There are many variables that impact whether or not a woman is ready to return to high impact exercise postpartum. I have written about this before and I am writing about it again because it is the number 1 question and frustration that moms ask me about during their sessions. I wanted to take the time to outline the abagueties that plague this topic.
Variables in definition
It is important to consider previous injuries that might impact your return to fitness post baby. Previous knee/back/hip injuries, pelvic pain and more might impact your ability to optimally return to exercise. If you were a “flexible” (loose ligament) gal prior to baby, chances are you're going to want to take more time for your body to recover postpartum before engaging in high load exercises that stress ligaments. If you nurse, keep in mind, your ligaments will stay loose a bit longer. If you had any issues prior to delivery (incontinence, back pain, S-I joint pain, or any complication during labor (long labor, extensive pushing, tearing, c section) it is possible that your body has developed a compensatory movement pattern that might put you at risk for injury/dysfunction even if the symptoms have subsided. Even if you have no overt symptoms, it is important for long term health to make sure your body is onboard with optimal muscle activation patterns to lessen the risk of a faulty compensation strategy and future injury/dysfunction.
Listen to your body. Do you feel pain, pressure or pulling? Remember it is NOT “No pain no gain.” Start slow. Take into account your previous injuries and general make up. If you are a loose ligament gal, go slow and make sure your mechanics are spot on. I truly do recommend a quick screen (by a physical therapist ) to assess your baseline breathing strategy and pressure management strategy with exercise. A pelvic floor assessment is ideal, but if that feels like too much, seeing a female health Specialist and getting a primary assessment is great. You want to receive strategies to optimize the potential of a successful return to high impact exercise. It is so much better to go into postpartum fitness educated about your own body and how to best harness it’s strengths and protect it for your future than go in blind and think you can run your way past pelvic pain or incontinence. If you are eager to return to your HIIT class please consider a session at a facility like Newburyport Wellness, LLC. You want to make sure that your pressure management system is working to keep your spine stable and dissipate forces appropriately. You also want to make sure that your hips are on board to optimally control high impact landing. Your long term health is worth the small investment in time now.
Is a mom of two, life long exercise & nutrition enthusiast, women's health specialist & physical therapist.