Your first mother’s day is so special and a time to celebrate. As a new mum you might receive chocolates, flowers and other lovely gifts. Most importantly the best gift is your lovely baby’s smile, or in my case two grinning little girls (proud twin mum!). As mums we are often so busy looking after our little ones that we forget how important it is to look after ourselves. Getting fit and strong again after having a baby is important for the body and the mind but don’t forget you need to do it safely. Why?
Relaxin. This wonderful hormone that softens our ligaments, helping us to prepare for childbirth, can still be in your body up to 6 months after childbirth. This can be a problem as it leaves us vulnerable to injuries and permanent over stretching of our ligaments.
Diastasis recti. The connective tissue between our 6 pack muscles is stretched during pregnancy to allow space for the growing baby. This weakness can take a while to heal. A non-specialist exercise class often includes crunches and other intense abdominal moves that can make prevent the connective tissue healing and closing back together.
Your pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor can take 3-6 months to fully retract. Even if you don’t have any problems now high-impact sports like running can increase your risk of issues later in life.
Don’t despair. There are plenty of exercises you can do! Here are a few to get you started after you’ve had your 6 week check with your doctor (8-12 weeks after a c-section). I recommend 8-10 reps to start. Not to exhaustion!
Remember to breathe into your ribs, not your belly or chest, for all the exercises and to breathe out through a pursed lip. This takes the pressure off your belly and allows any abdominal gaps to heel. I could talk about breathing for hours so if you’d like to know more get in touch.
For all these exercises lie on your back, hip bones and pubic bone in line with each other – flat pelvis and spine neutral (natural curves only). Knees bent, feet hip-distance apart. Arms by sides, palms down.
1. Knee Drops (great for your core and hip mobility)
Breathe out and engage your lower tummy muscles and pelvic floor (core) without flaring your ribs.
Open one knee slowly to the side. Keep your foot down but allow it to roll to its outer border. Try and move the knee as far as you can without moving your pelvis or opposite knee.
Breathe in and return to the start position keeping your pelvis still.
Breathe out repeat on the other side.
2. Leg Slides (great for your core and quads)
Breathe out and engage your core without flaring your ribs. Slide one foot along the mat to straighten your leg. Keep your pelvis stable and in neutral.
Breathe in and draw your leg back to the start position.
Repeat with your other leg.
3. Hip Rolls (great for your core, bum and hamstrings)
Breathe in, engage your core and squeeze your bottom.
Breathe out and slowly peel your spine off the mat until your hips are lifted and
your weight is resting between your shoulder blades, not on your neck. Keep ribs softened down.
Breathe in and hold.
Breathe out and slowly roll down through your spine from the top to the bottom.
These are just a handful of the exercises you can do. If you’d like to know more feel free to get in touch or come along to one of my Mum with Baby or Postnatal Pilates classes.
Happy Mother’s Day! Have a wonderful day with your family.