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Early Exercise Postpartum

Hi everyone, its Erienne with Peak Endurance Performance & Physical Therapy. I want to talk to you guys about early exercise postpartum. And by early exercise, I mean, before that typical six-week mark.

I want to preface by saying everyone is different, and everyone’s postpartum journey is a little bit different. And so I highly suggest finding a pelvic physical therapist to help lead you specifically. Whether it’s just one visit postpartum, or through an entire plan of care.

So many of us wait until that six week clearance from our OB or our doctor, before we start any type of exercise, because that’s what we’ve been told. We don’t know any better. We’re a little bit fearful. We want the green light before we do any type of exercise. When in reality, it has been shown that movement is so beneficial earlier than that six week mark. Both in healing, as well as mental health for so many of us.

So I want to talk to about a couple of things you can start mere days after giving birth.

Number one is some laying down exercises. Things like exercising on your back or on your side. In those positions you don’t put any strain on that pelvic floor because you are not standing up against gravity. So things like core sets, just re-familiarizing yourself with your core. Glute bridges, side-lying, clamshells, leg lifts –  those kinds of things. Just to get your body back, get those muscles firing again. Those can be started days after giving birth.

What a lot of us are looking for is more “when can I get back into my normal exercising?” Whether you are a runner, a weightlifter, a yogi, whatever your mode of exercises we are always curious about how soon we can get back to those activities. I like to tell most clients around that two or three-week mark, we can begin to bring those activities back. We can slowly start ramping up and listening to our bodies.

The big things that we are wanting to pay attention to are an increase in bleeding or the size of clotting. That’s usually a sign that your body is telling you that maybe we are doing a little bit too much too soon. And the other big landmark we want to pay attention to is that pelvic floor heaviness.  I would like to specify that feeling that pelvic floor heaviness is not necessarily a sign of prolapse and it’s nothing to be fearful of. It’s just our body letting us know and it’s more likely a feeling of your pelvic floor being under fatigue.

Just like after you do a heavy leg day, your quads and your hamstrings feel fatigued and tight for about two days after. It’s the same thing with your pelvic floor. It was put under a demand, it is responding to that demand and is a little bit fatigued because of that. And that heaviness feeling should improve within two days after.

So again, these are just some general guidelines. I would suggest going and seeing a pelvic floor therapist to help lead you with a little bit more specificity to your case.

Our Mission:

Here at Peak Endurance Performance & Physical Therapy we help active adults in the Madison Area get back to the activities they love without pain or limitations. We see people of all ages, ability levels, and individuals trying to get back to a multitude of movements including: getting back into running, women postpartum, CrossFit athletes, climbers, gymnasts, wrestlers, overhead athletes, and your recreational weekend warrior. If you’re looking to get back to the activities that give you meaning, relieve stress, and make you feel like you again, feel free to reach out below and we’ll see if we’re the right fit for you.