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What I Wish I Knew Before Working Out Postpartum

Today I want to talk about some things I wish I had known before starting to workout postpartum.

If we are meeting for the first time - Hi! Welcome to Vibrant Mama Wellness! My name is Megan, and I am a pre and postnatal personal trainer. I am certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, with a specialization in pre+postnatal fitness through PROnatal fitness. I am a mom of 1, and became interested in pre + postnatal fitness as I was going through my own pregnancy journey!

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. This blog post is based on my own research and experience - please consult a medical professional before starting or making any changes to your exercise program).

I had a planned c-section, and I was not prepared for the aftermath, to put it bluntly. I knew that I would be recovering from major surgery, but I didn’t realize how “out of commission” I would feel, and for how long. At my 6 week postpartum appointment, I was cleared for exercise, with little to no guidance on how to approach it. This was before I specialized in pre/postnatal fitness, and I naively thought (like many) this meant that I could jump back into my regular workouts I was doing pre-pregnancy.

Now for some reason, that I still can’t quite comprehend, almost every single person that gives birth is cleared to resume exercise at 6 weeks postpartum. But given that everyone has different pregnancy experiences and different birth stories, and even different methods of births…why are we all magically cleared at 6 weeks?

The first thing I wish I knew is that it’s totally normal if you don’t feel ready to begin working out again once you’re cleared. No one is winning a prize if they’re doing burpees at 6 weeks (but also please don’t do this). Not only are you recovering from a traumatic event, but you’re also operating on little sleep (and your body needs rest to recover!) How your body feels is the best indicator for exercise, not some arbitrary length of time. If you aren’t up for it, physically or mentally, it doesn’t mean you’re failing. It is perfectly normal to not feel up to exercising for up to a year postpartum!

The second thing I wish I knew was how important it is to reconnect to your core. Your core plays such an important role in every single movement you make, and if you don’t take the time to rest, recover, and rebuild your core - it can have negative consequences down the road. Now I know that it’s not glamorous and it may be boring. But I can’t emphasize how important it is and how much it will pay off in the long run.

The fact that the postpartum women and their care is seemingly swept under the rug completely infuriates me. I could honestly talk about this forever. But if you take one thing from this blog post it’s that there is no timeline for postpartum recovery. You don’t need to rush into workouts if you’re not ready. Your body knows what it can handle. And you deserve to have the knowledge of how to heal and how to feel strong again, in a safe and realistic way.

Which is why I’m here! What do you wish you had known before you started working out? Let me know in the comments!

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Disclaimer: This blog does not serve as medical advice. Please consult your medical provider before starting a new fitness routine. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.

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