Did you eat well and look after your body whilst pregnant? Did it all go out of the window when baby turned up?
Nutrition plays a vital role in your recovery during the postpartum period (and not just if you're breastfeeding!) Nutrient -rich foods can assist your journey back to full fitness, vitality & for successful weight loss.
So here's what's in:
What's out or very limited:
• Alcohol (or limit!!) - Apart from the obvious de-hydration alcohol also has 7kcals per gram
(almost twice that of carbohydrates or protein)
• Processed/packaged/refined foods – Look at the ingredients list. If you can't buy the
ingredients in the supermarket try to avoid it. Anything ending is “ose” such as dextrose is
SUGAR and sugar is not helpful to a healing body!!! Try to make your own sauces,
marinades and meals from scratch. To save time & energy make larger batches and freeze
• Sugar - Watch out for added sugar in “low fat” foods!! The fat is quite often replaced by sugar for flavour! Instead consider eating smaller amounts of the foods you enjoy. SUGAR WILL NOT GIVE YOU ENERGY! Sugar will leave you feeling depleted and wanting more!!
• Excess caffeine (1 coffee per day max!) Caffeine can irritate the pelvic floor and is not
helpful for pelvic floor recovery.
To add to the list of what to avoid - Stress/overdoing it (especially early postnatal
months). Take a little time out when possible, get support and say “yes” to help offered.
Cortisol is a stress hormone known for it's ability to prevent weight loss!!
Hope you have gained a little insight from today's blog. Of course being a new mums does make eating healthy more tricky so planning is key and of course you can still enjoy those on the "what's out" list occasionally. Perhaps the way forward is to question everything that you put in your body by asking yourself "is this food going to nourish and heal my body?" then enjoy the benefits!
There is no reason to avoid moderate intensity level exercise whilst still breastfeeding. But there are some considerations to be aware of to make it easier.
Myth - My baby will be reluctant to feed due to exercise changing the taste of my milk
You would have to exercise at a very high intensity for lactic acid, the by-product of exercise to accumulate enough to affect the taste of your milk.
Should I wear a sports bra if i'm breastfeeding?
Absolutely, especially if you're doing any high impact such as running or jumping activites. Breast tissue are mostly made of mammory glands, fatty tissue and connective tissue. Vigorous /high impact exercise puts breast tissue at risk of internal bleeding (due to rich blood supply), pain, sagging and stretch marks.
Unlike muscle tissue breasts cannot be “toned”, therefore, it is important to protect delicate breast tissue from any long term damage caused by exessive motion e.g. high impact exercise.
So if you are thinking about stepping up your workouts and are still breastfeeding check out the following links for nursing sports bras....they do exist! Here are a few I have found but there's probably plenty of others too. Prolonged compression of the breasts when breastfeding is not encouraged due to the risk of plugged ducts, so this may be a consideration for those prone to blockages especially.
Here are a few Maternity & Feeding sports bras links:
My 7 Top Tips to exercising whilst breastfeeding
Reality check - You may not fully spring back to your pre-pregnancy weight whilst breastfeeding. Yes you can burn around an extra 500kcals per day if feeding exclusively but other factors such as increased hunger and hormones will ensure you maintain some body fat as reserves for baby. Now is not the time to drastically restrict your diet or worse still go on a FAD DIET. This is a time to nourish your baby and yourself as you are also repairing and needing energy. Besides, improving muscle tone and posture can do wonders for how you feel and look in your clothes!
10 benefits of postnatal exercise:
RETURNING TO EXERCISE SHOULDN'T BE RUSHED BUT IF YOU FEEL READY TO RE-JOIN THE HUMAN RACE WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Come & join us and find a class near you today:
http://misfitmamas.weebly.com and book here: https://bookwhen.com/misfitmamas
Introducing Your Pelvic Floor by MisFit Mamas
Find Your Pelvic Floor Muscles - This complex and important set of muscles offer support for the pelvic organs, keep you continent and are an integral part of your core system giving your lumbar back and pelvis stability.
The muscles of the Pelvic Floor (PF) run from the pubic bone at the front to the lower spine (coccyx) at the back. They are also attached at the sides of your pelvis, to the bones that you sit on. They support the bladder, vagina & bowel.
They support the contents of the pelvis and are put under great strain during pregnancy and labour which isn't helped by hormones released during pregnancy to relax the soft tissues in preparation for labour. Think of a trampoline that can stretch under weight and recoil back again, only during prolonged stretching as in pregnancy they can become weakened/stretched increasing the risk of incontinence (being unable to make it to the toilet in time) or stress incontinence (leaking urine when laughing, coughing, sneezing or jogging - very common) or worse still a prolapse!
