By: Natasha Lowe Osho MD, NASM CPT, Pre/Postnatal Performance Training Specialist
There is a huge misconception that the biggest component of recovering from pregnancy and delivery is weight loss. We are inundated with celebrities and social media personalities who boast of their weight loss after having a baby. While this is an important part of postpartum recovery, it should not be your ONLY focus.
Two key components of postpartum recovery are the core and pelvic floor. Neglecting to take the time to focus on strengthening these groups of muscles can have long term effects such as urine leak, painful intercourse, and prolapse. I understand that for most young women these issues are not front of mind. Whether you had a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section, I encourage you to think about your future self and how great it would be to not have these issues control your life.
I understand that it is hard to focus on yourself when you have a new baby. You are not alone. Studies have shown women are less likely to resume an exercise program postpartum. But, at the minimum, there are simple exercises that you could do to target your core and pelvic floor muscles. Plus, they do not require that you spend 30 minutes or an hour in the gym. Ideally, these two muscle groups should be strengthened first before resuming a high intensity program. Even if you do not have any plans, at this moment, for a regular exercise program you should show some love to your core and pelvic floor muscles. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you can start pelvic floor exercises in the immediate postpartum period. Also, incorporating movements that strengthen the abdominal muscles has been shown to decrease the occurrence of diastasis recti.
As an OB/GYN, I can attest that everyone’s postpartum recovery is different. You may not be ready to start a structured exercise program, but I encourage you to take the time to focus on re-strengthening your core and pelvic floor muscles. The benefits have potential to last a lifetime!
Natasha Lowe Osho MD is a Board Certified OB/GYN, National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer, Pre/Postnatal Performance Training Specialist, and Owner of Bump Fitness Club. Bump Fitness Club is a boutique fitness studio offering Prenatal and Postpartum Small Group Strength Training, Prenatal and Postpartum Yoga, and Nutrition guidance. Bump Fitness Club was started to help women have healthier pregnancies. Our mission is to provide a safe, supportive, and supervised environment to encourage exercise during pregnancy with the goals of helping women perform their daily activities, build strength and stamina for the physical demands of labor and delivery, and assist with postpartum recovery while building relationships and providing encouragement throughout the pregnancy journey. For more information, visit bumpfitnessclub.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.