Growing and having a baby is a big deal on your body. You endure about 40 weeks of gestation in which your ligaments and smooth muscles get looser, your joints more unstable, your body produces more blood, and your uterus grows to 400 times its original size, crowding everything in your abdomen and super-stretching the ligaments that hold it in place.
Birth is easily the single greatest feat a human body can accomplish. Whether you push your newborn out vaginally or have a modern medical miracle birth—the Cesarean, all the work your body put into creating this new life the last 9 months is now out in the world.
You’re sent home to “rest and recover” while figuring out how to care for a newborn, waking around the clock to feed, change, and soothe. Not to mention the struggle many new moms face with breastfeeding. Hardly a decent recovery period for changes of such magnitude on the body.
Then you go for your 6-week follow up. They may check the healing on any incisions or tearing. If you’re lucky, they may check for diastasis recti (the abdominal separation that occurs in most pregnant people but may not always “bounce back” by this time) and tell you to avoid crunches for a while. But as long as healing looks good, you’re cleared to go back to normal exercise and sex.
After all of that you can just go right back to doing everything you did pre-baby?
A rehab program for an orthopedic surgery takes at least 12 weeks to gradually ease you back into functional living. This includes a period of rest and recovery, a slow and progressive plan to get the body moving, reconnect with the muscles, and begin strengthening. Eventually around the 12 week mark, the patient may (again slowly) get back to pre-surgery activities.
The average parent who just gave birth is told not to do anything until the 6 week check up, then they have the green light to do as they please. Where is the support to reconnect? Where is the help with gradual movement? The slow and steady strengthening? Many experience incontinence, pain, and a myriad of other issues without any clear guidance or direction.
The great news is that I have a new at-home self-paced Postpartum Rebuild program. My program focuses on connecting with kindness to your body. We’ll gradually build in strength as we ease into bigger stretches. Below are my favorite 3 exercises found in my Postpartum Rebuild program for recovering well.
Deep breathing is probably the number one exercise for postpartum. No matter how you gave birth, the pelvic floor is deeply impacted throughout pregnancy and childbirth. These deep breathing exercises at 3 different levels of difficulty help you reconnect with your pelvic floor, re-coordinates muscles, and reintroduce sensations lost through pregnancy and childbirth.
I teach this version of Fish Pose in a Yin-style manner. Yin yoga is characterized by holding poses for long periods of time. This allows the denser tissues of the body, such as the fascia, to feel the effects of the pose. And to me, these 3 progressive versions of Fish Pose feel so great in the postpartum period, as it helps counter all the slouching and rounding of the shoulders that tends to happen as you care for a newborn.
Finally, Dead Bug pose is my favorite strengthening pose to work with for the postpartum body. It helps coordinate, strengthen, and stabilize. In my Postpartum Rebuild program, I help you build up strength to get to the pose, then we start working with the pose to continue our strength building.
Above all else, be kind to yourself as you recover postpartum. Your body has done a lot for you, and continues to do so as you care for your child. I would love to see you join my postpartum program. In addition to the workouts, guided meditations, and informational videos, we have an online community. There, we support each other, and can help you with resources for continued physical, mental, and emotional recovery from pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. For more information, visit tacyoga.com/postpartum, or request access to this wonderful program and community today!