Working the pelvic floor muscles (PFM's) during pregnancy and balancing this with focused "letting go" or "relaxation" of the PFM's especially later in pregnancy is ideal).
In the early weeks following birth isolated pelvic floor exercises not only strengthens them but can help aid healing following tears during labour by increasing blood flow to that area and is the first step towards improving your core function.
The Pelvic Floor exercise is just one element of the overall picture for pelvic floor health. Posture, daily movement, good nutrition/hydration and a balance of muscle strength & flexibility are also necessary.
PAIN RED FLAG! Any pain in the pelvis or pelvic floor area is a red flag. Don't ignore it! Some women struggle with an over active pelvic floor that is in a permanent contracted state and unable to relax. Some of the symptoms can include pain (or pain during intercourse) and incontinence. A tight pelvic floor is also a weak/dysfunctional pelvic floor after all.
If suffering from incontinence speak to your midwife/G.P
To improve the symptoms of stress incontinence try to perform some pelvic floor exercises but if there's no improvement seek a referral from your G.P.
For a weak/lengthened pelvic floor commit to daily pelvic floor exercises and avoid anything that causes you to leak or increases pressure:
How to do Isolated pelvic floor exercise (can be performed within 24hrs of birth):
Slow contractions – On a slow exhalation through pursed lips (think blowing out a candle), "zip up" the back passage (as if to stop passing wind) to the front passage (as if to stop the flow of urine – do not practice this on the toilet! Or imagine moving the coccyx towards the public bone). Pull the pelvic floor muscles upwards as far as you can (to your imaginary 10th floor) over the count of 5 seconds. Hold for up to 5 seconds (whilst breathing) and release slowly. Rest for several seconds and repeat up to 10 times in total, 3 times per day.
Fast contractions – Draw up as above but fast on exhale (in one second) and release quickly on inhale (in one second). Perform 10 in total, 3 times per day.
When & how to do them:
YES THEY ARE BORING & TEDIOUS BUT A GOOD STARTING POINT FOR PELVIC RECOVERY AND BETTER THAN A LIFETIME OF SPARE KNICKERS IN YOUR HANDBAG!!! JUST KIDDING!!
URINARY STRESS INCONTINENCE IS NOT SOMETHING YOU SHOULD BE LIVING WITH - IF IT DOESN'T IMPROVE SEEK HELP! YOUR GP CAN REFER YOU TO A WOMEN'S HEALTH PHYSIOTHERAPIST (check out the Mummy M.O.T service on this page!)
Pelvic floor muscles however don't work in isolation so integrating pelvic floor exercises into an exercise routine is also beneficial to which is something we do in class.
LEARN HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR PELVIC FLOOR FUNCTION FOR LIFE & HOW TO INTEGRATE THE PELVIC FLOOR INTO DYNAMIC MOVEMENT BASED EXERCISES IN MY MUMMY & BABY PILATES CLASS or PREGNANCY PILATES.
Prenatal & Postnatal Exercise Specialist
Tel. 07974 720341
The Dirty Dozen – 12 Hard Facts of Childbirth and 3 reasons why all women should have post-natal rehab by Kate Walsh, guest blogger
I'm very excited to have our very first guest blogger today, our very own local specialist pelvic health physiotherapist Kate highlighting some not so pretty hard hitting postnatal facts. Brace yourself...but seriously we all know prevention is better than cure don't we and that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER right?
My name is Kate Walsh, I have worked as a specialist physiotherapist in the field of pelvic health on Wirral and Merseyside for 15 years. We are now delivering a service called the Mummy MOT which links post-natal recovery with return to functional fitness, including the holistic core restore exercise programme.
The Dirty Dozen – 12 Hard Facts of Childbirth and 3 reasons why all women should have post-natal rehab.
There’s a reason I do what I do – and they are the statistics below. I am not trying to scaremonger, simply stating facts, in the hope that women will take notice. It enrages me that the post-natal rehabilitation of women, their bladders, pelvic floor and other abdominal organs & functions are not more prevalent in this country.
We cannot let another generation of childbearing women suffer these terrible consequences when so many of the symptoms are controllable, improvable and even surmountable given the right treatment, exercises and advice.
Here are the Dirty Dozen top 12 shocking stats you need to know about life after childbirth…
And my top three stats on why we should have post-natal rehab for every mum…
Specialist Physiotherapist Pelvic Health.
We all love a good plank challenge but for some of us it's perhaps not the best choice of exercise especially if you are a new mum, here's why.
Planking increase intra-abdominal pressure. This pressure creates a great force on the abdominal wall and your pelvic floor. As these are the muscles most likely weakened during pregnancy they are not going to thank you for it as they struggle to cope and you may cause yourself more harm than good particularly if you have an abdominal separation (Diastasis Recti where the two sides of the abdominal muscles move away from each other on the right and left side of the body) or a weak pelvic floor.
