Guest Blog Post from Claire Martin-Royle of The Fit Mom’s Plan

As I left the hospital after the birth of my second baby I asked the doctor which exercises I could start to do. His response was along the lines of, “well you should be ok to get back to your usual routine as soon as you feel up to it. Just listen to your body.”

Initially, I thought that is not very helpful, but actually he had a point.

Every mom is individual. Every pregnancy is different. Every labour is different. We all have different fitness levels. Some moms will have diastasis recti (aka abdominal separation). Some moms will have a weak pelvic floor. Some moms will have a prolapse. Consequently, what we can do during pregnancy and post birth is going to vary mom to mom.

We can seek guidance from fitness professionals and doctors – and that will set you off on the right track and I would definitely recommend you speak to the right qualified people – but you also need to “listen to your body” because you know it best. I know that requires some faith in yourself. You need to believe that you do know when something is not comfortable or you are potentially causing harm. However, armed with the right guidance on appropriate exercises and modifications a little self belief that you know your body will help you to make the right choices for YOU.

Here are my top tips for how to approach listening to your body during pregnancy and postpartum:
~Tune into your body and listen to it. Actually listen to it. Listening to your body is not making excuses, but listening to whether or not working out, the exercise or activity is right for you. Just because you “can” run does not mean that you “should” run. Although a modification may be said suitable for diastasis recti you still need to consider if you can correctly activating your TVA (the deep core muscles) or whether you midline is still “coning”. You need to tune in and decide whether it is right for you. ~Know how you usually feel so that you can identify when you feel discomfort. This helps you to stop before you do anything that causes any pain/injury.
~Be conscious and acknowledge how you feel during and after an exercise or the workout. If you are experiencing pain, discomfort or severe fatigue post exercise/workout recognize it and modify going forward. Doing less does not make you a failure. Sometimes we have to do less to gain more!
~Go to a women’s health specialist that will check your pelvic floor/diastasis recti and give you individual advice even if you think that everything is ok. This type of check up is generally a lot more comprehensive than your “sign off” post birth.
~Be kind to yourself. If you feel nauseous in your first trimester get some rest. If you are tired post baby take your time. No matter the suitability of any exercise you need to also listen to what your body is telling you and take things at your pace and give yourself some grace. Remember during pregnancy your aim is to stay active for the benefit of you and your baby rather than exercising to exhaustion or achieving personal bests. Post baby initially it is about healing, reconnecting and strengthening rather than hardcore workouts to get your abs back. Do the workouts you can and be proud of achieving that. Step by step you will achieve your goals.

If you are looking for further guidance , workouts and lots of tips and tricks head to my website. I have online training and nutrition plans for during pregnancy, for new moms and throughout motherhood.

Connect with Claire

Claire Martin-Royle
Pre and Post Natal Fitness Specialist
The Fit Moms Plan