Postpartum Recovery Starts with a Healthy Pregnancy
As a prenatal & postpartum health coach, I have seen a wide range of pregnancies and recoveries. I can say with confidence, that the mamas who prioritized their health during pregnancy (or better yet, even leading up to pregnancy), had a far easier time recovering from childbirth.
Many of us have this idea that pregnancy is a time to put your feet up and eat for two. As much as I recommend to listen to your body, and rest when you need to, it is absolutely necessary to get up and move your body daily, as well as consider the foods that are going into your mouth to be used as building blocks for the little human you're creating!
I have a few simple tips for you, to optimize your health during pregnancy, and to set yourself up for a smooth recovery post birth!
1. Short, Prenatal Specific Workouts
As you continue to grow, and fatigue sets in, it's important to get in short little workouts that will help you train for labour, delivery and recovery. We want to work on strength, muscular and cardiovascular endurance, stability and mobility. You can get a great workout done in less than 20 minutes, that checks off some, if not all of these in each setting.
Try interval training - timing your work: rest will help simulate the work: rest that is labour. I like 1 minute of work to 30 seconds of rest, because those waves (contractions) come in and last about a minute, and no matter how much time you have between waves, you will feel like it was too short. These intervals will train you and your muscles to endure discomfort for a minute at a time. (tip: choose movements that will get your whole body moving like this).
This type of training will also help you to maintain muscle mass which is metabolically active, meaning your body will be more efficient at metabolizing fat post-birth! Winning!
2. Daily Mobility Practice
Mobility work is important during pregnancy, especially in the hip region to help prepare for baby descending through the pelvis. Having mobility in the hips will help baby move through with more ease, and help you to prevent issues like SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) or SI joint pain (low back, where the spine meets the pelvis). Preventing these issues will keep you moving freely without pain, which will help with your recovery!
Try sitting into a low squat (supported if you need to) and adding some movement like this.
3. Focusing on a Whole Foods Diet
Sounds simple enough right? But then a craving hits and you give in to that burger and fries from your favourite fast food joint... What we want to do is upgrade our indulgences. Not saying you can't have a burger and fries, but can you buy potatoes and bake them tossed in coconut oil, and eat a burger from grass fed beef, and put it over a bed of lettuce rather than a bun? Or if you must have the bun, can it be organic and sprouted for ease of digestion? It takes a little more thought, but you will be delivering nutrients to your baby instead of chemicals and trans fats.
Did you know that you can only make new fat cells during childhood and pregnancy? Aside from those two life stages, you can only fill and deplete fat cells. If we can prevent our pregnant body from making too many new fat cells, we are set up for a much smoother recovery post-birth.
All of this can be tough to navigate when you're pregnant
So while I was pregnant, I created a program with new workout videos for every single week of your pregnancy, to guide you through weekly workouts and featured recipes, all geared towards that specific week in your pregnancy. Check it out here!
Using methods that I've been training prenatal clients through for almost a decade, I was able to have a pain-free pregnancy, an unmedicated home birth, and a speedy recovery! No matter what's on your birth plan/wish list, I guarantee that staying on top of your prenatal health will set you up for a smooth recovery post birth, so you can focus on being a mama!