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Postpartum Exercise and Getting Back in Shape After Pregnancy

Pregnancy is hard. Wow, is it hard. It takes a serious toll on our bodies. Especially if you are already slightly overweight and of advance maternal age. (Yes, I know the term AMA sucks). But the truth is, I was 36 when I had my first baby. And already a little heavier weight than I would have liked. I had my second at 38, and my third bonus baby at 40. I was incredibly lucky to have three beautiful babies and mostly complication free pregnancies with each of them.

Postpartum Excercise

photo courtesy Peloton

Injury

I had SPD with each pregnancy though. And each time it went away as soon as I delivered. But not with my final and third baby. I mean it makes sense; I had been so lucky and had easy, healthy pregnancies and babies. While I experienced what felt like extreme SPD with my first, it wasn't as bad with the second, and with the third it came back. But this time after delivery I still had the pain, it didn't go away immediately. And it lingered for weeks. I had a lot of new aches and pains I wasn't used to, and I asked my OB at my six week checkup and her answer was that it would get better with time and especially once I stopped nursing. Which, by the way, sounded like a lifetime because I prefer to breastfeed my babies as long as they want.

Despite the aches and pains I was cleared to exercise and like many new moms desperate to feel comfortable in my skin again. I decided to join a program, I am not going to name them because it's not their fault, but I wasn't ready. I injured myself badly, after a couple of ER visits, an MRI, and other diagnosis I ended up needing to rest for a couple of months and completely couch bound for one of them.

Recovery

I did physical therapy and my therapist recommended biking as a safe and pelvic friendly workout. I really didn't think it would be for me but I discovered Peloton and my life has changed. I actually already wrote an in depth review about Peloton on my other blog

So check it out if you have any interest at all. I am not sure a fancy spin cycle was what she had in mind but it has been wonderful for my recovery and best of all getting in shape! I get an amazing workout right at home, which is also important with little kids. I also have gotten a new outdoor road bike and found a great way to exercise without hurting myself.

It's important when we are getting back in shape after pregnancy to listen to our body and not push ourselves to do more than we are ready for. I have heard of this happening to so many women. Apparently there are many forms of exercise and weight lifting that are absolutely unsafe while recovering from child birth. But, we go out there and push ourselves desperate to "get our bodies back". It can actually take a year to recover from child birth, so I cringe when I hear of moms wanting to get back on it at six weeks postpartum (and yes, I was one of them). Take it easy moms, love yourself and your body even if it's not your ideal yet. Growing a human is seriously hard work and we need a little time to recover right?

I will expand on this post in the future with what I am doing in addition to biking, and what seems to work and does not work. Please let me know if you have any questions in the meantime. And, remember... breastfeeding alone is exercise in a way.

Al zakir

Tuesday 3rd of December 2019

Thanks for sharing such an important piece of information. Really need this.

Looking For a Nursing Sports Bra? - Breastfeeding Needs

Wednesday 29th of November 2017

[…] my third baby was born I discovered an exercise I love and lost a significant amount of weight. Finding an exercise you enjoy is the key to sticking with […]

Teri

Thursday 2nd of November 2017

I had the same problem when I wanted to workout too fast. I was so used to doing long and intense exercises that I didn't really think about taking it slow after the doc said it was okay to workout again. The injury took a lot longer to recover from than taking it slow would have.

Courtney

Thursday 6th of July 2017

Hi Jen I love your blog! I'm currently pregnant with baby #3 and I'm a huge fan of the Peloton!! My husband bought it for me as a a Christmas gift and I'm hooked!! I blame my Peloton for getting me knocked up a third time;) Honestly, it's a killer workout right at home and all of the coaches are fantastic. If you have any questions or want to follow me on the leaderboard my name is #HeartSTRONGmom. I hope you love it as much as I do!! Welcome to the addiction and ride strong!!

jenbrenan

Thursday 6th of July 2017

Hi Courtney! Thanks for your comment and congrats on baby number three! I have three also. I will go ahead and follow you too. I am locojen.

Princila

Monday 3rd of July 2017

I'm one of the guilty ones here. I agree that growing a human is important, but it is also necessary to get back in shape. I remember being very desperate to get my body back after both of my pregnancies. It wasn't very hard after baby number 1. In fact, I barely had a tummy 8 weeks postpartum. It was more difficult after baby #2, though. Even after nearly 4 years, I still don't look like myself prior to pregnancy #2. I've tried a lot of things, including exercise and diet, but these haven't gotten me anywhere. I've never tried biking and would love to know how it's working out for you. I've always thought a stationary bike would mainly help to strengthen your calf muscles and it wasn't really a good choice when you're trying to lose belly and bottom fat. But, I 'm probably wrong. I look forward to reading your follow up post on this.