Yoga After Childbirth: What to Expect
The weeks that follow right after having your baby can be tricky to navigate for moms. Your body is likely feeling worn out and foreign to you, which is perfectly normal considering the extreme physical labor you just went through. Moreover, Vox sheds light on a postpartum condition called diastis recti, which affects 60% of new moms. In layman’s terms, this involves the separation of the abdominal muscles caused by the stretching of your connective tissue during pregnancy. It is associated with pelvic floor dysfunction, back pain, incontinence, and even hip issues. Because of the loss of core support, doing normal activities might seem to take a little more effort than usual.
Fortunately, there are many ways to help alleviate this and other postpartum discomforts, one of which is through yoga. Postpartum yoga has countless benefits, which include better sleep, balanced hormone levels, and reduced stress. It is also a great way for you to reconnect with your body after nine months of sharing it with another human being. However, don’t be so quick to hop back on the mat right away. Before you do, here are some important things to take note of so you can maximize its benefits and regain your strength in no time.
Ease into your routine slowly.
It is typically recommended to have six weeks of recovery time for new mothers after a natural birth. However, if you had a cesarean operation, you will need a little more time. It’s important to get clearance from your doctor first before embarking on your fitness journey once again.
Moreover, don’t forget to be patient with yourself. It doesn’t matter if you were doing triathlons in your sleep prior, or if Downward Facing Dogs and Warrior 2s were a piece of cake before or during your pregnancy. Whatever level you were on, it’s important to understand that you must not push yourself in the name of challenge or determination to get back into shape.
For example, some yoga poses that require you to lie on your belly might be uncomfortable now that you’re breast-feeding. You might also notice your joints being wobblier than normal. This is due to the hormone relaxin, which softens your ligaments during pregnancy and childbirth. It can stay in your system for up to six months postpartum, so avoid intense or sudden movements. Listen to your body, and be intentional about each pose you try.
Use the right clothes.
You might be tempted to squeeze into your old clothes, but your postpartum body may need more appropriate support than that. Pretty Me explains that different workouts can require specific clothes and gear. You’ll want a reliable sports bra and high waist yoga leggings that will keep your core in check, as well as stretchy fabrics that will allow you to keep cool.
Don’t forget your nutrition.
Remember that exercise and a good diet always goes hand-in-hand. Nutritionist Hawley Poinsett notes that the main nutrients you want to really load up on are calcium, iron, and fiber. These will give you the extra push you need to power through your workout and your day.
Just the same, you should also ensure that you’re getting enough fluids. Hydration is important, especially for breast-feeding moms, who may tend to feel more easily drained. Make sure to get at least ten glasses of water everyday, and even more if you’ve begun working out with yoga.
Exclusively written for KristinMcGee.com