December 09, 2023

Your guide to postnatal workouts

You’ve spent 9 months growing the most special human being and then 6 weeks recovering from their delivery. Now you’ve had your 6 week check up with your doctor, and you’re feeling excited and ready to get back into a workout routine. If that sounds like you, we’ve got your back.

Our incredible KICBUMP Health Expert and Physiotherapist, Ash Mason is our guide when it comes to all things pre & postnatal, but here, we’re going to dive into the return to exercise postpartum.

Here’s Ash!

One of the biggest misconceptions about returning to exercise postpartum, is that the 6 week check up from your doctor clears you to return to all exercise. In fact, this 6 week ‘clearance’ is only to tell you that your body has recovered from the birth enough to begin to return to exercise, gently and gradually.

The pressure to 'bounce back'

Society, namely the fitness and beauty industries, put a lot of pressure on new mothers to ‘bounce back’ after giving birth. You might notice that your body has changed, and in so many ways, you’ve changed, so it’s normal to want a piece of your old life back; your body, your fitness, your routine.

What we have to remember, is that if the first 6 weeks is about recovering from the birth, a once-off event, we have to consider the amount of time it will take our bodies to recover from the pregnancy; a 9-month experience in which your entire body and mind undergoes a vast array of incredible changes.

There is no bouncing back, and everyone’s journey back into exercise is going to look different based on a whole range of different factors, including pre-pregnancy fitness, exercise routine during pregnancy, any pregnancy aches or pains that you experienced, the type of delivery you had and your birth experience, the weight of your baby, and how you’re recovering physically and mentally postpartum (just to name a few).

It’s also important to note that if you are still breastfeeding, all of those beautiful hormones that create an increase in tissue laxity and flexibility during pregnancy are still present in your body, which means your risk of sustaining an injury when exercising may be higher.

Returning to exercise

This is why we have designed the KICBUMP Postnatal Program to be a gradual, progressive program to ensure you’re returning to exercise safely, and working on building the important foundations of core and pelvic floor strength that will serve you when you return to higher levels of exercise like strength or HIIT training and running. We have designed the program in such a way that when you have completed it, you are ready to return to your regular Kic workouts feeling confident, and knowing that you’ve put yourself in the best possible position for a good postpartum recovery.

The risks of returning to exercise without adequate abdominal and pelvic floor strength include pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, and musculoskeletal injury. Pelvic Organ Prolapse occurs when 1 or more of the pelvic organs (bladder, bowel and uterus) descend from their usual position down into the pelvic cavity, causing a heaviness, bulging or dragging sensation.

KICBUMP Postnatal Workouts

It is estimated that in Australia, over half of all women who have had a child have some level of pelvic organ prolapse, and unfortunately, pelvic organ prolapse cannot be reversed without surgical intervention. Urinary or faecal incontinence occurs when the pelvic floor is not strong enough to clamp your urethra or rectum shut on impact, leading to leakage. Returning to exercise before your body has fully recovered can increase the risk of both pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence, which is why it’s so important to focus on returning to exercise slowly and gradually.

Some people may be ready to progress back into some low-impact and bodyweight training prior to completing the KICBUMP Postnatal Program. The KICSTART and Equipment Free programs could be a good entry point for returning to this style of training, however it’s important that you have adequate abdominal control and pelvic floor strength prior to attempting this style of exercise. As a general rule of thumb, aiming to return to your regular Kic workouts by 4-6 months postpartum is a good guide for most people. Wherever you are starting in your postpartum journey though, always remember to listen to your body, and start slow and progress gradually.

If you are unsure, we recommend you seek the advice of a Women’s Health Physiotherapist who can provide tailored guidance for returning to exercise postpartum.

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