Two facebook friends of mine, recently gave birth to their 5th and 6th children. And instead of resting for a month or two, they were out jogging by two weeks. YES, JOGGING. This seems wild to me, and although my body craves those endorphins, and that post workout feeling, I have never felt strong enough to do any cardio that soon after birth. My insides would have literally fallen out, or stitches would have popped. Not good news.
I can’t help but question whether they should have been doing that much physical activity so soon. Obviously, everyone’s body is different and they must have felt really good to be doing what they did. Even if you had the easiest delivery, your body just did a major feat, and is still healing an internal wound from where your placenta was attached. You have a cocktail of hormones surging through you bringing everything back together and your joints are still very loose. Take it easier than you even think you need.
If hearing me say take it easy makes you a little, well… uneasy, then here are a few stretches you can do while you do the important job of recovering from growing and birthing a baby.
At about a week post partum with my third baby, I started going stir crazy. My body was aching from laying around. My upper back was tight from nursing all the time and holding babies constantly. I was fully embracing resting as much as possible, and my body was recovering better than it had with any pregnancy. However, my midwives still didn’t want me to go for walks or exercise just yet. So, like a good patient I complied.
By two weeks, I needed to move my body, but walking beyond my house still did not feel quite right. If you are like me (needing to be careful, yet seeking movement), talk with your care provider about doing some gentle stretches. Many of these really open the chest and back, taking the focus off of the lower body (which for me still needed to recover), and allowed my body to lengthen. These stretches allowed me to get my blood flowing and really helped with my posture. Anything that focused on my legs, would have hurt my recovering pelvic floor or hips, so I stayed away from that.
I know I just had a baby two weeks ago, but I decided to snap some photos and share what felt good with you all. Let me know if any of these feel good to you and how recently you had your baby in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
Raise your arms above your head and lengthen your spine. Try not to tuck your tailbone under or stick it out much by keeping a neutral spine. If it feels okay, move your gaze an inch back. I loved this stretch, but I had to be careful because my muscles were still cramping occasionally.
Stretch your arms up, try to keep a neutral spine (don’t arch your back too much) and stretch gently to the side. and then the other. This felt so amazing to me to get outside and breathe deeply, as well as lengthen my back and abdominal muscles.
This is a stretch I frequently used at the end of my pregnancy. My chest and shoulders became incredibly tight and this helped to open me up and would remind me to stand tall. Anyone else find themselves slouching and resting on their baby bump? If you have a yoga strap, grab that. Otherwise use a towel or even a ring sling like I did here. You want to hold your arms as far apart as needed to be able to rotate all the way up and back behind you without pain. I repeated this chest opener about 10 times.
Cat Cow is such a classic stretch, and it is fantastic to use all through pregnancy. Use your breath to help draw your core back into your body as you arch up. Feel free to wiggle through your hips gently to get a different stretch with this one.
Thread the needle will really help with those tight muscles in your middle upper back. Please, be careful with this one. Don’t push too far into your shoulder on the ground. The goal here for me we to stretch my back in an opposing direction and loosen it up just a bit. Repeat on both sides a few times.
End in child’s pose and breathe. Let me know if you enjoyed this in the comments below 🙂