Postural Changes Many changes have happened to your body during pregnancy. The weight of your uterus, your baby and your growing breasts have probably pulled your posture out of alignment. Your hips have probably tilted forward (an anterior pelvic tilt) and your shoulders are probably rounded. Almost 80% of women complain of back pain during or after pregnancy. Much of that pain comes from this postural mal-alignment. Your workout should focus on strengthening your back muscles to pull and stretch your chest and hip flexors.
Your Pelvic Floor The weight of the baby and uterus and childbirth have probably weakened your pelvic floor muscles. That is why kegels and other pelvic floor exercises are not only important during pregnancy but throughout your life after having a baby.
Your Tummy Are your abs ever going to look the same again? Not without targeted work. You have lost great strength in your abs during pregnancy. And, most moms experience diastesis, a separation of their abdominal wall. It's important to find exercises that "knit" these muscles back together. Jumping in to your old ab workout may exacerbate the problem.
Why do I feel worse now than when I was pregnant?
There are many reasons for not feeling good after having a baby. Postpartum depression, a feeling of being overwhelmed and lack of sleep are just a few. However, many of the movements of motherhood cause your body not to feel good.
- Pushing Stroller Most moms hunch over when pushing a stroller. It's important to use good posture and form.
- Carrying Baby Make sure to balance baby on both sides. Holding baby on the hip and with one arm can cause muscular imbalances.
- Nursing / Feeding Bring baby up to you using pillow / nursing props and a proper chair. Hunching over to baby will give you back and posture problems.
- Carrying Car Seat Unfortunately, these indispensable items also wreak havoc on our bodies. Hold your car seat carrier like a laundry basket whenever possible so that your body is balanced. If you hold it with one arm, be careful to keep spine in neutral alignment.
- Front Pack Carrier Worn correctly, this can be a great workout. Worn incorrectly it can be a postural pain. Keep spine in neutral and abs pulled in. Make sure to pull shoulders back and not round forward.
Lisa Druxman, M.A., the creator of Stroller Strides, is a nationally recognized speaker, author and highly regarded expert in the field of pre/postnatal fitness.
Stroller Strides is a total fitness program for new moms that they can do with their babies. It includes power walking and intervals of body toning using exercise tubing and the stroller. Taught by specially trained instructors, it's a great workout for any level of exerciser. For information on classes or franchising, visit www.strollerstrides.com or call 866-348-4666.