Your body is ready to begin planks when:
1. Your tummy separation is no longer an issue and adequate tension/strength has been achieved e.g. see point no. 2!
2. When planking your tummy IS NOT pushing outwards (towards the floor) meaning your core muscles can cope with the pressure otherwise the force put upon the abdominal wall may cause more issues for any separated abdominals!
3. Your pelvic floor is reasonably strong (no leaking when sneezing/coughing etc)
4. Planking DOES NOT cause you back pain.
If all above is fine:
1. Begin with a plank on the knees (straight line from shoulders to knees)
2. Start with short holds (e.g 10 seconds, rest & repeat and build up)
3. NEVER hold your breath but DO engage your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles!
4. Remember press ups can use a plank position too so be cautious here too!
Why do you want to plank anyhow? If it is to lose tummy weight the most effective way is to focus on your diet (by that I don't mean go on a diet), enough protein and good fats but reducing sugar/refined carbs and combine with resistance training (building muscle will not only increase metabolism but will help you do all your daily mummy tasks better too!)
A great phase - "You can't out train a bad diet" No matter how much exercise you do if the diet isn't right your tummy won't shift!
P.S Find a class near you in Liverpool or Wirral here:https://bookwhen.com/misfitmamas or find us here: https://www.facebook.com/misfitmamas1/
This is the million dollar question and there is no straight answer here. Every woman is unique, and her readiness will be determined by many factors.
When assessing your readiness to return to or start running after birth the following 7 factors need to each be considered:
1. Type of birth – A more traumatic or invasive birth will need a longer recovery e.g it is advised to await approximately 10-12 weeks before returning to any structured exercise other than light activity (walking etc). So obviously you wouldn't begin with jogging you would very slowly build up to it.
2. Joint stability – Hormones (Relaxin) stay in the body for up to 6 months post birth or longer if breastfeeding making your joints less stable, putting you more at risk of injury (especially if your core doesn't activate as it should to stabilise the spine and pelvis.) You should also avoid running with any Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) and give the body adequate time to recover following any PGP.
3. Diastasis Recti – Abdominal separation which commonly occurs during pregnancy will affect your core stability and often contributes to lower back pain, pelvic floor dysfunction & poor core activation. Fix this first prior to vigorous exercise or you could be making things a whole lot worse.
4. Pelvic Floor health – This is a biggy! Pelvic floor muscles have been stretched during pregnancy & following a vaginal birth (especially if an assisted birth). These muscles need time and re-training to restore strength & endurance to cope with the forces created by jogging. If ligaments are lax for at least 6 months then guess what? Your pelvic floor ligaments may be too! Check with a physio following 2nd or 3rd degree tears before returning to running and if you ever feel like your insides are literally "dropping out of you" STOP and seek advice!
You should avoid jogging if you experience any form of incontinence (leaking of urine or faeces) or any dragging or heavy sensation from your nether regions (seek some advice for this one!) Although stress incontinence (leaking of urine when coughing, sneezing etc) is common after childbirth it is not normal if it continues and help is out there!
5. Are you a runner? - Those who ran prior to and during pregnancy may be able to return to running sooner than those new to running. Experienced runners with a good technique can also minimise impact with the ground which helps to protect joints. However, all of the factors mentioned here need to be considered in addition.
6. Energy levels – Being a new mum is a tough job in itself and may leave you with little energy for vigorous exercise and may put you at a greater risk of injury. In the early weeks/months lighter exercise, fresh air and a good nutritious diet may be more beneficial at this time. Weight loss goals should be relaxed and a focus on your physical & emotional health should take priority.
7. Why do you want to run? - Ask your self this question!! There are many other activities to increase your heart rate to help you with any weight loss goals. Get creative and try a different low impact mode of exercise (cycling, aqua running, pram power/hill walking). Your local Buggy Fitness classes should be advising you on low impact options and screening you for suitability. If not, find someone who does!
What does a low-impact class look like? Try this next time your in the park once warmed up:
- 2 minute power walk
- 45 seconds squats
- 30 second hill push (fast walking)
- 45 seconds Press up on fence
- 45 seconds step ups (low wall or steps)
- Row on fence (resistance band)
- and so on...
Following any type of delivery, your exercise regime should begin with at least a couple of months worth of core stability or postnatal specific Pilates to strengthen from within first. You cannot build a house on jelly – I love this saying!! Instead for those who need to, think of this time as your pre-running training...your body will love you for it and you may just save yourself a whole load of problems in the long run! (excuse the pun!!!) :-)
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