My Post-Partum Struggles & Recovery

Fitness Expert Lara Marq talks about her recent post-partum recovery and the struggles she faced

Nothing can prepare you for what’s to come after your baby has arrived. I would say I had a fairly uncomplicated labour but my recovery will stay in my mind forever. I still can’t believe that mothers are given 24 hours after your baby is born to leave the hospital. My body had just undergone the most intense workout and somehow I had to leave the hospital with a baby in one arm and a complimentary Sitz bath basin in the other.

I remember climbing into the SUV and grasping on to every handle to gently seat my bottom into the front seat—that was a task on its own. I knew I was in for a challenge.

Week 1-3 Post-partum

I have to admit I was quite surprised to watch how quickly my abdomen contracted from looking 4 months pregnant right after birth to a fairly flat abdomen by the end of the first week. I have to thank breastfeeding for this.

Breastfeeding is associated with profound uterine contractions, so you may feel some pretty intense abdominal pains when you breastfeed during the first couple weeks. That would be your uterus shrinking back to its pre-pregnancy size… well almost.

During this time I found myself rushing to the restroom whenever I felt the sensation to pee and sometimes, I don’t make it. Pregnancy and labour can have a major impact on the pelvic floor and breastfeeding doesn’t help since you are not producing enough estrogen to strengthen the pelvic floor. This is why exercising this soon after labour is not recommended. The only exercise I did at this time was kegals to rebuild my pelvic floor strength.

By the end of week three, I felt the strength return to my pelvic floor and I was no longer running to the restroom.   

Week 4-6 Post-Partum

At this point, from the outside I looked back to my normal self but on the inside I still had some recovering to do.

As much as I wanted to throw on my runners and get on a treadmill, I knew that it was still too soon to do anything more than a 30 minute light walk and more Kegals.

Many make the terrible mistake of jumping back into fitness and regretfully experience vaginal prolapse. This is a condition in which structures such as the uterus, rectum, bladder, urethra, small bowel or the vagina itself may begin to prolapse, or fall out of their normal positions. Sadly this happens far too often and could have easily been avoided.

Week 7-8 Post-Partum

Its action time, Mama! Don’t just book your post-partum check up with your OB— find your nearest Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and be sure they check for abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti) and get the real go ahead to get back to the gym. Your first workout plan will likely include a very intricate Kegal routine provided by the therapist.

The time will come soon enough to kick butt in the gym again. This is such a short period of your life and it is the best time to be the most forgiving of your body. Your incredible body, the extra skin, the stretch marks, the engorged breasts and your new wacky belly button just created and birthed your perfect baby. Be kind to yourself and give yourself the real rehabilitation you need because you absolutely deserve it!

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