I have just recently returned to work after the birth of my second child (Rose!). Rose was born just a few weeks before her older sister turned two. That’s two babies in two years for those of you who are counting. When I became pregnant with my oldest, I was physically in good shape. I was strong, healthy, and exercising regularly. Throughout my pregnancy I continued to exercise. After Lilian was born, I “bounced back” quickly. Having a baby at home, however, made it difficult for me to find the time or the energy to exercise regularly. My body healed in the obvious ways, but I did not regain the same level of strength and fitness. I also had a small diastasis rectus (or separation of the abdominal muscles). I became pregnant with Rose several months after Lilian turned one. I quickly found myself in the throws of nausea and vomiting of morning sickness (also known as All Day Sickness in my house). Long story short, I was not nearly as strong or fit throughout my second pregnancy as I would have liked. I did exercise (prenatal water aerobics and yoga are both great options during pregnancy - check our website for more information), but I was not at the top of my game.
After Rose was born it became quite clear just how weak my abdominals, back, hips and legs had become. I felt the relief of no longer being pregnant, but traded that with the physical demands of caring for a toddler and an infant. I became worried about injuring myself while caring for my children and while doing my job when it was time to return to work. I started to exercise gradually, focusing on abdominal, back and hip strengthening (taking care to also manage my diastasis rectus). My body is healing, but much more slowly than after my first pregnancy. I feel good, but progress is slow.
Now that I am back to work, I need to continue to make time for strengthening and exercise. As a wise friend said, if you don’t make it a priority, you won’t exercise until your children are out of the house. So I incorporate movement and exercise throughout my day, both at work and at home, to continue to help my body to heal. I activate my lower abdominals all of the time. I brace before I pick up a child, I brace while standing over a patient performing manual therapy, I brace while carrying laundry up and down stairs, I even do it while I am brushing my teeth. When at work, I exercise with patients, when appropriate. (If I ask a patient to do an exercise, I better be able to do it myself!) I stand if possible. While standing I might do a few toe raises, squats, or lunges. I correct my posture as necessary.
Here is the write up!!
What can you do to incorporate movement and exercise into your day? Spend a few minutes exercising, several times throughout the day. The point is to get your muscles working and raise your heart rate. Something is better than nothing, and one 60 minute workout is not better than several shorter bursts.
- Take the stairs (instead of one flight, run and up and down a few flights).
- Park far from your office and walk briskly.
- Learn how to correctly activate your lower abdominals and perform this exercise throughout your day (sitting, standing, while carrying something, and while exercising).
- Take a break from sitting and do squats and lunges.
- Try toe raises, wall push ups, or planks.
- Slow sit to stands from your chair
If you need help healing your body after pregnancy, please contact us!