your poo.” Pull these areas toward each other. Inhale as you release the muscles. (Your hip flexors underneath your fingers should stay relaxed throughout.) Perform 5-10 reps.
Then do 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock for activation of deep hip rotators. inhale, and as you exhale think about your hip bones coming closer together. Perform 5-10 reps.
Lastly, tie 12/6 o’clock together with 9/3 o’clock while exhaling; you are bringing the 4 points of the diamond closer together. Perform 5-10 reps.