By Kirstyn Campbell
There are some really common mistakes that mums make when they are returning to exercise after having a baby, and they are so easily fixed! If you see something in the list below that you think, “yup, I’ve been doing that”, then please don’t worry about it – simply look at what changes you can make moving forward.
Starting with sit ups, crunches, planking, double leg throws
A very common thing that mums do after having a baby is to jump immediately into core exercises like sit ups, crunches, planks or double leg throws – mistakenly thinking these types of exercises will help achieve a flat stomach again.
If you do these types of exercises without using your deep core – your pelvic floor and your transverse muscles – then if you don’t have a split already (known as diastasis recti), you are at high risk of creating one. If you already have a split, then you can make it wider, longer and deeper. Doing these core exercises can also weaken your pelvic floor.
Over in my free KC Fit Post Natal Care Facebook group I have specific videos which show you how to use these muscles properly, and how to do safe tummy exercises instead.
Reducing food/ calorie intake
After giving birth, us mums often want to try and speed up the process of losing weight by restricting the food that we are eating.
BUT – reducing food directly affects our milk supply, and our energy levels. Did you know that we actually need to eat more food when breastfeeding in order to produce milk and feed a child, than we do when pregnant and growing a child?
If you want to feel better, have more energy and boost your milk supply – then look at WHAT types of foods you are eating, rather than cutting down on the amount.
We need to get to know our new mum body and start a new relationship with it. A different body doesn’t mean broken or wrong.
Feeling guilty for not exercising
There is massive pressure on us mums to be back exercising immediately after birth. While we know that exercising is good for us in so many ways, it’s not something you HAVE to do if it’s not the best thing for you right now.
Let’s drop the guilt – and exercise when we are ready and able to do so.
Feeling guilty FOR exercising
How many of us think, “I shouldn’t be exercising because I am at home and there is washing to be done, dishes to be done, vacuuming to be done, and errands to run”?
Taking time out to exercise doesn’t mean you are selfish. Taking time out to exercise doesn’t mean you should feel guilty – you are doing something for you!
Exercising means we are happier, more positive and able to cope with home life more – we have more energy, more patience, and are more relaxed. All of that makes you a better mum.
Expecting to feel the same and do the same as before pregnancy
We tend to think we will bounce back after pregnancy. Nobody likes to talk about the things that don’t “bounce back” though… and reality is often a very different thing.
Being pregnant and giving birth is the most physically traumatic experience that your body has gone through, and with the hormone relaxin still surging through your body – you need to remember you are in the “red zone”. Relaxin is present in our bodies until three months after either childbirth or we finish breastfeeding, so your body needs time to settle back down again.
We need to get to know our new mum body and start a new relationship with it. A different body doesn’t mean broken or wrong. We need to test out what it can and can’t do – and I believe we need to do this after each individual pregnancy and birth.