Is the 6 Week Rest Period After Giving Birth Necessary?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Is the 6 Week Rest Period After Giving Birth Necessary? 
Do we reeeeeaaaaalllllyyyy need to wait that long to get back to an exercise routine? 

....and no. 

So that leaves us with a big fat MAYBE, and here's why:

No matter how "smoothly" your pregnancy and delivery went, growing a human and giving birth (either through the regular channels or via c-section) is extremely taxing on your body.  That's just a fact.
You've stretched, bent, squished, and rearranged more in the past 9 months than ever had been possible before in your entire life.
Your organs got displaced, your spine had to compensate for the ever-growing bowling ball on your front side, and let's not even get into the things that have gone on downstairs.
It's been A LOT. 
No matter how you slice it, all those pieces need to work themselves down, out, and up (respectively) and that takes time.

Professionals estimate that it takes about 4 weeks for your uterus to return to it's "regular" size and be nestled back into your pelvis. And, in a best case scenario, it takes a couple of months for your abdominals to come back together fully with no more risk of diastasis recti... but for most women, it takes even longer for that seam to truly heal. The hormone Relaxin, that makes our joints and muscles limber enough to STRETCH for all this baby makin' takes about 5 MONTHS to fully leave our systems after birth... meaning that even when we're feeling great we may be more succeptible to injury for quite some time after birth is behind us.

These are just a few of the main factors that contribute to us postpartum gals getting back into our exercise habits... and to me, they're all pretty legit reasons to tread lightly as opposed to cannon-balling our way back into a fitness routine.

Every woman is different, and I would never presume to tell you what is going to be best for your body via a simple blog post (so SIMMER, I'm not telling you this is what you HAVE to do).... but I will share what I'm doing in case you're trying to noodle through how to get back into fitness without going overboard! 

I took the first two week to LEGITIMATELY REST.
I went for one, single, solitary walk... for less than 30 minutes... at an utter snail's pace during this 2 week period. Other than that and the occasional trip to the pediatrician or an exciting trip to the grocery store for a frozen pizza for Pizza Friday, you could find me snugly tucked in bed with my baby on my chest.
REST is not a dirty word. 
There is absolutely no shame in kicking your feet up for a little while after you BROUGHT LIFE INTO THIS WORLD and enjoying it. You will never get these precious days back with your baby, and I for one was not about to let some insta-mom who had abs on Day 5 PostPartum let me think that I needed to have ANY priority other than showering my sweet baby girl with love. Period.

I was aided in giving in to this rest because I physically felt like I had been run over by a small school bus. Let's just say... I didn't sneeze and have my baby fall out of me, so I was sore.
I remember thinking that the thought of that discomfort lasting for two weeks (like all of my friends casually said it would) seemed unbearable... but as I rounded the corner of 2 weeks postpartum this weekend, it felt like a cloud had lifted and I feel *almost* regular!

...which is why I can 100% understand why women are tempted to jump in HARD to working out! Especially if you DID sneeze your baby out, I see the appeal of finally having your body to yourself again and wanting to get back to "normal"... but we gotta be careful! Permanent pelvic floor damage is not worth a quick endorphin high.

Heading into week 3... My plan is to reengage my core by focusing on a few exercises for the transverse abdominis, work on realigning my posture correctly, taking a few walks outside when the weather permits, and making ((and FOLLOWING)) an actually healthy meal plan instead of eating cookies for 1/2 my daily calories!

Add a gallon of water a day to this plan and a handful of carbs during night feeds and this is my starting point! I'm SURE that I'll have to adjust as we go, but setting myself up with an actual plan feels really good!

post partum, after birth, meal plan, fitness, fit mom,

....stay tuned for updates on how this week goes and how I adjust in the coming weeks!

How have you approached PP Fitness???? What has worked well for you?? Or what did you think was a good idea but in hindsight wish you'd skipped??
Leave a comment! I'd love to know what other fit sisters are doing!


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