So you’ve birthed your gorgeous little human/s, but what now? How do you recover from such an amazing, yet life/body/mind altering experience?
We chat to postnatal fitness specialist, Reka Szentmihalyi who shares her very real birth and beyond story, plus her top tips for a mindful postnatal recovery.
Fitmums` Bible was born a few weeks after my little boy, Leo. I had a pretty straight forward pregnancy apart from feeling more than ready to pop when the time came. My birth however, was very traumatic. I ended up having an epidural and there were complications with my little one too, so we were stuck in hospital for a week.
I suffered from terrible incontinence, was emotionally and physically wrecked and felt anxious and scared questioning myself on daily basis if I would be a good mum.
After we arrived home, my hubby went back to work a few weeks later and then it hit me even harder. I felt like a mess and needed someone to give me clear instructions on what to do. Dr Google just didn’t quite cut it.
Even though I had been a personal trainer for 7 years, I did not have a clue how to and when to get back into exercise, I did not know much about hormonal changes, depleted vitamins, the affects of (birth) trauma, breastfeeding, abdominal separation and so on.
I felt that during pregnancy I had the support I needed from various professionals but when I needed the most help and advice, I was alone.
That was the time when I decided I would be there for other mums to help them experience their post birth recovery journey with more ease and joy.
Here are my tips for a mindful postnatal recovery…
Within 24 hours of giving birth Reconnect with your core through deep abdominal breathing – This will increase the blood flow into the stomach area and will aid tissue healing, the shrinking of the uterus, pelvic floor activation and perineal tear recovery.
Replace the depleted vitamins and minerals. In the 3rd trimester you give vital vitamins to your baby to grow and develop so it is key to replace them. During birth you lose zinc and iron due to blood loss and vitamin B for the energy you use. Calcium and Magnesium are depleted by hours of muscle contraction.Vitamin A, C, E stores are depleted and they are all vital for to heal bruising and wound healing.
Check for Diastasis Recti aka Abdominal Separation
Checking the separation should be part of the 6-week check-up but most of my clients were never checked until they saw me nor were told about the separation!
This can cause many issues like lower back pain, sciatic pain, bulging belly that you cannot lose, incontinence, pelvic issues and so much more.
It is actually very easy to check at home for yourself and should be done before you start any form of exercise.
Learn about how your body works and say No to pain!
My experience is that many women think that being in pain and feeling uncomfortable in their bodies is just part of being a mum.
Let me tell you now IT IS NOT!
Once you understand why you are suffering from certain conditions, what causes the pain be a physiological or emotional trigger, it is – in most cases- actually very simple to fix.
Getting back into exercise
Once you are comfortable with the deep abdominal breathing and checked your abdominal muscles, you are ready to start exercise 6 week post vaginal birth and 12 weeks post C-section.
Make sure you find a qualified pre- & postnatal fitness specialist or a class specially designed for mums.
More stretching then exercising initially to reduce the tension in your body caused by carrying the extra weight and the postural changes.
Stick to Low impact exercises to reduce pressure on the joints that are still looser due to the presence of the relaxin hormone.
Avoid any move that would cause damage or slow down the healing process of the abdominals and internal tissues such as crunches, vigorous twisting, lifting heavy weights, high impact exercises and anything that feels wrong to you when you check in with your body.
Practice self-love on daily basis, stop the negative self-talk and let go of high expectations
Your feelings and emotions are valid and matter. Surrender to and accept them for what they are. Trust me, even though it feels that way sometimes, you are not going crazy!!:))
Don’t keep it all bottled up inside you, open up and share with your partner, family, friends or other mums.
I hope that this helps you to feel more connected to your body and soul and will give you a bit of guidance and some useful tips to know how to take care of yourself post birth.
Reka Szentmihalyi is the founder of Fitmums` Bible. She is a mummy, pre- & postnatal fitness coach and energy healing therapist.
She uses a holistic approach to postnatal recovery where she combines deep abdominal/pelvic floor activation, safe and effective exercise, supporting the body`s natural healing ability with nutritious foods as well as addressing hormonal and postural changes, overwhelming emotions, mum guilt, lack of sleep …and so much more.